Redesigning the UI of a billing platform

Index

Ezypay has been operating since 1996, the main product is a payment billing platform specialised in recurring transactions. It integrates with the Client’s systems through API calls and allows to bill their members for the specified amount at the preferred recurring cycle.

The Problem

Legacy application. The cloud platform has been upgraded many times over time, and additional features were added to it.
A local application was used to access the data (running not on the latest version of Microsoft Windows) stayed a bit behind with all the upgrades.
Recently, the SO (Support Operators) got to the point where they had to create tickets for the software engineers to make changes in the system on their behalf.
While the business was growing, the number of tickets and the time required to solve them was growing too.

Part of my job was to create a framework that could support growth. I designed the application with scalability in mind, while at the same time creating as little disruption as possible to the SO daily operations.

Roles

I worked with a cross-functional team as a UX/UI designer, collaborating with the Engineering team. I conducted research and interviewed users to make sure we were tackling the right problems.
For the first 3 months from the start of this project I was the only person working on it.
The team grew to include:

  • UX/UI designer (myself)
  • Senior full-stack developer
  • Junior front end developer
  • BI data analyst
  • Back end developers and DevOps were involved as needed

I designed the wireframes, and integrated changes gathered from prototype testing sessions feedback. I ran workshops with cross-department stakeholders for feature prioritisation and presented the milestone achievements to executives. Furthermore, I contributed to the supporting documentation.

Information gathering

Understanding the business case. The company needed three main things:

  • a tool powerful enough for the SO’s daily operations
  • a tool that in the future could be open to external Clients allowing them to access the platform with a GUI rather than solely with API calls
  • a tool with a modern look (remember: the legacy application was built as a desktop app for an old version of Microsoft Windows)

Understanding the Platform. I began with an in-depth interview with the SO to learn more about the platform and the operations they were performing on the system.

The most common scenario is having a customer on the phone with one of Ezypay’s representative and needing access to some data from the platform.

The process

I followed the Double Diamond model combined with Agile methodology and Scrum. We adapted the process to be executed in the cycle of two weeks sprints, where the first week was spent investigating the problem and making sure we were designing the right thing, and the second part was focused on the execution to design the thing right.

Double Diamond diagram showing my approach to problem solving.

Understanding the problem

Before Ezypay even hired someone to design the new client-application, a legacy application was already in place. It was made with low consideration of usability and learnability; it was most likely developed solely from an engineering perspective.

I conducted user interviews with the primary users (SO) and discovered major pain points affecting their productivity.

The goal of my research phase was to:

  • Understand the user goals and needs
  • Discover pain points across the current user journey
  • Define the success of the main tasks

Gathering insights

After conducting the user interviews I grouped the pain points into affinity maps. This informed our Feature Themes and Epics.

Tools stack

It is essential to use the right tool for each job. Here is a list of those I have used while working on this project:

  • Sketch
  • Miro
  • Zeplin
  • Balsamiq
  • WebStorm
  • VSCode
  • GitHub
  • Source Tree
  • Jira
  • Trello
  • Browserstack
  • Vue.js Devtool

Technology stack

The Single Page App is built on node.js; I wrote the templates with Vue and used Bootstrap4 as a starting framework. The client-application uses GraphQL to fetch the required data, stores it in Vuex before passing it to each component.

  • Node
  • Vue
  • Vuex
  • Bootstrap
  • Bootstrap-vue
  • Sass
  • GraphQL
  • Hasura
  • Webpack
  • Cypress

Deliverables

With the design and development of the client-application, Ezypay’s SO acquired a window on the cloud platform that allows them to manipulate the data without needing the Engineers to intervene.

From the very first iteration of the MVP, the company has had a reliable tool used for daily operations by the SO and later on has been adopted by Sales and Marketing to overview the onboarding process of newly acquired Clients.

Additional features have been implemented over time by running user interviews and workshops with internal stakeholders.

Results and takeaways

Since the implementation of the new client-application, we have seen a significant decrease in the number of tickets lodged, as well as a significant decrease in time to respond by the SO.
Additionally, I have received positive feedback from users about the usability of the new application, as it improved the onboarding of new employers.

Some key takeaways from this project are:

  • Create a strategic plan. This helps deal with out-of-scope requests that could potentially derail the project and helps deliver a quality product in time.
  • User testing doesn't end after development. Design is a constant iteration of improving the experience for the end-user. Finding ways to collect and listen to your user's feedback should be an ongoing task.
  • Involve software engineers upfront. Especially when the Product is a software application, it will allow discovering implementation issues earlier. This will also improve cross-department collaboration by letting the engineers constructively participate in the decision-making process.

Summary

I joined Eypay as a UX/UI Design Lead in 2018 as a solo designer in a company of over 70 employees distributed across 5 countries. I was responsible for leading the UX and UI across every part of the client-application used to access the platform.

I've grown tremendously in the years spent at Ezypay, some key achievements of which I have listed below:

  • Implemented a design process. I used the double diamond approach in problem-solving; allowing the team and the stakeholders to “explore” the current context and understand what problem we are trying to solve, and then to “converge” together toward the shared solution. This has helped to establish more structure to how we conduct our work and allow other teams to gain visibility across the upcoming sprints.
  • Improved usability across the platform. No usability tests were conducted previously, so with the new client I made sure we had some data to look back in a few months and see its impact.
  • Establishing a design system and a pattern library. This has helped the Engineering and Product teams to understand how and why we choose to implement certain components over others, also, it helped maintain consistency in the look and feel across different parts of the client-application.