How Might We make the Visa application process more efficient?
Designing mobile app for Majd Visa client's
Majd Visa & Immigration Services Australia offers a variety of services in the Immigration field. Their clients comprise of a broad range of people who come from various places around the world. They assist prospective migrants, visitors, students, skilled workers or families willing to become united with their loved ones. Their services include:
– Initial assessment and advice
– Preparation and management of visa applications
– Communication with the Department of immigration
– Monitoring of visa application progression
Majd Visa deals with a wide range of clients with different social, cultural and educational backgrounds. This makes the application process tedious, time consuming and sometimes unsuccessful mainly due to incomplete application. For all different applicants, Majd Visa utilised one general process without much personalisation, which was lengthy for straight forward cases and was inadequate for more complex cases.
More robust and personalised processes were required to be crafted and fabricated for each of the identified group of applicants. These processes were meant to be efficient for Majd Visa and yet comprehensible for the clients.
Sketch, Kanban Board, InVision, Adobe Photoshop, Mural
Key Methods & Deliverables
User Journey Map
Research & Plan
After identifying the main customers, to gain insights into what they needed, how they behaved, felt, and thought, and why they demonstrated such behaviours in different stage of their application process, a focus group session was conducted with the internal director and three other staffs. In addition, four customers whose visa applications had recently been lodged were interviewed.
To understand the current workflow problems, I participated in their meetings and observed how staffs interacted with clients for two working days. It helped me to have a first hand experience about the customers’ touch points and pain points in different stages of visa application process.
We started the project by defining two main target audience groups: Majd Visa staffs and lawyers and their Clients. Thus, the website and/or application had to function efficiently for groups of users. Then to gain a thorough understanding of their needs, expectations and behavioural patterns, I conducted a series of interviews with the staff and some of the clients. The insights we gathered from the interviews helped to have a better understanding about the challenges they were facing throughout the process of application preparation.
Empathising with users through “Job to be Done” statements
For this project instead of defining user stories ( As a [type of user], I want [some action], so that [outcome] ) ,we used the “Job to be Done” framework (When ___ , I want to ___ , so I can ___ .) to convert the insights into actionable recommendations and to use them during the design process.
Also, a design Kanban board in Miro platform was used to capture the design process. Using Kanban helped to document, prioritise and deliver the project in collaboration with the rest of the team.
Based on the patterns identified in the affinity map from collected data from stockholders focus group, observation and interviews, four personas were developed.
These personas describe a typical customer/potential customer, their needs, problems, pain points, and other details about him/her. Having a clear picture about the main personas helped to come up with a user-centric solutions during brainstorming and ideation phase.
Customer Journey Map
Define problems of existing solutions
Four different customer journey maps were developed in Smaply platform, one for each persona.
These maps illustrated a holistic customer experience across different channels and touch points (online, in person, or over the phone) through which customers came into contact with Majd visa.
This visualisation helped to have a clear sense of motivations, needs and pain points that customers were experiencing throughout the process of dealing with Majd Visa services and their application process.
Problem Framing and ideation
With our design challenges in mind, in the next stage I began seeking the best solutions. I used HMW (how might we) technique to come up with multiple solutions for identified pain points.
Subsequently, it was time to develop a user flow. This enabled me to identify the structure and pages required to be designed and also helped the client and the developer to understand the user’s interactions with the web/app while completing the required tasks.
Wireframing and Low-Fidelity Prototyping
After ideation phase, lo-fi prototypes of three variations of an idea was created and fidelity was added to present to client for feedback.
In order to make sure that the final product was in the right direction and had met customers needs, throughout the process from paper prototypes to wireframes and on to visual design we tested our design with Majd Visa’s clients and staffs.
Since the UX design process is not a linear process, we went back and forth between different steps until we found the best solution and user flow for each persona.
In this project the clients agreed to use Lean UX approach for some of developed personas (Mohammad and Daniel). In Lean UX approach developing the minimum viable product (MVP) helped to minimise development costs. Also, using feedbacks and collected data from usersenabled to add value and iterate it over time.
However as our client asked, the process of implementing selected ideas for other two personas (Sam and Sara) was iterated in a few sprint sessions before the final release.
Mjad Visa accept different type of visa application including refugee and humanitarian visas.Their clients have a diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. They also work with clients who have some form of disability as well.
To make this web/app accessible for wider range of users, I considered using WCAG and ARIA guidelines.Considering different aspects such as content resizing, colour contrast, font styling and readability, touch target size were some of the basic essential factors that were considered during the app design process.
Branding and UI Design
For developing colour palette I tried the colour palette that they already had for their brand identity like logo, business card. I used the ColorTool at material.io/color to ensure that all colours met the WCAG accessibility standards.
Material design provides clear guidelines to handle the writing for different UI elements. Roboto is the standard typefaces on Android and Chrome. It has been clearly polished to handle the cross-platform usage.
Icons are visual elements that help to communicate the core idea in a simple, bold, and friendly way. I used System icons( provided by Google material) for command, file, device, directory, or common actions and a few custom icons to help users understand actions.
Prototype & Testing
I tested the interactive prototype with 5 new users to validate whether the problem has been solved. I asked participants to think-aloud when they were preforming tasks. It especially helped to gain a better understanding of their expectations and mental model, and identifying what aspects of the prototype were confusing.
Conclusion & Reflection
After launching the web/app, Majd Visa’s staff used it for application process for a few of their new clients to make sure that the…As we applied Lean UX approach in this project, we continued optimising the design based on the feedback we received from client and Google Analytics in the next iteration.
In the next iteration some gamification features like badging system and reminder were added to encourage Majd Visa’s clients to provide the required documents for their application.
Working on this project gave me valuable experience to learn more about lean UX, Kanban board and designing for different platform.