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LUMATAX

DISCOVERY & FRAMING

PRODUCT DESIGN

USER RESEARCH

MARKETING MATERIAL

CIRCA: 2022

ROLE

Head of User Experience

DESIGN STATEMENT

LumaTax is a TaxTech startup whose customers are sales and use tax accountants at large and medium sized accounting firms. I was hired to introduce UX discipline, evolve the visuals and usability of our product, and own the brand and marketing design efforts. But first, I had to learn everything about sales tax compliance.

PLATFORM

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UX EDU
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UX EDUCATION

As the first UX professional at  this TaxTech, it was imperative that my colleagues in product, engineering, and marketing understood the intricacies, rituals, and benefits of having disciplined user experience integrated into the team. 

Based on materials originating from the Nielsen Norman Group, I produced an educational UX overview which articulated each aspect of Design Thinking.  Within days of joining the team, I facilitated an hour-long session with the entire company to cover aspects of Personas, Empathy Maps, Journey Maps, Prototyping, Usability Testing, and more.  

Following the review, attendees had a better understanding of the value UX adds and had access to the materials to learn more at their own pace.

FULL DESIGN THINKING PRESENTATION (PDF)

Personas

DISCOVERY

PERSONAS

My first priority in the sales tax domain was to understand our customers. ​ I gathered subject-matter-experts, product managers, and our CEO - the former Senior Tax Auditor for the State of California - to lead a discovery session about our users.

The research results  led to the creation of three unique personas, which became  a consistent reference touchstone through the project.

Additionally, we validated each persona with real users in one-on-one interviews.

LUMATAX PERSONAS (PDF)

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Journey
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FRAMING

JOURNEY
MAPPING

I led efforts to create several Journey Maps to gain a shared understanding of our users' path through complex product workflows. This enabled us to pinpoint specific pain points to derive "How Might We..." opportunities from those areas of concern.

I then facilitated follow-up sessions to prioritize the opportunities that provided the most value to our users and were the least complex to implement.

During my time at LumaTax, I produced several Journey Maps using Miro. The most robust of being a complex workflow between an accountant and their client. This Journey outlined a constant "push-and-pull" between the two personas. 

This particular journey led to the creation of a wireframe prototype focused on the most important and least  complex features, while excluding those with less value and high complexity.

VIEW FULL JOURNEY MAP (PDF)

Wirefrmes

IDEATION

WIREFRAMES

Building upon the learnings and opportunities from our Journey Mapping workshops, a series of detailed black and white wireframes were created using Figma. The ultimate goal was to devise interactions and workflow with the intent to put them in front of users for upcoming usability sessions.

These wireframes were intentionally devoid of visual design or final verbiage. This allowed the team to focus on the user goals and weighting information, rather than concentrating on branding  or copywriting.

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Prototyping
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INTERACTION DESIGN

PROTOTYPING

Following the creation of wireframes, I created clickable prototypes in Figma. These prototypes were applied  primarily in usability studies, but also assisted in the articulation of concepts to the entire team.The interactions included in this prototype included navigation, hovers, animations, tooltips, and more.

Wirefrmes

VALIDATE

USABILITY
STUDIES

During my career, I have organized and facilitated over 100 usability sessions. 

For this particular study shown on the right, I wrote invitations to 8 users who fit our persona definitions. Ideally, I wanted 5 participants, but have learned from experience to account for attrition, so I typically invite additional participants.

 

In the invitation, I set up a scheduler link using HubSpot for the participants to choose their ideal time. All 8 participants attended. I tracked attendees using a spreadsheet to ensure we were not overwhelming or double-booking prospective attendees.

Then I generated assumptions to validate the choices made in prototype. These assumptions ranged from users finding a component on the page to comprehension level of messaging.

Next, I wrote the script I would use in each session. It was written to ensure each assumption was being evaluated without bias and to guide participants through the prototype.

Then, I facilitated 1-on-1 sessions with each participant over Zoom. For each session, I set up an internal backchannel for my colleagues to observe and feed me any follow-up questions they had.

Following each session, I facilitated a synthesis session with those colleagues who were observing the initial sessions.  One-by-one, we determined if each assumption was validated, invalidated, or unvalidated.

At the culmination of all studies, I put together a summary of our findings, as seen on the right. Validated assumptions were ready  to move into visual design and on to engineering. Invalid assumptions were sent back for UX refinement. Unvalidated assumptions were parlayed into the next usability study.

ASSUMPTION TRACKER (XLSX)

USABILITY SCRIPT (DOCX)

USABILITY SUMMARY (DOCX)

Usability summary
UX EDU
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VISUAL DESIGN

Once all assumptions were validated, the wireframes were then given a nice overlay with our current visual design. Over time, visual design implementation became faster, thanks to the design systems I maintained (see below).

Design System

VISUAL DESIGN

DESIGN SYSTEM

I was responsible for maintaining a set of design systems: one for the product itself, one for wireframes, and one for marketing materials, such as the sales website and printed brochures.

Elements were distilled with strict attention to detail, such as the text-style on a button (as well as the button’s shape and animation), and were built out from there. Each component had several variations and options for maximum flexibility. For example, the button component included solid buttons, outline buttons, the option to include an icon on the button, etc. Additionally, each variation was instrumented to automatically include interactions like hover and down states, speeding their implementation and usability in prototyping.

These design systems were published from their own Figma files for inclusion in other Figma files. Ultimately, these design systems allowed me to maintain consistency across the entire product and make global changes on-the-fly that would apply product-wide (a global color change, for example)

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UX EDU
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MARKETING WEBSITE & MATERIALS

During my first few months with the organization, I  redesigned our marketing website. This was beneficial because  the site I inherited was not user-friendly or visually appealing and I needed a crash-course in Sales and Use Tax. I knew that if I could help sell our product via our website, it would give me broad insight into the primary benefits of our product.

As with any other UX effort, I created personas, wireframes (this time for the responsive web), prototypes, and visual design. I also helped produce our animated "explainer" video. 

Following the launch of the website, I used all of the visual design language to produce all other marketing material for the organization.

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