“The KMP (knowledge management platform) is a vast reservoir of this international company’s knowledge about different business areas, country-by-country markets and legislation, and other expertise that they have built up over many years. It allows a staff member to access huge amounts of information and identify the experts within the organisation on any topic or geographical area. It’s absolutely what gives them their competitive edge,” says Matt Standage, OCC’s Head of UX Design.
The KMP must be accurate and up-to-the-minute. It also needs to be accessible efficiently and effectively, around the clock and around the globe. “The company came to us to refine the KMP,” says Matt, “providing a contemporary look and feel, and slicker navigation, so that users can find the information they need in fewer clicks.”
The team started with a ‘Discovery’ phase, investigating how users experience the system day-to-day and how their journeys progress.
Research with over 150 users found that the KMP was a much-loved tool – “It’s a great way to get up to speed with a new area and enables you to know lots of things that, half an hour before, you didn’t” – but there were definitely things that could be improved. Those included the homepage layout and navigation through the system, where lack of levels of hierarchy and categorisation were weak.
To better understand the user journey, OCC’s UX team developed a series of personas: Knowledge Leaders, highly proficient users in senior positions whose responsibilities include leading several project teams and coaching junior members of staff, Experienced Users, who have used the KMP and turn to it when looking for project resources, templates and learning and development needs, and Junior Staff, who have relatively little experience of the KMP beyond basic training and are not familiar with all its features. Their prime reasons for using the system were to get up to speed with unfamiliar business areas or geographies, to find relevant people to reach out to for projects and proposal experience, and to access apps relevant to a particular project. Senior staff also wanted to contribute useful resources, to find training and development resources, and to find content for projects and learning and development to support junior team members.
After extensive discussion of these findings, OCC moved on to the development phase of the project. The remit: to improve the design and navigation of the webpages with a contemporary look and allow relevant content to be accessed more efficiently. It was also necessary to develop a more flexible structure that matched the needs of diverse groups internationally.
“During the Development phase, we released a new version of the KMP to the client every two weeks and tested it with users, listening carefully to their feedback,” explains Matt. “As a result of this iterative process, we made changes such as decluttering the homepage and making documents and groups of documents into clearer destinations, with quicker navigation between them.” With the hub being used on a daily basis by thousands of employees, that amounts to a significant saving.
Users have been full of praise for the new software. “I would just like to say that the preview panel on the right and the layout panel are a total game-changer,” messaged one company analyst. “I love how it helps preserve momentum when doing high-level information canvassing.”