Aims and Objectives

The Sky help and support call centre takes thousands of calls every day offering support on everything from billing to broadband. Whilst some of these calls can only be dealt with via a call centre a large proportion are issues that the customer could resolve themselves.

In an effort to reduce the number of calls customers are encouraged to self serve where possible using the website as a first point of call.

Sky already had a large number of online guides, tools and forums available for customers but as the number and complexity of the guides had grown the existing help and support website was becoming harder to use for customers seeking help which was resulting in more calls to the call centre. As with many sites mobile traffic was also increasing year on year so it was important that the site was responsive.

When users searched for guides via an external search engine the guides all ranked highly and (analytics suggested) were easily found. The internal Sky.com search engine had also undergone a major overhaul so customers who were searching for information were also being well served.

The key to the project success therefore was not only redesigning the website and guides responsively but also surfacing routes into the guides at appropriate points in the customer information seeking journey.

My Role

My role on this project was Senior UX working collaboratively with a UI designer and a Scrum team made up of front and back end developers.

Method

Competitor Research

The help and support section had been through several iterations in its life span and we had a pretty good idea of how the new site should function based on previous research that had been done. However, I wanted to make sure we learned as much as we could from not only competitors but also from other companies who also offer online support and guidance. I looked at several companies including electronics manufacturers, mobile phone companies and others both in the UK and overseas to see what we could learn.

Card Sort

As a team we decided to use a robust taxonomy to help surface relevant information to customers not only on the index pages but also on the guides themselves to ensure that customers were never stuck at a dead end and always had other relevant content to look at.

The first step in this process was to conduct an online card sort as I wanted to understand more about customers understanding of the titles that had been given to the guides and also how customers mentally grouped the guides. I used Userzoom for this because stakeholders at Sky put a lot of value on quantitive evidence and this was the easiest way to get the card sort in front of hundreds of people in a short space of time.

The outcome of this helped form the basis of the taxonomy which was refined and added to as the project progressed

Tree Test

The key question we wanted answering was whether customer preferred to refine the list of guides by product (eg. broadband) or intent (eg. setting up) when looking for help via the support homepage.

Following on from the card sort I wanted to validate some of the assumptions that had been made around the intent vs product question. I wanted to test the various options available to us but I specifically wanted to get an answer to this question without potentially influencing the outcomes by introducing user interfaces so I decided to conduct a tree test.

The tree test measured participants routes through variations of a potential IA. The options testing included product only, intent only and a hybrid based on the old websites taxonomy. Again using Userzoom I was able to test with hundreds of people.

Participants were shown one variation of the tree test with the same 10 tasks and the outcomes were measured and compared against each other.

Click Test

Another testing technique I used was click testing potential design routes. Mockups of potential design interfaces were produced and participants were shown one of the design options but were asked the same question. During these tests I was looking for feedback not only on the chosen design direction but also on the labelling and language used in the designs.

Prototyping

As usual with this kind of project I produced numerous versions of wireframes exploring different interface options and ideas some of which were interactive. Wireframes were only going to give us part of the answer though and although we usability tested some early wireframes with customers it was important to prototype using the taxonomy as soon as possible and see how they used the interface to find answers to the tasks we set them. Working with the developers in the team we were able to quickly mockup some design interfaces which plugged directly into the new taxonomy which made the prototypes as realistic as possible. This was a great way of demoing our ideas to stakeholders in the organisation and also to be used for usability testing.

Usability Testing

We were working to two week sprints and as part of this process we also tested with customers during each sprint. Sky conducts regular testing session in an observation studio in central London so I was able to get prototypes tested at each stage of the project. After each round of testing I analysed the feedback and presented it back to the team during the sprint retrospective. The outcomes of the testing were then used to help prioritise the backlog in the following sprint.

AB Testing

Because the Sky.com website has millions of unique visitors each month its relatively easy to get quick feedback on design decisions through AB testing. Once we had settled on an interface we were able to implement the smaller design decisions, measure the results and tweak the website accordingly.

Outcomes

The website was designed, built and launched within three months. The new website was responsible for a reduction in the amount of calls to the call centre which represented a significant reduction in operating costs to Sky.