Design Concept for Remote Team Engagement
As a creative leader managing a team of hybrid and remote workers, I have experienced firsthand and received feedback from my team regarding the challenges of feeling disconnected and isolated from colleagues. In response, I wanted to explore a design solution that fosters personal connections and engagement among team members, which led to the development of an innovative application solution. The development process involved conducting user interviews, generating ideas, creating concept tasks and scenarios, developing wireframes, conducting usability tests, and refining the solution to ensure it addresses the needs of remote and hybrid teams.
Remote and hybrid teams may have a tough time connecting on a personal level with one another due to their work environment. Teams may not feel connected to their peers and experience a sense of loneliness and desire for more personal interaction. I expect to address these problems through the use of an application that better connects teams, keeps them engaged, and improves retention.
User interview findings
View activity notes & affinity diagramming from the four users tested.
The importance of social connectedness is different to everyone.
Smaller groups encourage an individual to engage in the conversation.
Scheduled time for social connectedness is important but must not be forced.
Personal conversations will continue to happen organically.
Slack and Google Meets are strong tools for virtual social interactions.
Non work related topics span from sharing updates on family, activities and personal preferences.
The use of humor and gifs are important to create social connectedness.
Nicole is a 32-year-old Digital Designer that works in a hybrid environment, which means she works 2 days a week in person and 3 days remotely. Nicole has experience using digital tools like Slack and Webex for communication with peers. Her busy workday doesn’t always leave time to connect socially with peers. She is looking for new and easy ways to connect with her peers socially as she believes it will lead to building trust, friendships, and stronger work.
Ten different design ideas that respond to the design challenge and allow the persona to achieve their goals.
Customized profile via Slack
Chatbot conversation starters, small talk prompts, and communication feedback via Slack
Virtual reality coffee breaks within Slack
Sensor to picking up nonverbal cues virtually
Video chat in environmental setting and AI interactions
Metaverse: Watercooler chat rooms based on topics with number of active users
Sync a walk together and look at the same things
Wellness integration with Slack
Team lunch using extended reality via Slack
Networking via profile information via Slack
Design idea: Custom user profiles in Slack
Based on the contextual interviews and persona created, the design concept helps make social connections easier by connecting people through Slack, an app the team uses. Individuals are able to create a custom profile with their interests displayed.
Concept tasks, scenario & wireframes
Nicole, the primary user, is a remote worker looking for new ways to easily connect with her peers on a personal level through shared interests. In this scenario, Nicole is at her place of residence, in her home office, during the work day. Nicole is on her Map laptop using the Slack application.
Nicole is feeling lonely being a remote worker and needs human interaction on a topic she is interested in. Nicole goes into her Slack application user profile, where she has her interests filled out.
Nicole clicks on a topic she is looking to connect with a colleague on. She sees a list of users with a common interest and sees who is active. She finds an individual online she is not close to but knows their name. Nicole chats with the individual and begins to engage in conversation on their shared topic. Nicole feels less lonely and happy about her new connection.
Wireframe prototype using Balsamiq
The overall goal is to measure the prototype's effectiveness in meeting Nicole's needs to feel more socially connected working in a remote environment. Other goals include
- Nicole can successfully complete tasks
- How easily Nicole can learn the interface
- Nicole’s satisfaction with the design solution
- Nicole’s perceived quality and quantity of social connectedness
View usability test protocol script
Prototype interaction instructions
Nicole is viewing a prototype concept with limited features. The prototype concept is within the Slack application.
The prototype concept called "CommonGround" is a custom user profile within Slack. In the app, coworkers can learn more about each other and connect through common interests.
Through a series of tasks, Nicole’s ultimate goal is to find others that share her common interest in "Sports."
You are looking to find a new interest for your profile. Use the application to identify two ways to find the "Sports" interest. Please tell me when the task is completed.
You are looking to add the "Sports" interest to your CommonGround profile. Use the application to add the "Sports" interest. Please tell me when the task is completed.
You are looking to delete the "DIY" topic from your profile. Use the application to delete the "DIY" interest. Please tell me when the task is completed.
You are looking to find a user with "Sports" as a common interest. Use the application to find someone with your shared "Sports" interest. Please tell me when the task is completed.
You are looking to message someone with the same "Sports" shared interest and is available to chat. Use the application to find "Jack" and send a direct message. Please tell me when the task is completed.
Prototype using Figma
Usability test results
View usability test results from the four users tested for Metrics for Evaluating Usability, Metrics for Evaluating User Experience, UX problem instances (UPIs), and UX design problems (UDPs).
Refinements from usability test findings
- Keep "Add new interest" button persistent
- Add in the description about the interest
- Ability to view sub-interests
- Ability for individuals to add new interests to the database
- Clarify how to search for users with a common interest
- Ability to search by "My network" and "My company"
- Ability to join a group or message an individual by interest
- UI design updates