What is Backstage?
Backstage is a learning platform for both a web and a mobile and it is designed to help Samsung retail people learn and sell Samsung products within stores. It helps understand what the products are about, what the USPs are, test themselves on what they learned thanks to bite sized content and quizzes. It also allow them to compete with other team members and earn points while learning. All designs and art direction are made by Blanca Hong.
My Role on the project
I created the personas out of the research that was done in the previous month. And I was the only person in charge of all of the wireframes for the project, across all user types, and devices. I was the point of reference for the Designer and for the Tech Team to build the project.
The project in few numbers
Who was in the team
The 3 UX designers were: Rita the Researcher, Alex my Manager overseeing the project especially towards the beginning, and I was the only one working on it after few weeks in the wireframes phase.
A typical day during the UX Specify phase
I improved on 🤓
I think the biggest learning from this project was that I am able to manage a project on my own (for this specific phase) and also work as a team efficiently with as much communication as possible.
Lessons learned 🤯
As efficient as the team was, I think we were missing a Business Analyst to log every single decision made because we realised during build that some areas weren't clear enough for the devs and few of them had to go through a lot of back and forth several times on the same functionality.
However I am now working on another LMS platform for Amazon, which is the perfect occasion for me to apply everything I learnt during Backstage and create another interface that could solve the same kind of problem as Backstage > help retail staff to learn about products in a simple and playful way.
The Explore Phase
Before starting this project, we pitched to Samsung what we could do to improve the Backstage app. We worked as the UX team with the UI designers to find the best ways to improve the app, where we could lead it and how gamification should be an entire part of it. We did a lot of workshops to define the needs and how to improve the app. We reorganised all of its content, and then we started mapping the navigation, and the main screens (homepage, profile, product category and product page). After winning the project few weeks after, actual research began.
During almost the whole of January I was full time working on the 1010 app for KFC. Therefore I missed a lot from the research that was done by my colleague Rita. However, as soon as I came back, I was able to make sense of and use all the information that was gathered to create personas from gathered insights. After creating the 4 main categories as a team, I did the personas in more details, it helped us define all the needs they had as well as what we needed to improve from 1.0.
For 1 month and a half, after being presented with all the research, the Samsung team (within Iris) planned everything in 10 different sprints, listing the user stories, separating the work in chunks so we could make a start as soon as the 2nd phase kicked off.
After that phase, this is where I started the big Trello Board that would follow us for the whole of the Specify Phase as a point of reference between the UI Designer and me. It was also a good way for the project managers as well as the tech team to see everything they needed in one place and also to allow them to see where we were at.
The Specify Phase
It was one of the first times Iris Worldwide was working on such a big digital project. So we had to create the processes and ways of working from scratch. At the beginning (1st two sprints) we were trying to define the main navigation and sections that would be on the platform. This was clearly the biggest challenge as the previous navigation on the platform was really difficult to understand and not clear at all. So we defined 5 main areas for content, and that was Newsfeed, Learn, Bonus, Latest and Profile. The idea was to have a journey as clear and simple as possible so the user could navigate to any content and always know where they were (e.g. we introduced a breadcrumb on desktop) and what to do next.
At the beginning especially we were working together with Blanca the designer, we would first ideate on paper, look for best practices and then iterate on various options until we found one common ground we were both happy with.
Wireframes — News feed
Wireframes — Learn
Wireframes — Quizzes
Wireframes — Profile
This is how we ended up creating all the screens for this new platform for each category and piece of content needed for the tech team to quote and plan everything. We had meetings with the tech leads everyday to share our progress and check what was feasible and what was not. We also had 2 weekly WIP meetings with the client so they could follow every step of our work and tell us what was on the right track or what needed improvement. Every morning we also had a stand-up meeting with the whole team to check what was done the previous day, what was the tasks for the day and if there were any blockers.
We did have a lot of meetings for this project but we had only 7-8 weeks to produce all the wireframes before it moved to the build phase, so it was crucial that we kept communicating as much as possible.
The final outcome of the project
Read and see more of the design in the customer story on the Totara website:

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