Following the Lead
My introduction to the Barclays Mobile Banking project was a game in following the leader. Our team, primarily consisting of one or two designers, would receive iPhone screens with the instructions to create equivalent screens for Android devices. This was problematic as there was no back and forth communication between teams, our designers lacked a strong relationship with our development team, and the Play store rating was not ideal.
We pushed to create a strong relationship with our developers, which helped us to create a united front and understand their frustrations as well as sharing our own. We approached the iPhone team and explained our thoughts. Android native interactions were being ignored and overlooked, and we wanted to implement them to help the end user.
Our feedback was well received, leading to our involvement earlier in the process. The iPhone team would create wireframes with labels explaining field requirements, interactions, and next steps. These were kind of like the “choose your path” books every 90s kid loved, but about banking instead of scary tales. These wireframes were very descriptive so that every person on the project would understand what had been agreed upon. Everything was documented and we could call out where Android would differ than iOS and gain approval for these differences.
We continued to build the trust between the designers and developers. Our team no longer had to point out common Android functionality as the rest of the teams became knowledgable through our regular meetings. The Android team started looking for other ways we could create improvements.
One such improvement which created a huge impact on our users was the implementation of visual QA from a design team member. When screens were ready for this version of QA, a designer was given access to view them in order to check for consistency between the approved design and the developed screen. This may sound like extra work since there was a QA team already in place, but it was time to get nit picky! The designer eye was able to catch padding miss-alignments and other items to remedy before being pushed live. We were creating pixel perfect designs, so why shouldn’t the live screens be pixel perfect as well? After working this way for a few months, the Play store ratings improved greatly. We were able to create more intuitive interactions for the Android user and make sure that consistency in designs was apparent.
With these huge steps forward, we started concepting updates for tablet devices. Tablets had been an afterthought up to this moment.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
We Are the Champions
As new flows were created, designers would provide style guides to the development team to help them understand the new layouts. Visual QA was able to continue and improve. The lead designer and developer were even able to join global calls when a new flow or improvement was in the requirements stages to give voice and concern.
Our biggest successes were improving the rating in the Play store for Barclays Mobile Banking (BMB), establishing a strong trust between design and development teams which had been lacking, and beginning the journey to improving accessibility within the application.
This project was a long journey with huge leaps in learning and growing. The road was not always smooth, but it was always leading to improvements.