NexisUni (ex Lexis Academic)

Project: Product redesign and migration to core platform  Client: BIS LexisNexis

It’s funny how very small things can make you happy. I was really pleased with your browse response. It’s leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeean, real lean and answers the use case in the simplest way. – Product Owner email to me

The first BIS product I helped to migrate to a new core platform was Lexis Academic – a tool for students to research legal, archival news, company information and directories. What was apparent from the outset was that this was NOT a like-for-like migration.

My first task was a deep dive into survey feedback from over 150 participants. Distilling their responses to create a customer journey map (below), I also included motivations, tasks and needs. This helped to facilitate discussion of MVP user stories.

The first design challenge was creating a deceptively simple search interface that could take on the heavy lifting of advanced filtering. I developed two concepts of search initiation to use for research:

  • a conversational style experience more targeted at a newbie student, and
  • a Google style search bar – an all-you-can-eat model with advanced pre-filtering. (Early research identified that Google played a significant role in how the user cohort tackled their research questions.)

Research feedback was expected: the novice users liked the conversational style, and the graduate students liked the advanced model. Further research was required to meet a happy ground.

To deliver on the search initiation user story, I worked up a third approach which took elements from both styles. I knew that it could easily translate to an existing pod template within the core platform. This tested well by all students and this was developed for MVP for more intensive testing. I further fleshed out the interactions for the user stories.

Full snapshot of responsibilities:

  • Key advocate for customer needs across the product and senior leadership, development and marketing teams;
  • initiate and facilitate sessions with the user researcher – advise key areas for inquiry, draft, customise and edit discussion guides, sometimes honing the questioning live during a session, via chat session;
  • prototype concepts and user journeys in Axure to help illustrate design approach and, with time permitting, test these with customers;
  • discuss, influence and challenge product managers and senior engineers in the best design approaches during pre- and grooming sessions, incorporating agile UX design to communicate how feature development will be realised, from one development cycle to the next;
  • present wireframes (and sell in benefit of design) to engineering teams during grooming sessions and detail the requirements in subsequent user stories (via Jira, Teams, VisualStudio);
  • drive the design vision, and take opportunities to educate and inform design principles, through pre-/grooming, development and QA cycles;
  • inform and seek input from visual designers and content editors of upcoming design increments, and direct their schedules to create assets ahead of when needed by engineers;
  • participate in roadmap presentation sessions, industry insight sessions and input into the discussion around feature increments for future release cycles;
  • liaise regularly with UK and US colleagues in the legal division to compare, brainstorm and co-design on similar features being rolled out on the new core platform;
  • advise and inform newer UX and product team members in agile and story creation processes.

In June of 2017, the first public release was made to universities and colleges in the US only. At this point, I stepped back from the lead role, handing over to a US-based UX Designer, so that I could take up the lead role on the next migration product, Nexis, to the core platform.