I am a week away from finishing my bachelor studies in interaction design at Malmö University. For me it has been an exciting journey to further my education from lingerie design to user-experience design. Especially looking back at the past year were Visma has played a central role in my education.
Last fall I did my internship with Visma UX, working with a project for Visma Financial Solutions in Norway. It was the most challenging and fun project I have done, and I enjoyed working with the UX team in Malmö. Therefore, this spring, I continued to collaborate with Visma during my thesis project “Storytelling in the field of interaction design – reflective design in work-related software”.
Stories have a special ability to connect with people, evoke feelings and build empathy.
In my second year as a bachelor student, Visma visited Malmö University to introduce the company and promote their internship program. Visma appealed to me on a personal level, as they are working with software for the many people, developing design and technology that affects people’s everyday lives. Also, I fell for the opportunity to work with a project practicing both research and design in an iterative user-centered design process. This made me apply for an internship at Visma, and in September 2019 my Visma-journey began.
After an exciting intern project, I was invited back by Visma to explore the topic “storytelling” for my bachelor thesis project. Visma was interested in how the company story “We are better together” might be integrated with the products. I was intrigued by the design challenge and the opportunity to learn more about storytelling as a design approach and to continue my journey at Visma.
In my thesis project, Visma’s company story “We are better together” was used as a starting point for the design process. Values from the story were turned into three concepts; “Better health”, “Better Environment” and “Better Opportunities”. The aim was to create a design that could be experienced by payroll administrators in Visma.net on a reflective level, appealing to their self-image and spark joy. During the design process, elements of storytelling were used to build conceptual stories to illustrate, refine and define the user experience of the design. Prototypes related to the three conceptual stories were used to engage with end-users to understand their user experience.
What I have learnt
For designers’, stories are good for emphasizing user experience and to communicate design. Because, stories have a special ability to connect with people, evoke feelings and build empathy.
In my project, I learned that the end-users had both positive and negative experiences of the concepts. The concept “Better environment” received the most positive feedback. This concept could be experienced on a reflective level, appealing to their self-image of caring for the environment and that sparked joy. However, not everyone was happy about adding “unnecessary” content to the product, because, when reflecting upon themselves, the users were task-oriented and mainly wanted payroll functionality to be in place.
Working with elements of storytelling in my thesis project helped me as a designer to ask questions to the design and to understand different aspects of design that affect the user experience.
I am really happy that I continued my journey at Visma this spring, to explore my research questions together with real-life actual examples and users. This has been most valuable in gaining personal development but also to establish contacts within the industry.