Bateman Group is a technology PR firm based in San Francisco with an East Coast office in New York and remote employees in Oregon and Ohio. With the company expanding at a rapid pace, Bateman Group worked with a software development agency to create an internal smartphone app for its growing company.

A few weeks after launch, Bateman Group found that very few of its employees were using the app.


  • Conflicting business goals and user needs
  • Technological constraints of the original design
  • The absence of a clear value proposition

Key Goals:

  • Identify the causes for low app usage
  • Redesign the visual interface
  • Decrease lengthy task flows
  • Improve overall usability


This project allowed me to use a variety of techniques to gather the most valuable information. Some techniques I used to get to the final product include:

  • Conducting in-depth user research with:
    • Contextual inquiries
    • Ethnographic research
    • Surveys
    • Usability testing
  • A SWOT analysis and feature assessment
  • User stories and storyboarding
  • A full redesign of the profile and directory functions


After analyzing the user research, sketching and testing different iterations of the app, I proposed the following solutions:

  • Adding "swipe for action" interaction to the directory to decrease the length of the call and email task flows.
  • Rearranging the current navigation to live at the bottom of the screen for easier access to important features.
  • Redesigning the user profile interface to give users a more creative way to express themselves to their colleagues.
  • Adding an onboarding experience for first time users to clearly detail the value and functions of the app.

Full disclosure: Bateman Group decided to pull the plug on the smartphone app before the changes I proposed went to development.

Design Process



During the content analysis I reviewed current task flows, assessed possible points of user frustration and developed a list of hypotheses that I later tested.

The analysis revealed a number of possible user frustrations including lengthy task flows and a confusing feature hierarchy.

Selected screens from the original Bateman Group app for iOS - home screen, directory and employee profile.

My Hypotheses:

  • If I add "swipe for action" interactions to the employee listings in the directory, users be able to complete important tasks faster.
  • If I redesign the employee profile interface to be more customizable, users will be able to get to know their co-workers better.
  • If I design an onboarding experience, new users will understand how to use the app quicker and will utilize the app more regularly.


With my hypotheses in mind, I interviewed 6 Bateman Group employees about their work habits and current interactions with the Bateman Group App.

Key Findings:

  • Employees are always on the go.
  • Employees don't feel connected to co-workers in other locations.
  • Currently, employees are searching their email inboxes for the contact information of their co-workers when they need to call them


Preliminary user testing helped me understand how users were already interacting with the app. I used this info to support or refute my hypotheses and uncover other sources of frustration or opportunities for experience improvement.

From my testing, I found that users had issues:

  • Understanding the features of the app
  • Navigating through the app
  • Making phone calls quickly (Some users spent upwards of 15 seconds trying to complete this task)



After discussions with Bateman Group leadership and Bateman Group employees, I created two personas to better understand who I was designing for.

Over-Booked Oliver

Oliver is constantly in and out of the office and needs to contact his team members back in the office frequently. Currently, Oliver will email or text co-workers when he is out but hates searching his contacts or emails for phone numbers.


  • Out of the office at least 50% of the time
  • Uses his smartphone to communicate with team members, reads emails and complete tasks when he is on the go
  • Uses apps like Twitter and Medium in his spare time


  • Oliver wishes he could find team members in the directory quickly and call them immediately
  • Oliver wishes he could organize the people he calls the most into a group

Newbie Nancy

Nancy is a new Bateman Group employee, based in the San Francisco office. While most of her teams are also in SF, she's had email exchanges with her co-workers in New York. Nancy will hopefully have the chance to meet her New York colleagues in the future, but for now she doesn't have a relationship with any of them.


  • Works primarily with San Francisco co-workers
  • In the office at least 90% of the time
  • Uses apps like Slack (for Desktop) daily to communicate with team members


  • Nancy wants to express herself to her new team members, even if she won't meet all of them in person
  • Nancy wants to learn more about co-workers in other offices


I boiled down the needs and goals of Oliver and Nancy into a group of user stories to better design features for them.

Here's one of Dan's stories:

"As a busy PR professional, I want to stay connected to my teams so that I can conduct business seamlessly whether I'm in the office or not."

And one of Nancy's:

"As a new employee, I want to get to know my co-workers so that I can form friendships at work."


Before I started sketching screens, I designed new task flows for making phone calls, sending messages and editing a profile. Below is my proposed task flow for making a phone call.


Armed with a pretty solid stack of research, I moved on to sketching and wireframing.

I designed recommendations for a new employee profile interface, an interactive directory and a new-user onboarding experience.



Lo-Fi Wireframes

Hi-Fi Wireframes



Hi-fidelity prototype of the onboarding, profile and directory interfaces


The last step of my process is always a quick debrief. During this time I reflect on what worked, what didn't and how I can make my workflow more efficient.


While it's unfortunate that the project never made it to development, I enjoyed working with the software development team. In the future, I'd get them more involved with the actual design and research processes.

I'd also do a better job of understanding the constraints before I started the work. This time around I paid a lot more attention to business goals and user goals and didn't consider technological constraints as heavily as I should have.


One of the most interesting parts of my design process is going back and reviewing all of the ideas that didn't make it into the final prototype.

A couple of those ideas include:

  • The ability to create multiple teams from the directory.
  • Two floating buttons in the directory that would allow users to view employees in either the San Francisco or Brooklyn offices:


Design processes have to be flexible. While it would be nice to move fluidly from step 1 to step 2 and so on, new constraints can easily throw you off course. The test is in being resilient and keeping your pace instead of being slowed down.

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