What was the scope of their involvement?
The process was a 2-phased approach. The first exercise was about vision and strategy, and the second phase was modernizing our current platform.
Initially, we asked Hard Candy Shell to do a preliminary assessment of our platform, meet with stakeholders throughout the organization, and work with some key customers who were long-time contributors. The output was a high-level vision of where we could go as a company, which involved research analysis of where we stood in the marketplace compared to competitors, and insight from our customers regarding what they liked and didn’t like about the platform. Hard Candy Shell also provided an overall vision of how etouches as a platform should evolve in order to stay modern and progressive in the market. We held weekly reviews to assess what they'd learned and put together, and concluded with an executive presentation to discuss the results.
In the second phase, they actually took the elements that were introduced via the vision and converted them into practical short-term design elements and patterns (e.g. screens, mockups, and prototypes) that we could apply to our platform. They helped us take these future projections and adapt them our current experience. We worked on a weekly basis to review the screens and to make sure that we received a comprehensive collection of assets for us to apply.
We elected to have our internal team integrate the new designs. Hard Candy Shell provided us with some CSS and other assets.
What are some of the new features on the site?
The design has a lot of immediate value by introducing a consistent library of user experience and design elements. Today, our product is inconsistent and not really cohesive with the way we present functionality to the user across different areas of the system. With the new design, we now have standards that we can apply to the entire product that will produce a more consistent experience. With regard to the vision and the strategy, the current product requires us to know where every element lives within the tool and explicitly navigate the system in order to get the job done. It is a very task-driven experience to use our system, host an event, prepare an event, run an event, and analyze the success of the event.
We’re heading toward a more data-driven, suggestive experience; instead of the navigation being so explicitly available, it is now implied through suggestive system intelligence. It shows where you are in the management of your current event and what you need to do next in order to maximize the event, prepare it, and execute it. It’s a completely new experience for our customers, and it’s unique in the industry to offer this type of product. That’s the ultimate long-term vision of what Hard Candy Shell put together for us.
How many resources have been assigned to your project?
Kevin [Founder and CEO, Hard Candy Shell] was the primary relationship manager and the lead of the project, but we also had a chief strategist involved. We had a UX expert, 2 technical leaders, and a project manager.
How did you come to work with Hard Candy Shell?
My boss and I worked together to accumulate a pool of potential partners. We just accumulated that group through word of mouth and research. I contacted the groups and attended interviews with those we were considering. We narrowed the selection to 2 firms and asked them to give presentations. As an executive group, we elected to go with Hard Candy Shell.
How much have you invested with Hard Candy Shell?
I believe our budget was around $200,000 for the complete project.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started our relationship in November of 2016, and it concluded in late May of 2017.