ChanoMa (means “Living Room”) is a service for a dual-income households with little children to tighten family bonds.
2018 / Professional Project / 1 year
What I did
Generated an iOS App for a client. Contributed to the entire process as a product design lead. Directed an 10-person team consisting of designers, engineers and business strategists. According to the high evaluation of the beta test, the client decided to launch this product in 2019.
Role: Product Design Lead
Deliverable: iOS App (will be released in 2019)
Why I did
This is a new business development project for a client called C-EP (Chubu Electric Power), which supplies electricity to 10 million households in Japan. Due to recent deregulation of Japanese electricity, many competitors have been entering the electricity market. Thus C-EP must provide user-centered services to improve its retention capability. However, there was no designer in the company and they didn’t have a capability to proceed a user-centered product design project.
Client: Chubu Electric Power
Contribution: Concept, Design, Build, Beta-Test
How I did
Used multiple product design methodologies: Design Thinking for conception, Lean Startup for business design, and Agile for development. Established collaborative design studio in which multiple members could simultaneously discuss various topics and issues of business, design, and technology.
Design Approach: Design Thinking + Lean Startup + Agile
Method & Tool: Collaborative studio, Persona, Storyboard, User Journey Map, Acting out, User Interview, Paper Prototyping, Business Model Canvas, Product Backlog, Usage Analysis, Invision
The client is preparing for launching this product in 2019.
After the implementation. my team performed a qualitative and quantitative user evaluation and 75% of participants evaluated “Very Positive” and “Positive” against the whole concept. Therefore, the client decided to launch this App in 2019 cycle. Currently, client members are continuing the development of an Android version.
The client must provide WOW services to keep its retention capability.
Recently, a policy of electricity in Japan changed and the power grid began to be shared. A lot of competitors have been entering the electricity market and customer began to choose a better and user-friendly company. Thus C-EP had to provide attractive services to improve its retention capability.
The client didn’t have a capability to commit Design-Driven projects.
However, the client was not a manufacturing company and there was no designer. So they were completely at lost. This was the first design-driven project for them.
Therefore, I was employed as a product design lead and managed an 10-person team consisting of designers, engineers and business strategists. I involved in the project end to end using methodologies of Design Thinking, Lean Startup and Agile Development.
Facilitated a Design Thinking workshop with clients at first.
The first thing I did was holding the 2-days IBM Design Thinking workshop with clients. There were two following meanings:
To explore possible users collaboratively
To familiarize clients with a design process because clients were not familiar with collaborating with designers and design process
According to social trends in Japan, I defined three initial user segments: single, dual-income and elderly households. I divided all members including IBM designers and clients into three teams and discussed possible users and scenarios in the sticker and paper work.
Defined the target segment based on UX and social research.
According to research after the workshop, I discussed with the client and decided a dual-income working mother as a primary user.
Social Trend and Business Impact
49% of households are dual-income in urban area in Japan and they are expected to be a major segment of electricity users. Additionally, they are actively searching for better and reasonable service, so we judged it is important to satisfy this user segment.
As-Is user’s experience
My team interviewed 10 working mothers and we found how hard working mothers’ life are. After coming back to the home, they must do cooking and many houseworks with taking care of children.
Extracted two pain points from interviews.
According to working mother interviews, my team extracted the following two pain points we should tackled and agreed the decision with the client.
Working mothers rely on smartphone to take care of children
One was the problem that recent mothers often passed their smartphones to a child when they were busy and showed YouTube. It causes less communication between parents and children, and some young mothers even lost a way how to take care of children. They felt guilty to rely on a smartphone, but they couldn’t quit it.
Working mothers don’t know children’s feelings
The other was mothers didn’t know children’s feelings and preferences well. According to our interview, even mothers who usually communicated with children said that they didn’t understand children’s feelings.
Set up collaborative studio to explore solution with teams and clients.
As a product design lead, I established a collaborative studio in which multiple members could simultaneously discuss various topics from a business plan to UI elements and find the desirable / feasible / viable experience.
Most problems occurring in the project can not be judged only by designers. I held a whole-day collaborative session every other week with not only internal designers but also C-EP members. In this session, we discussed directions of business / design / technology together.
IoT toy as a catalyst
As a result of ideation, my team came up with the concept that IoT toy played and communicated with children when parents were busy. By recording children’s daily responses and sharing these with their parents, family members can understand children’s hidden feelings and preferences.
Evaluate Minimum Viable Product
While that was an awesome idea, I needed to consider the project period and budget constraints. I repeated the discussion with clients and directed to launch an App version as the first MVP. I regarded working mothers to rely on smartphones as a new habit and turn it into positive activities.
From that timing, I and two more graphic designers started to create paper prototypes and initial screen flows. The user of this App was both children and adults, so we designed interactions for both users. We used the insights from competitive analysis.
Interaction for Children
Interaction for Adults
Assured quality through the iterative scrum development process.
I expanded my contract with the client and my team proceeded to the development phase. I continuously opened a collaborative design studio and organized an iterative building / measuring / learning cycle.
Qualitative Interviews to improve the product
Quality of the product is decided by not the client but the user. Thus I gathered parents and conducted qualitative interviews at regular intervals. The challenging part was users sometimes said unexpected comments and required functions which were not in the project scope. In that case, I discussed the user comments in the collaborative studio together and prioritized desired functions in the unified list (namely product backlog).
Managed the scrum team and delivered the product without delay.
As a certified scrum master, I managed a velocity of sprint and delivered the final product as planned. I designed UI by myself but I was mostly directing two designers and four engineers during this phase. I visualized the progress of the team using scrum master’s tools such as product backlog, spring backlog, burndown charts.
The followings are core functions and screens of this service.
When parents are busy, this App plays with children and reveals children’s hidden feelings and preferences.
Parents don’t worry about showing unsafe contents.
Parents can see children’s responses and understand their feeling well even in their busy life.
Decided an experience roadmap for the client to keep proceeding.
Based on the first MVP which would create the bond between the mother and children, I decided a next plan to expand this service as a whole family-wide platform.
Directed the project by visualizing a creative process.
I involved in the project end to end from concept, prototype and evaluation. The biggest challenge in this project was some members such as client and engineer was not familiar with design process and collaboration with designer.
Therefore, it is important to visualize designer’s process and judge based on visualized content. Design methods and tools must be used for not only creation within internal designers but also communication between designers and stakeholders.