Owning 11 of the largest radio stations in New Zealand, Mediaworks sells and broadcasts thousands of advertisements across the country every day.

Drive Software, creators of Mediaworks’ advertisement booking software, came to us for user experience consultancy. The primary software used by staff to organise and book radio advert “spots” is an intricate solution that handles large amounts of data. While the program provided necessary intricate functionality, it lacked in some essential UX elements. The complex enterprise web app was in dire need of a refreshed look and a more intuitive design.

For the Mediaworks project, our primary goal was to locate and solve the real problems users were facing, without losing the essence of their familiar utility. This was a real challenge because enterprise users tend not to like abrupt change as often it can inhibit their productivity rather than encourage it.

After extensive user tests and discussions with staff throughout the design process, we delivered a highly thought out design that users would enjoy. The feedback from sales staff on final designs was excellent; efficiency and ease of use are now what Drive Radio is known for.

Keeping enterprise users happy

When an application is so critical to a business process, precautions need to be taken when updating the software’s look and feel. Without careful analysis and considerate design, employees can be left confused and wishing they could simply have their old system back. So, our approach when taking on the Drive Radio project for Mediaworks was to ensure that any proposed improvements would only enhance the existing system.

Paper prototypes

Paper prototypes allow for user feedback before final designs are signed off

Improved UX

Observing user behaviour can reveal painpoints that users might be overlooking

To achieve this, we kept the Mediaworks staff engaged through the entire process. From the beginning, we organized regular user tests with a variety of diverse users. We sat down with staff and observed their habits with the existing solution to determine possible pain points. After which, rough ideas on improvements were suggested to gauge user feedback. In following sessions, staff were presented with paper wireframes and working prototypes of the new experience. This allowed us to receive precise feedback in order to appropriately tailor the application before finalising the solution. By receiving user opinions throughout, we are able to alter the initial designs to suit as many different use cases as possible.

Old solution and initial design

Simplifying a complex application

Enterprise applications are rarely simple, often requiring a lot of custom functionality. With so many features and options, users can become overwhelmed and confused. In our first user tests we came across some staff who, despite using the software every day, were unable to remember how they completed certain tasks. This was primarily down to discoverability and excessive methods of reaching a single goal.

Simplifying complex applications

Our first priority was to streamline the main tasks of the application by taking what was once multiple pages of separate tools, and creating a single page with inline actions so that users could see the direct result of their changes. Reducing navigation of pages reduced confusion and highly simplified the primary tasks of Drive Radio.

Eliminate reliance on old software

A custom selector tool allowed for quick spot manipulation staff greatly required

Improved UX

A single-line search box atop the home page made finding contracts more intuitive

We also introduced new user-friendly elements to lessen previously difficult and tedious tasks. In user tests we observed tedious manual duplication of data, and so we introduced a selector tool to copy, paste, and fill entire blocks of spots. Drawing on inspiration from existing solutions, and fully understanding the goals and frustrations of staff, helped us craft custom interfaces that would increase productivity and dramatically reduce aggravation with the product.

Final solution

The Drive Radio project started as a simple UX evaluation of just three existing pages. Due to the overwhelming support from users, the project was extended to an overhaul of the entire application. Page by page the experience and design of the app improved. Though the solution is not yet live, demonstrations presented to sales staff left them requesting the completed application as soon as possible. Having to use the software every day, users are very excited to see all the ways they can achieve previously difficult tasks with ease.