UX/UI DESIGN - GAMIFICATION
Conceptualization and redesign of the existing
Grundfos learing platform called Ecademy, to make it continiously relevant, engaging and motivating for users.
The great digital advancements of the last couple of decades have placed us living in the Internet age where knowledge became a network. Taking advantage of digital technology trends and practices, such as gamification, user experience and eLearning, my ambition is to present a concept and solution that is featuring gaming elements in a professional learning setting, close to Grundfos’ business values and brand image.
Grundfos is a Danish pump manufacturer developing water and water related solutions. Being the leading business in the pump market, Grundfos has the authority to set the standards and the norms when it comes to digital involvement. Even with this, the company is challenged to shift their traditional marketing strategy and rethink their digital touchpoints with the external world. To fulfill these considerations, Grundfos has initiated a project of rethinking and redesigning their current learning platform known as Ecademy.
Concept Development, User Research, Interaction & Experience
Design, Prototyping, Testing
Adobe Creative Suite,
2018; refreshed 2020
Being connected 24/7 is a way of living for most of us and companies are constrained to adopt a strategy that allows for constant interaction. User have become more selective upon how and where they want to stay plugged-in, and this can present both a challenge and an opportunity to companies such as Grundfos, the pump industry giant, where I interned during the spring 2018 semester.
The challenge of my Bachelor project was to rethink and develop a new Grundfos Ecademy online training platform and make it continuously relevant, engaging and motivating for users.
The concept consists of a user experience centered platform that incorporates game dynamics such as point system, badges, notification, leaderboards and quiz. The main pillars of the concept are user experience and gamification. The solution targets to introduce eLearning to the wholesaler segment or counter personnel of hardware/plumbing shops (selling Grundfos products and services).
INITIAL RESEARCH AND OBSERVATION
Grundfos Ecademy is a free online learning platform with a lot of valuable content ready to be discover but is hidden under a long and complicated onboarding system. During initial observation several problems were identified:
The aesthetic feel of Grundfos Ecademy is outdated and does not reflect the forward thinking and innovative business view of the company
The platform lacks an attractive user interface design and does not conform to current user experience practices and lacks in gamification elements
From finding the learning platform, to onboarding and completing the courses, I see a great opportunity to take advantage of and solve the pain of difficualt access to free knowledge provided by Grundfos.
Ecademy is a digital training tool developed by Grundfos to match the needs of industry partners by offering them a selection of tailored online training. The aim of the platform is to keep users
updated upon the latest trends in the pump industry as well as offer Grundfos products related trainings.
These trainings come in various forms such as videos, presentations and in-depth articles, bundled in modules. After completing a module, the user is than capable to evaluate its knowledge within a quiz.
Prizes can be claimed after completing four modules that take shape under Grundfos merchandise such as keyrings, pens, usb sticks, hats, cups etc. and might lose their motivational value over time.
Accessing relevant content takes the user many unnecessary actions
Onboarding is inconvenient, involves a lot of steps and consumes a lot of time : ➞ Select country ➞ Select role ➞ Sign up ➞ Account activation ➞ Ecademy courses
Account creation is a marketing tool for the company and the user is left with no choice but to register for an account without fully understanding the benefits it carries
The interface is not inviting and for first-time users might not be intuitive how the platform works
The platform lacks a general overview (dashboard)
The rewarding is not motivating (Grundfos merchandise) and knowledge is not promoted as being the main gaining factor
Image: Grundfos Ecademy page screenshot. Retrieved April 20, 2020, from https://www.grundfos.com/ecademy.html
THE USER: WHOLESELER
For a wholesaler, selling pump solution might represent a small percentage of the daily activity, still it has to be capable of offering advice into pump selection and installation. When it comes down to human interaction, the wholesaler is the one to face real customers and give expertise.
The wholesaler is represented by two categories: big chains with over 400 shops and the small independent shops. Even with this, the activities of the counter personnel are diverse: assisting customers to find the right product, answering questions, staying in contact with suppliers and prepare quotes. In regard to problem solving, the wholesaler requires easy and fast access to technical information. The main medium this information is acquired is the supplier catalogue. With a limited technical knowledge, not many have a training course background. The top three interactions a wholesaler has with Grundfos are through visits from Grundfos representatives, staying in touch with technical support and having the products/pumps on display.
THE WHOLESELER PERSONA
Wholeseler persona profile
MINIMUM VIABLE SERVICE
Minimum Valuable Service model was designed to study the two opposing spectrums of the wholesaler group’s behaviour in relation to learning and Grundfos Ecademy. “Heroes are the stereotypes of extreme users”, and are the carriers of detailed concerns and struggles through user experience journeys. What makes the hero exciting to work with is that, this user is affected by issues that are outside the sphere of persona needs.
This project works with 2 heroes: the “newcomer” hero and the
“know-it-all” hero .
All extreme attitudes assigned to a hero are developed in the hero profile. In this I was brainstorming upon behavioral patterns, drawing assumptions on what the heroes might say, think and what possible actions might take.
MENTAL MODELS AND HERO QUEST
Mental Models and Hero quests provide a new level of understanding and empathy of their problem- solving process. With a greater awareness about the heroes, it was in my capabilities to use these learnings in co-designing the concept and solution from the heroes’ perspectives as well as originate valuable insights.
IDEATION AND CONCEPTUALIZATION
The new Ecademy concept gravitates around the experience users have before, during and after completing a learning process. The concept addresses and tries to solve the problem focusing on experience, engagement and motivation.
This project addresses user experience from the user’s point of view upon their feeling, reliance, preference, response to stimuli as well as behavioural actions before, during and after completing a learning journey.
Engagement involves users taking purposeful actions in the Ecademy learning platform time after time. Through a meaningful user journey, my objective was to increase habitual usage at each spin.
Motivation is the essential part of setting and attaining goals. Motivation comes from the inner desire of an individual influenced by factors that are personally fulfilling. Rewarding users can be in this case a smart tactic to use, to keep users motivated.
THE USER JOURNEY
The user journey is the simplified statement of the intricate thought process of the user looking to obtain training. Every user follows a different path and engages with the Grundfos brand in a unique way therefore the journey map presents also possible paths users might follow.
User journey for the wholesaler persona
Wireframe design of the 4 core pages of Ecademy
The concept tried to solve onboarding by introducing the trial version or guest view meaning that users have the opportunity to access and see every content and feature before making the decision to create a Grundfos account. Users get to learn about how the platform works, what benefits they get if they create a user account and are invited to discover the platform as guests.
The main business goal of growing the number of active digital users is met by the trial-strategy that aims to hook users in key decision making points – like saving progress after finishing a lesson.
GAMIFICATION AND GAME MECHANICS
Grundfos is a complex company and success is placed in applying the motivational techniques that make games engaging. Having used the Bunchball Game Mechanics frame I chose to direct my focus on points, badges, notifications, leaderboard and quiz. Finding the harmony between achievement, progress, competition, surprise and collection I aimed to create a valuable solution that is easy for the user to process and not overwhelming.
POINTS AND POINTING SYSTEM
Involving points in a non-game experience stimulates users into creating the feeling that they are always gaining something, winning.
My solution uses redeemable points, which are gathered inside Ecademy allowing for in-system exchange for prizes or donation.
RP points lay the roots for “virtual economy” and are connected with the already running Win and Earn programme of Grundfos.
If the rewards are seen unrealistic to obtain or feel insignificant, users might tap out already from the guest mode. That is the reason why Grundfos merchandise was not motivating for users.
Badges serve the role of visually representing accomplishment and are used to acknowledge finishing courses from specific themes.
Badges are also given when users accomplish something for the first-time. To keep a surprise element certain badges are “invisible” and not included in the list of achievable badges.
A great example would be the badge for donating points to Water2Life.
Notifications are used through email notifications when new courses become available or on-screen notifications to stimulate users to continue the activities they are doing. A good example is congratulating users when finishing a lesson or a course test promoting the progressive behavior.
Adding a quizzing module to the eLearning platform is one of the most crucial measures. The quiz or test, supports the validation of knowledge acquiring and is in charge of granting points for passing it. Depending on the size and complexity of the course, the test can have from 5 to 15 questions.
Besides, a feedback component will enable Grundfos to measure course efficiency.
Example of badges
Grundfos is a world renown company, owning a strong brand image imposing trust, respect and professionalism. Without deriving from the already prominent brand image I have opted to bring a modern twist to a traditional design by creating a balanced fusion between the flat design and corporatist design.
Nominal use of colors, simple elements, iconography and typography are generating an intuitive user interface. Flat design allowed me to be efficient and comforted me to promptly transmit information to the user while still invoking a visually-pleasing appearance.
On the other hand, the corporatist or professional design style is aesthetically appealing a formal impression. This style implies the usage of negative or white space, simple shapes and muted colors.
The newly redesigned learning platform features the Grundfos identity color palette.
The corporate blue in combination with different shades of the brand grey tones are consistent and generate a strong brand identity.
The typeface selection was made to fit the brand and after testing out the two Grundfos fonts.
I have chosen Grundfos The Sans V2 primarily featured with a bold weight and moderately with a regular weight.
This project features high-quality images that have in spotlight people and Grundfos products. Images are a major part of the design and were carefully selected to accommodate the theme of a the page. The header image changes accordingly but not for all pages avoiding distraction.
Monochrome icons have the purpose of clearly communicating with users. In my solution, I used outlined icons to facilitate the visual communication. The icons are globally recognisable or at least intuitive to identify.
The hero banner
Tab bar navigation
In essence the project studied how the hypothesis of rethinking and designing the Ecademy eLearning platform can be validated. With this aspiration on mind one main question and three supporting questions were developed to address the problem:
How can I use gamification to rethink and develop a new Grundfos Ecademy online training platform to make it continuously relevant, engaging and motivating?
With the purpose of answering and generating a thriving digital product and solution I applied theories and models revolving around user experience, user journey and gamification. The main question is answered as the totality of the following sub questions.
WHAT DEVICE WILL BEST SUPPORT ONLINE TRAINING?
As a result of the performed research and survey in the discovery phase, there was a tendency and longing to design a learning solution sustained by tablet devices. Becoming increasingly significant to accommodate tablet users when designing, the solution had to be tailored around a smaller resolution screen than desktop.
WHAT MOTIVATES PEOPLE TO USE ONLINE TRAINING?
The number one motivator is free knowledge. Motivation is fueled by factors that provoke the desire to be perpetually interested and engaged to study subjects of interest and relevance not only for the job requirements but also for personal development. In addition to knowledge sharing, the digital solution is supplied by extrinsic motivators such as rewards and prizes. Motivation also comes from the inner desire of one to compete with itself and become a better version of itself. Studying and applying incentives along the entire journey, users get to stay engaged with the platform and become recurrent utilisers. To boost motivation and create an ingenious learning experience on a market where Grundfos is the front runner and trend setter, gamification theories were debated.
WHAT KIND OF GAMIFICATION APPROACH WOULD BE RELEVANT FOR THE SOLUTION?
Gamification is present in our everyday life. Research around gamification has revealed a strong connection between user experience, motivation, engagement and game dynamics. These influence behavior and decision making therefore I featured points, badges, notifications and quizzes to favor continuous engagement and involvement with the eLearning platform.