ScoutAsia is a new Financial Times and Nikkei corporate data and news service that provides context on more than 600,000 Asian companies across more than 20 countries in North Asia, South Asia and ASEAN. Combining data and news on public and private companies, as well as macro trends and bespoke reports, the service provides organisations with unrivalled regional business information. The business ambition is for the product to quickly become the most respected Asia-focused service of its kind on the market.
All information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of Financial Times and Nikkei.
To deliver a simplified and beautified data-visualisation tool that keeps customers informed and ahead of their competitors. It is aimed at a wide variety of users, including M&A bankers, corporate strategy teams, salespeople, compliance officers and is designed as a business tool that will save them both time and money.
We set out to build and sustain a design system followed by a visual language and foundational component library to support developers with documentation available to internal and external partners.
Team & Role
I joined this project in its early stages to co-direct the visual design by creating a design language and come up with a solid design system to bridge the gap between development and design. The team consisted of 1 Product Owner, 1 Product Manager, 1 UX Designer and 4 Full-stack developers and 1 Tester, and it was split in 2 locations: London and Tokyo.
The project began over a series of meetings to discuss roadmap assumptions, how success would be measured and business objectives. During the week, the UX team met with key stakeholders from London and Tokyo to explore:
- Customer Segments & Personas: Their demographics, backgrounds and motivations.
- Our Design Thinking process and tools to collaborate and work with Developers and Product owners.
Our UX Designer interviewed 11 senior team members to answer key questions:
- Who will use ScoutAsia?
- What they will use the tool for?
- What are the different use cases for this user?
After digesting the learnings from the senior team members interview, we identified the following key themes and differences for our personas:
- Comprehensive data
- Deep dive
- Task completion
- Impossible deadlines
- Timely explanations
- Compiling detail
Empathising with our end users
The team travelled to Tokyo, Japan in order to engage with team members from Nikkei. Both I and our UX Designer took the opportunity to facilitate 1:1 sessions with potential customers in Asia. Common patterns learned from the interviews provided strong rationale towards design choices on tools like the “Connections Map”, “Company Search” and “Targets List”.
A common usage scenario learned from the interviews was that most customers would likely be in a rush or commuting in a train most of the times while checking for relevant news about companies they follow and discover new companies mentioned in the news. They would feel more comfortable using a desktop to perform advanced tasks, like accessing a company’s connections map and a company’s market comparison chart.
Design, Test, Ideate
After establishing a strong understanding of the customer base, features and business objectives, we began to build the experience and the design process started. My personal deliverables were the Design Language followed by “Company Search” and “Targets List”. The iterations of the design concept can be found below.
Interviewing potential customers and data-scientists from our team while conducting competitive research on data-visualisation products helped us to organise complex data best practices. The learnings led us to our design concept, scenarios, and mockups.
Prioritizing System Parts
Working closely with our in-house development team, we set the goal for V1.0 of the design system to build the foundation by creating a compressive, scalable visual language and build atomic components most often reused and combined to make user experiences. Our emphasis in this process was to emphasize displays and data collection through normalization of form controls and standardize UX patterns and best practices.
ScoutAsia consolidates data from companies into one central location. It allows customers to:
- Visualise news from companies of interest
- Visualise complex connections map
- Save companies to a custom target list and receive news and notifications
- View and download standard reports and charts
The beta product was launched in Q1 2018 and is iterating through a series of interviews and usability testing with end-users in Asia.