3-day online hackathon (team of 8)
Pitch Presentation Design + Delivery
Figma, Zeplin, Google Docs
VirtuOffice is intended as a virtual workplace game that brings the in-office experience to employees' homes. The POC was created during an April 2020 hackathon hosted by BrainStation in partnership with Microsoft (Canada), in which the design challenge was to improve the experience of working from home.
The hackathon took place online and was inspired by the mass migration to remote work, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
I completed this project in collaboration with 2 fellow Designers, 3 Developers and 2 Data Scientists (LinkedIn profiles provided at the end of the page).
Prompted with the broader design challenge to improve WFH, our team began by brainstorming problems we have personally experienced while working remotely, and also imagined ourselves in the shoes of teleworkers during the pandemic to identify challenges they might be facing.
At first, we landed on the idea of remote onboarding experiences and its impact on new hires' abilities to adjust to their new jobs and build meaningful work relationships. However, after researching this space further, we came across a statistic that prompted us to shift our scope beyond just onboarding:
Over 50% of teleworkers feel disconnected from their on-site counterparts.
(Grenny & Maxfield, 2017)
This sense of disconnectedness occurs mainly after experiencing sustained feelings of missing out on key workplace socialization opportunities (Smith, 2020). Moreover, workplace exclusion brings about steep business costs, as it correlates significantly with counterproductive work behaviours resulting in employee turnover and productivity loss (Hitlan & Noel, 2009).
“How might we make it easier for remote workers to socialize with their colleagues and leaders so that they can feel more strongly integrated within their employer's culture?”
"A game that brings the in-office experience home"
To align ourselves on what the game would look like, we gathered inspiration from games that foster(ed) the sense of community we wanted to create.
While I will only dive deeper into how the Design team collaborated, I have provided links to my teammates' Development and Data Science processes at the end of this case study.
🔹Management of the POC's scope by acting as the decision-maker
🔹Design of the game's floorplan on Figma by collecting vector images online and creating my own
🔹Preparation and delivery of a 3-minute pitch presentation as well as a 10-slide written submission
ROLES OF MY CO-DESIGNERS:
🔸Design of the game's avatars and clickable elements (e.g., heads-up displays, navigation, pop-up windows)
🔸Preparation of the designs for development handover using Zeplin
🔸Creation the game's logo and wordmark
🔸Mockup of a marketing website for the product suite (i.e., the game and the analytics dashboard)
What exacerbated the difficulty above was the fact that we did not know how to best utilize our data scientists and developers during the initial steps of the process, which were driven mostly by design. While we were effective in setting up the prototyping work in such a way that the developers could start coding before they received the final designs from us, it was challenging to integrate the data scientists as they were accustomed to being given a dataset to work with. It was only at the end of the hackathon, when I saw how another team had performed text analytics on social media posts to generate primary research, that I realized how we could have more tactfully involved our data scientists in the initial research phase.
I think everything I described above could have been alleviated, to at least some extent, if the designers had taken 30-60 minutes at the beginning of the hackathon to educate the rest of the team on the design process. I learned during my experience as an organizational change management (OCM) consultant that delivering an OCM kickoff session to the broader project team was always helpful in educating people about the work we (the OCM team) were setting out to do. Delivering a UX design kickoff at the onset might have helped the non-designers to offer ideas on how we could organize our work and tell us where they can see themselves contributing at each step.