Since our inception ThoughtSpot has been focused on creating a more fact-driven world by bringing the power of search and AI-driven analytics to every business professional, regardless of their analytics skill level. With ThoughtSpot, anyone can find insights that help them make better decisions.
But the nature of decision making continues to change. Now, more than ever, decisions are made on the go. To help business people find the insights they need whenever and wherever they make decisions, we’ve launched ThoughtSpot for iOS and Android.
Here's a case study of what it took to pull this off.
Business users make a lot of decisions and need data to back them up. In today’s world, the time it takes to go to a desktop is too much. If they could pull their phone up and look at the important KPIs in seconds, they’ll be empowered to drive their business forward from anywhere.
User Persona & Interviews
We conducted customer and market research to drive our planning phase. The key insights defined the launch version of the product.
There are mainly 2 user personas we wanted to target:
- Business Executives who are on the go and need their analytics to go with them
- Analysts who enable the business users
After understanding their actions, feelings, pain points, and desired outcomes we went ahead to write the user stories.
- Business users don’t always have the option to use their laptops since they are always on the go, and prefer KPIs to be available on the phone.
- Business managers would love the convenience of mobile to answer a quick question or know right away when something changes, like the inventory getting low.
- For field sales, being able to pull out data about a customer’s usage during a meeting would give them a lot more credibility and make arguments more compelling.
- Analysts would love mobile friendly dashboards, building something insightful that their executives would love.
Security: A convenient way to be able to open the app and get through the firewall is critical to a mobile app’s success. The most secure way of doing this is deployments through MDM/MAM solutions like Microsoft Intune, Mobile Iron, Airwatch, etc. Building and maintaining support for all these different deployment solutions is a challenge.
Complexity: While BI tool adoption is low, mobile BI adoption for other BI tools is even worse. It seems that the low adoption has to do with trying to do too much on mobile. We need to make the interactions extremely simple.
Our high level goal was to allow quick and easy access to key information and to increase the user adoption and engagement by providing addicting value in the product.
We checked other apps and platforms with similar functionality for insights into common patterns to understand the user's mental model.
Once the main research phase was completed, we used all of the collected data to build an information architecture.
High fidelity wireframes were made to resolve the existing problems.
As we finalized the wireframes and workflows for the core features, we started working on the visual side of the project.
Onboarding User Experience
First Time Experience: We designed for the first time experience - quick onboarding defining what users should do first and thus keeping them engaged. We wanted to encourage the users to investigate the available options and find what’s of interest to them.
Email Onboarding: We noticed a lot of drop offs from Server URLs during login, so we started gathering email IDs during login so we could send the corresponding Server URL back to user’s device and, if required, reach out to them.
Home Pinboard Setup: We help users set up their home pinboard the first time they login. Users can choose their home pinboard from the list of pinboards in the organisation, or craft one just for themselves by pinning visualisations to the home pinboard.
One-Tap Access Home Pinboard: The Home pinboard acts like a command centre for the most important data. It’s just a tap away. It’s the first thing that users will see when they open the app. Now, getting answers to business is made as fast and easy as checking stock prices or the weather.
Lightning-fast charts: Interactive, lightning-fast charts make data come to life. Users can quickly swipe across different data points of the chart and view the tooltip for details. Everyone from a CEO tracking KPIs to a sales rep on the road analyzing performance data can get the answers they need in seconds.
Quick Share: The moment someone sees something, they can share it with their colleagues. ThoughtSpot Mobile is integrated with the native share sheet on iOS and Android, so users can securely post to Email, Slack, Microsoft Teams, or any other app that supports sharing. ThoughtSpot shares both a link to the chart and an image of it so teammates can quickly act on the insight.
Pinboard Filters: Pinboard filters are an incredibly powerful feature. They allow the same pinboard to give a 50,000-foot view of the whole company to an executive while simultaneously giving a procurement or customer support manager the granular view of a specific product or account they need to do their job. Leaders can create pinboards with the KPIs and charts that matter for the company and add filters for regions, sub-regions, customers, or individual SKUs that the front line team are focused on.
Favorites: With so many insights created on the fly, users need a way to keep track of what matters most to them. Users can find all their favorite pinboards and Answers in one place, and can add or remove items from this list as needed.
Drill Down: In order to make mobile truly self service for business users, we wanted business users to be able to ask all the basic questions they have for their data. Users can tap on any data point, view the tool tip, drill down and select the column they want to drill down on. For extensibility, users can re-trigger the drill functionality and continue drilling down.
Offline Access: The home pinboard is available whether or not users have data connectivity. The cached data is encrypted and secure. When the data is available offline, that means slow data speeds won’t slow down the user. Answers will come in an instant, regardless of connection speed.
Seamless Authentication: ThoughtSpot Mobile supports SSO authentication to allow users to securely log in.
MDM support: ThoughtSpot Mobile works with all major Mobile Device Management (MDM) platforms to enable IT-ops to enforce data security policies.
To validate the use cases and the improvements, we conducted multiple rounds of user testing with dozens of participants on functional prototypes. We recorded their responses and compared the data. With each round of testing, there were aspects that worked perfectly and those that needed iterating. We took each nugget of information, and modified the design to what it is currently.
The goal of the study was to receive feedback from customers on overall experience of the app in order to improvise existing app features and functionalities. We wanted to determine the efficiency of the design and usability within working user flows of the app, identify potential anomalies in information architecture, identify pain points, and establish ease of user navigation.
The study helped us answer questions like:
- Is the user able to understand the concept of home pinboard and complete the in-boarding tasks? (i.e. to setup home pinboard by choosing existing pinboard or creating new pinboard by pinning items to it) without challenges
- Is the user able to discover and effectively use pinboards, charts, answers, favourite features, etc.?
- Is the user able to interact with filters without any known UX problems?
We derived the following insights from moderated user studies
- Users wanted to see a preview before setting up any pinboard as their home pinboard. It would be better to link the mobile experience to web such that users could create the pinboard on the web platform and assign as their home pinboard for mobile
- Users wanted to change the chart types, toggle between table and chart and also add annotations
We saw our customers do amazing work to transform their businesses with the app.
For example, a subsidiary of a major retailer uses ThoughtSpot Mobile to enable their Market Asset Protection Managers (MAPMs) to discover the root causes of and minimize possible shrinkage. MAPMs regularly tour their assigned stores to investigate shrinkage, pulling up pinboards with a store filter to see information about individual stores. Mobile analytics empower them to get answers to pertinent questions in the moment for the first time.
With the ability to update data as often as hourly, such as during special one-day sales, one MAPM was able to notice that the greeters in front of the stores were scanning too many items that had not been rung up by the cashiers and helped correct the issue.
"What we're really finding with this app, is we have more productivity and job satisfaction for our Retail Marketing Associates"
Vice President, Retail Marketing and Operating
Haggar Clothing Co.