New UI/UX design helped Vinnova’s users understand their data
Sweden’s innovation agency, Vinnova, is striving to become a 100% data-driven organization. Its mission is to make Sweden an innovation force to be reckoned with in a sustainable world. This requires strategic, data-based work. Enfo helped Vinnova innovate its own way of using and making the most of this treasure trove of information, while also making the data accessible.
Enfo and Vinnova’s joint journey towards improved user experience started in 2019 with the goal of focusing on user-friendliness (UI/UX) and thereby creating a better understanding of Vinnova’s data.
A treasure trove of information – that wasn’t being fully used
Vinnova has an incredible amount of information that can be seen from many different perspectives. Depending on one’s perceptions, one can view the information in different ways. But this requires that the organization’s employees be aware of what they can access, and how they can use this data to make better and more data-driven decisions.
“We have a huge treasure trove of information that some people in the organization scarcely know anything about. We wanted to work with Enfo to change that,” says Magdalena Jenkinson, senior operational development manager at Vinnova.
Vinnova and Enfo have been collaborating for over 10 years, with a focus on strengthening the organization’s data-driven approach to operations. Over time, the project team has developed various analyses and tools that allowed them to see how information was actually being used within the organization. Thanks to this, Vinnova was able to find out that some employees were frequent users, while others barely used the agency’s information at all. This was potentially a major loss, because the data actually existed, and could improve strategically important decisions.
For a public authority with extremely competent employees who also have a wealth of information on which to base their decisions, this was not an optimal situation.
Despite regular training sessions, data use did not increase at the rate desired by Vinnova. It was thus decided to carry out an analysis from the user perspective.
“We wanted to understand why data use didn’t increase, despite training efforts and support. Together with Enfo, we conducted surveys among all our users and soon realized that the threshold was too high with the current solution. We needed a modern and intuitive tool with which everyone can and wants to work,” says Magdalena Jenkinson.
We needed a modern and intuitive tool with which everyone can and wants to work.”
Improved user experience yields maximum business value
To help Vinnova use their data to their full potential, Enfo conducted a substantial Service Design analysis of the existing visualization solution. Service Design is a methodology in which one investigates and finds out how the threshold can be lowered so that more people start using a given body of information.
The first phase of this project was to create a better user experience (UX) so that more and more people found their way to the data gold mine. With adjustments such as easy-to-view grid layouts, date stamps, simplified navigation, and headings, more users can absorb and understand the information on their screen. This means that more people also use the information.
“When users ask themselves what figures they’re looking at, that’s a clear indication that we’ve lost user-friendliness. We changed that by putting the user at the center of the experience,” says Giovanna Eccher, designer at Enfo.
These may sound like simple adjustments, but often it is the sum of all of the little details that creates a great user experience. And that was exactly the experience Enfo and Vinnova were looking for in this project. By making it for viewers to look at, understand and structure the data, the threshold has been lowered and thus more and more of Vinnova’s employees have started to find their way into the applications. Vinnova now receives far fewer questions about its training efforts.
Data visualization helps employees make better decisions
Vinnova’s vision of a 100% data-driven organization is now largely a reality. All employees can now make strategic, data-based decisions. By focusing on the user, the visualization tool has been possible to truly make the most of all of the agency’s data benefits. By developing common definitions and an extraordinary user experience, Vinnova has not only increased the use of its tools and information, but also made the most of the business value of its gold mine. Data is a huge force – but only if we use it!
But the journey continues for Vinnova and Enfo, with the aim of creating an even more modern and user-friendly interface – a solution that creates a new and positive experience for the user - every single day.
“We want to create a Netflix-like experience for Vinnova employees, where they start and end the day with the application. We’ve created a new intuitive interface (UI/UX) so they won’t need training or support in the future. Everything will be self-explanatory,” continues Michael Sullivan.
Enfo’s expertise in Service Design and UI/UX has created a secure and scalable solution that leaves Vinnova plenty of room to grow. New users are constantly discovering the information, and the organization has thus essentially become 100% data-driven.
“Enfo has helped us to turn our gaze from the content to the user. After all, the real business value lies in the use of our data. Enfo’s design experts have inspired and helped us take small steps throughout the entire journey,” concludes Magdalena Jenkinson.
Magdalena’s three tips for how to put the user in focus!
- Dare to ask questions! Don’t guess – instead, ask the user what currently works well or less well. It’s what the user says that matters – not your assumptions.
- Bring the right people to work! Have a dedicated work or reference group of users from the start. Test design ideas and sprints on this group, in order to get feedback to help you along in the next sprint. Don’t settle for content – test the user experience as well.
- Use best practices! Lots of people are incredibly good at creating an extraordinary user experience. Take a look at what the best of them are doing, and implement best practices in your project. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
Vinnova is Sweden’s innovation agency. Its mission is to increase Sweden’s innovation capacity and contribute to sustainable growth.
With just over 200 experts, Vinnova stimulates collaborations that combine knowledge and expertise from various sources and in which organizations can learn from each other. Vinnova’s support gives companies and organizations the opportunity to experiment and test new ideas before they become profitable. Every year Vinnova invests approximately SEK 3 billion in research and innovation.