XCM Solutions helps firms centralize tax, accounting, finance, and audit processes within a single platform for end-to-end, streamlined workflow management. The holistic view of all work-in-progress helps leading firms and tax departments balance workloads, proactively address bottlenecks before they become problems, and drive profitability.
With the primary persona being a CPA bogged down with multiple tasks and paperwork, the legacy system was seen as complex. The challenge was to redesign it for ease of use while integrating it seamlessly with the rest of XCM’s enterprise offerings.
User research • Website Strategy • Communication Strategy • Content Design • Content Writing • Information Architecture • Visual Communication Design Development Support
The primary persona was that of a CPA who reported to the ‘partner’ and did all the heavy lifting. She is usually overloaded with ‘tasks’ most of which pertain to client engagement, tax audits and the paperwork.
Pain-point: With multiple clients to handle, keeping track of various financial documents, deadlines, and regulations can be challenging, leading to potential errors or missed opportunities.
We were tasked with auditing and re-engineering the entire XCM suite of products. XCM needed a UX co-design team who could take ownership and whom they could rely on to ensure current and future applications were usable and consistent with the rest of their enterprise offerings.
They were also expanding on their product offerings, necessitating a few new product initiatives and also designing a scalable design system that could be extended by the development teams
After evaluating the current state of XCM’s products, UX Design Labs carefully selected a team with complementary skills to support XCM’s strengths in UX documentation, interaction design, interface design, and front-end development. The goal was to provide XCM with a dependable, long-term design partner.
Our team collaborated closely with product owners, developers, customer service teams, and management to ensure efficient decision-making and roadmap planning. We aimed to deliver designs ahead of development sprints and continuously worked towards internalizing the design function within XCM.
UX Design Labs initially took on all design tasks, while also building and mentoring an internal design team at XCM. We provided resource augmentation, recruitment support, and design training to help XCM effectively integrate design into their work culture as well as workflow.
The process was designed as a collaborative partnership to achieve XCM’s ambitious business goals. This approach allowed for a flexible engagement model where XCM could access any necessary skills from our team on an as-needed basis.
We established a collaborative design model that utilized the complementary skills from both teams. To ensure smooth engagement, we defined the rules and tools to be used throughout the process. Miro was used for discussions with management and product ownership on strategic decisions such as road mapping, processes, user stories, use cases, and tracking deliverables. For wireframing, prototyping, and visual design system creation, we utilized Figma and Sketch.
As this was a long-term partnership, the quality of the deliverables would be heavily dependent on our understanding of the domain. In XCM’s case, the domain was complex, and without proper UX documentation, things quickly became disorganized. To avoid this, we spent considerable time internalizing the business, domain, workflows, user needs, and pain points, which was the most challenging aspect of the engagement. Collaborative documentation was crucial to ensure a shared understanding and to support the long-term success of the partnership.
To measure progress and assess the effectiveness of our work, we conducted testing after each design sprint. Both the customer support team and actual users on the client side provided feedback, which was collected both quantitatively and qualitatively. This feedback helped us determine the impact of our design decisions and make any necessary adjustments. By constantly testing and evaluating, we were able to ensure that changes were made in an effective and efficient manner, striking the right balance between improvement and preservation of the user experience.
The design process was iterative and flexible, allowing for changes as necessary. At times, we had to accommodate requests from the support team for urgent client needs and address pressing UX issues. This unpredictability required us to remain adaptable and agile in our approach to ensure the best possible outcome.
The existing system design couldn’t express the complexity of the new UX paradigms or support certain new strategic shifts. UX Design Labs conducted research with internal stakeholders, to understand the product and current implementation. And also with users of the XCM products, to understand how people currently use the system and identify unrealized opportunities.
Through this research and a rigorous design process, we helped XCM develop a singular, broadly applicable design system that would help users more easily use and understand its products and provide a baseline from which XCM could more easily extend its offerings. This system helped in extending the new design paradigm through a modern, consistent, and extensible visual design system.
Hundreds of meeting notes, sketches, wireframes, prototypes, visual designs & design system elements were delivered on a tight schedule. However, the true value was in the deep understanding of the product, domains, markets, users, and the ability to think along with XCM to make critical decisions regarding product design and development.
UX Design Labs successfully established an efficient and reliable design process, leading to exceptional design outcomes. With our long-term partnership, the design team has become a key player in the delivery process, consistently meeting deadlines and maintaining high-quality standards.
As a result of our resource augmentation efforts, we were able to identify talented UX designers who were well-suited for XCM’s product, assist in their recruitment, and provide training to integrate them into the product and design process. This helped XCM gradually internalize UX and decrease their reliance on external support.
XCM Solutions’ engagement with UX Design Labs demonstrates the power of user-centric design in transforming complex systems. Through a long-term, flexible, and innovative partnership, a legacy product was re-engineered to be extremely user-friendly and a joy to use.
The collaboration not only exceeded expectations in terms of design and schedule but also empowered XCM to grow internally and embrace user experience design as a core part of their development process. It’s a testament to how design thinking can lead to business success.