Guiding our clients through operational and strategic transformation is one of our key pillars at Beyond. Ordinarily, our Advisory projects take the form of deep diving into code or offering advice about skills and development resources to drive innovation and performance. However, sometimes a company approaches us with projects which touch upon elements which could fundamentally alter their brand identity and their relationship with users – this is where the design team step in.
When Justtip, an exciting start-up looking to revolutionise the way front-of-house staff receive gratuities, asked us how to optimise their user interface we looked at the entire user journey to ensure we would enhance each customer touchpoint to increase client conversion, retention and, most importantly for the brand's mission, empower and reward the performance of front of house teams fairly.
Alongside reviews of the back-end systems, our design team undertook an examination of the user experience of the platform, competitor analysis, and brand voice applications, whilst simultaneously exploring new visual directions and intuitive UI changes. Deploying our skillsets of user research, service design and digital platform UI, we were able to advise the brand on how best to differentiate from the market, whilst maintaining its own authentic identity.
The first step in this project, and most holistic design processes, was user research. We needed to find out who would be using this type of platform, how often they would log in and where and when they were most likely to engage with technology during their workday. We also wanted to know how their existing customers came to become users of the platform, what attracted them to the brand and what made them sign up. This was key to understanding the strengths of the brand that they had already built.
Our user research showed that though front-of-house team members embraced technology, and ultimately saw it as a force for good in the food and beverage service industry, they were wary of its potential interference with customer and colleague interactions. Through experience mapping and specific user journeys, we were able to ascertain where key technology touchpoints were, and where our users were going to be time-poor or under pressure. These findings allowed us to ensure that any user interfaces were as ‘light-touch’ as possible, making the sign-in process quick and seamless. It also became clear that two key users of the platform would be using it in different ways, the managers, and the team and, to add complexity, often these roles could be interchangeable, simultaneous or for multiple employers at a time. All of this needed to be considered when putting together our recommendations.
To attract new users, premises, or groups – it was imperative that the Sign-Up process empowered the user to ‘self-serve’ as much as they were comfortable with, whilst offering the opportunity to interact with the team wherever required, aiming to prevent any drop-off during the onboarding process. We also recommended that anyone representing a larger group (i.e. hotel chain, restaurant group) were able to have a consultation or provided a bespoke model – leading to a sign-up page that had three clear personas, addressing each of their needs.
The branding exercise built upon these actions as well as general sentiment towards tipping, online banking, and technology adoption more widely. We undertook marketplace exploration to provide comprehensive competitor analysis, to best create a visual direction that would hold the brand stand out from the pack. Our in-house UI designers provided recommendations for a wide branding refresh to energize the look and feel of the entire experience. Going as far as to provide the granularity of how font weights, illustration types and colour palette tweaks can dramatically change the perception of a brand and its processes. We needed to create a brand experience that was equal parts accessible, inclusive, and trustworthy – the latter being crucial for a brand handling and distributing users' money.
This also then fed into the brand voice – the senior leadership of Justtip were so passionate about their mission and the service industry we made it a priority to have this shape exactly how they spoke to their customer base. We discussed at length their vision for the brand, their key competitors and which brands they admired in the space, and more broadly. Building on this vision we provided recommendations for brand voice copy that emulated the unapologetic confidence of Apple, the reassurance of Revolut and the knowing wink of Oatly. Combined we suggested a tone which evoked a chat with a colleague, or a friend you’d be willing to trust with your finances.
Overall, the team at Justtip had a clear mission, and it was this that informed our recommendations at every stage. Our Advisory offering aims to support any client with challenges they face while respecting their values, mission, and goals. We did not set out to rewrite the DNA of such a promising start-up, but to leverage our 20 years of experience in travel and hospitality to help the strengths of the brand stand up to the might of some competitors and to, most importantly perhaps, resonate with the underrepresented workforce that Justtip so passionately seek to serve.