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BBC iStats

Duration: 6 months | Role: UX Architect / Researcher


BBC iStats is the core analytics software powering data driven decision making for the most senior management levels of the corporation. Built using data fed through from ComScore’s Dax product, iStats works as a high level aggregator of data that tells an up-to-the-minute story of web performance. Designed by an external design agency, my role as UX architect was to understand the user goals and major pain points of the existing software

My Role - UX Architect / Researcher

My role within the project of UX Architect was mainly to act as a design researcher. This requiring me to understand the major pain points of the users (most of these being at a very senior level within the BBC) and by understanding their needs from data I was able gather requirements for future improvements. This user knowledge would heavily influence prioritisation of development stories for Agile sprints conducted by both the internal development team as well as the development teams within the software supplier, ComScore.

This user knowledge would come in the form of a document deliverable, presented personally to both teams. This documentation (which contained personas, user journeys, high level recommendations) formed the basis of a design brief provided to an external design agency and external development partner.

Once the agency had provided stimulus from each development sprint, I was able to test these with internal users as well as project sponsors. Findings were then presented back within a usability report.

Understanding The Needs Of The Users

To come with a suitable solution, we had to find out what problems users were having with the initial Dax software and what data they required out of this. Everyone using this software used this as part of his or her roles; therefore a deeper understanding of their role was needed to understand where analytics formed part of this process. Over 30 one-to-one interviews were conducted over 4 weeks around the country using a standard script I had worked on with the team. Once this data had been collated and analysed, I was able to build high-level personas that described these patterns in user types. This was extremely useful for the BBC and ComScore teams to visualise the user types having the most problems but also to use a persona as core user type to drive development prioritisation within the Agile development process.

Usability Evaluation

Once we were able to see all the pain points with the software, I was able to map both the severity and the (assumed) difficulty fix. When combining this with the previous persona work, this process would also help to drive development prioritisation as new features are being deployed monthly. It also helped both teams accept where there was problems with someone independent looking into both user base and usability of the application itself.

Presenting Research Findings

After a few months worth of work, I had the opportunity to present my findings to some of the wider team. Some being based in London others within the USA and Holland. This was part of the process where I would essentially hand over to a fantastic design agency to come up with potential solutions to some of the deeper-rooted problems I found. With any documentations, I was mindful of the fact that if I had not been able to effectively tell the story I had seen any major points found would have been missed. Therefore, I carefully crafted a single 12 page PDF document created in Illustrator that visually told the story of my findings.