Making human-centered design part of Boingo’s corporate DNA
The challengeAfter Boingo’s Director of Product Development, David Elgas, took Cooper Professional Education’s UX Boot Camp, he applied what he learned to an important initiative: redesigning Boingo’s account maintenance portal. As a result, the customer support team saw a 40% reduction in calls. Product executives wanted to share these successful practices more broadly and equip the product team — product managers, engineers, and designers — with the same language and methods in order to truly integrate human-centered design across their organization.
The outcomeBoingo brought in Cooper Professional Education to teach these best practices. Attendees of the three-day User Experience Design course were given the tools to build a product backed by real-world user needs. They learned to apply the right amount of structure to ideation and keep their work grounded in research-backed personas and scenarios. The course connected the dots between these design tools and how to actually translate them into meaningful product improvements and features.
Overview of the project
Boingo Wireless is a leading Wi-Fi provider and the largest indoor Distributed Antenna System (DAS) cellular provider in the United States. The company has brought Internet connectivity to airports, stadiums, military bases, multi-family housing and campuses since 2001.
In our User Experience Design course, coaches brought team members of various roles through every step of the human-centered design process. Through a class project, participants learned how to extract impactful insights from user research, create effective and actionable personas and scenarios, and meaningfully translate it all into real product features.
The training showed participants how powerful and fruitful it can be to engage a cross-functional team of product managers, engineers, and designers in collaboration. Through a simulated class project, participants were given a safe space to experiment, ask questions, and work together in productive new ways.
“It gives you guided steps to think about and build a product that is backed by real-world needs, rather than just what the product owner or subject matter expert thinks is the need.”
With new tools and perspectives, the Boingo Wireless team has begun to integrate these practices in ways both big and small. There has been a valuable push for doing research earlier and before diving into design, and references to personas have increased. The team creates concepts to be tested on an ongoing basis, incorporating the principle of frequent prototyping and iteration.
Most significantly, exposing developers to a new problem-solving approach sparked greater creativity. Exercises throughout the course gave individuals hands-on practice with contributing new ideas in a nonjudgmental environment — allowing them to focus on creating something novel with less pressure and risk than they were accustomed to. Now that the entire team has shared this experience, next year’s roadmap includes workshops that will leverage the tools and principles of human-centered design, helping the adoption of this new practice to take root.
“The course concepts and theory were super interesting and invaluable to my team. It will impact the way we work going forward.”
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