Introduction

An extensive partnership between product and digital marketing during the Dell EMC merger restructured the way we approached our users. One of the things our researchers focused on was the idea that many users know their business problem well, but have only the vaguest notion of how to solve it. We needed to design a comparison matrix that would allow users to rapidly identify their core challenges and available options at a glance, share their findings, and quickly navigate to potential solutions. The design also had to remain flexible enough to be componentized into our AEM-based design system.

My Role:

I acted as the lead researcher and interaction designer on this project.

As a partnership between product marketing and the digital marketing CRUX unit, building out our compare grid was a massively iterative process. We designed mobile first, rapidly sketching our way through about a dozen scenarios an paper or in XD. The top candidates were then produced as interactive wireframes in ProtoPie:

  • Variant B: Hybrid design with native mobile app inspired elements
  • Variant C: Closest to a native mobile app design, utilizing an action sheet
  • Variant D: Essentially a carousel slider, included based on a stakeholder request

Research on this project was a collaboration between our product marketing team and the digital marking CRUX unit. Not everything was rainbows and puppies either, as both groups started out with a very different idea of where business goals and user value might intersect.

After many weeks of going back and forth we put three mobile variants in stakeholders and users hands and quickly chose a direction as a result.  The desktop edition of the grid was a progressive enhancement from mobile, despite a heavy bias towards desktop browsing when users research major enterprise purchases. While initial analytics of the new tool suggested a mixed result, adoption a year out has been excellent. Recent System Usability Scale (SUS) measurements indicate that users who discover the compare grid have scores a full 10 points higher than those who do not when evaluating products for purchase.

The user journey itself is in the midst of a major rework as we continue to harmonize Dell, Dell EMC, and Dell Technologies on a single design system. The bones of the compare table, however, remain an important part of both the subcategory and family level product discovery experience.

The Work

As of 2019, Dell Technologies has launched a major visual update to its designs. The screenshots below are archival and represent a previous generation’s of art direction. There is no longer a live example of this work, though one can still see its influence on our visualization of the customer journey.