Improved user experience delivered for BC Hydro customers and employees
BC Hydro is a provincial crown corporation with a mandate to generate, purchase, distribute and sell electricity. Aalto Interactive’s UX Director was engaged as a UX advisor to help create a user experience platform for the organization including standards, guidelines and governance planning. The platform would be used to guide the design of the MyHydro customer portal on bchydro.com. MyHydro would deliver a range of self-serve tools to allow users to manage their accounts, billing, and communications preferences, track their energy consumption via smart meter data and engage in conservation efforts. The user experience would be tailored to the end user’s needs, from residential to business customers.
The challenge was to promote and incorporate the new user experience platform into the the BC Hydro corporate culture and to put new standards into practice for the MyHydro project. Several business units participated in the MyHydro project, and their diverse business goals needed to be addressed and balanced to gain their trust and approval. In addition, we needed to ensure that standards and guidelines were clearly communicated across the alliance of vendors that were contributing project management, development, UX and visual design services to the project.
Discover and Devise
Gap analysis: Existing user experience resources were evaluated to determine what the organization was doing well and where improvements could be made. It was determined that while BC Hydro’s customer research program was excellent they needed a way to share research and provide access to UX methodologies and guidelines to deliver a consistent user experience across business units.
UX standards and guidelines: Collaborating with a co-UX advisor and BC Hydro staff, principles and guidelines were written and posted on a centralized extranet. These provided a foundation to help project managers plan projects and brief vendors. The UX principles armed them with the knowledge to better evaluate design deliverables.
Persona development: Customer research was consolidated into a series of personas that could be referred to throughout the MyHydro project and beyond. Each persona described unique characteristics, goals, needs and tasks alongside business goals with user experience metrics to track success. Personas were available in PowerPoint format and were printed as posters to ensure that they would be easy to access.
UX platform implementation:
MyHydro customer portal: The customer portal project put the UX platform into action. As part of a small advisory panel, contributions to the project included:
- Coordinating and evaluating high level design deliverables including information architecture, wireframes, copywriting and visual design
- Liaising with key project stakeholders to gain approvals
- Developing user flows
- Designing and iterating on detailed wireframes for online tools
- Conducting user experience acceptance testing
- Coordinating usability testing
Theft analytics software usability enhancements and interface design: After the MyHydro project launched Aalto Interactive’s UX Director was engaged to work on the theft analytics solution, an extension of the smart meter program. BC Hydro was customizing a white label software application to enable staff to use energy consumption analytics to identify and investigate energy theft. Working on the foundation set by the UX standards & guidelines, she developed user profiles, recommended usability enhancements and designed interfaces to deliver the custom functionality and help staff meet their efficiency targets.
The BC Hydro UX platform has been put into action on both external and internal projects and today they have a foundation to provide a consistent, best practice user experience to their customers across digital channels.
“Roanna [UX Director, Aalto Interactive] was a great team player on our [MyHydro] Customer Portal project. She brought great ideas to ensure the customer experience was the best it could be, while nicely blending business and IT requirements. I would happy to hire Roanna again in the future!”
Mike Wenzlaff, Manager, MyHydro, Programs and Projects [Customer Care] at BC Hydro
“I worked with Roanna [UX Director, Aalto Interactive] as she was our key UX contact for the development of the Energy Visualization Portlet as part of the [MyHydro] Customer Portal Project. She's fantastic and provided strong UX needs for us with expert advice and recommendations. Good attention to details and a great overall sense of the whole UX flow. She understands the business objectives and is able to balance the IT limitations. Highly skilled and due to her various attributes, I extended her on my project even when the Customer Portal Project ended.”
Marie Wong, Business Transformation Lead & IT Project Manager at BC Hydro