CONTExt AND BRIEF
Family breakdown can be a stressful time and beyond the traditional law courts there are different options for resolving family law issues. This is known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). 'Mediation' is one such alternative and offers a dignified approach to out-of-court divorce and /or separation.
Currently, there are a limited number of dedicated Mediation firms in England, that offer the entire end-to-end process of Mediation for separating couples, online.
Holistic Family Mediation is a newly formed business spearheaded by Sushma Kotecha, former Divorce Lawyer of 25 years. Backed by independent investors, Sushma was keen to offer:
- a 'holistic' service that addresses the couples’ well-being needs as well as mediation
- a website built on user-centred design principles and closed loop communications
- a process that is clearly outlined, open and transparent
Timeline | 12 weeks
Target Device | Desktop & Mobile
Project Goals | Service design. Website design. Branding. Process automation.
- End-To-End Customer Journey Mapping
- Site Design & Information Architecture
- User-Centred Design of Service
- Automated Emails - Content & Design
Tools | Invision, Miro, Trello, Wix, Canva
The Team |
- Business Advisor (Mediation Councillor)
- Project Manager
- Mediator (Founder)
- Me, leading design efforts
- Dev Support (Wix)
Target Market | A middle to high demographic with household income with a minimum of £50,000 and minimum net assets of £250,000. Target age group 30 to 55 years.
Rooted in ‘Design Thinking’, I began with 'empathy' front of mind. I needed to Learn, Define and Ideate .
For this client iterations were iterations of lo-fidelity sketches and flow maps. The final two stages encompassed Development and Testing
First I needed to understand the service offering proposed, any assumptions, current user pain-points and insights.
The PM helped me understand the stakeholders vision for the success of the project and their perspective on what steps clients would need to take to be serviced by Holistic Family Mediation.
We analysed competitors based on value proposition, strengths, weakness, pricing and any other influencing factor. This helped us identify potential leading edges.
Qualitative User Research
Gathering direct user interviews wasn't possible due to the nature of the assignment, however prior to Sushma deciding to leave her profession to set up the Mediation firm she made diligent notes over the recent years about the 'pains' some of her clients expressed. Insights from her personal experiences with hundreds of clients provided the basis for our empathy map. I also learned that separating couples that were subject to domestic abuse and or child welfare issues were NOT suitable prospects.
I also learned that the ‘initial mediation assessment’ was obligatory and that by law certain key documents needed to be shared and completed at specific points of the mediation process in order for the case to be successful.
Quantitative User Research
Survey results from Family Mediators Association and Family Mediation Council helped to uncover further insights. Specifically some lack of clarity with respect to costs. Couples want price transparency and they want to know what the refund policy is too.
I began by synthesising research and 'strawman' of the Mediation process as Sushma communicated and envisioned - layering this with insights from competitive research and empathy mapping.
As I proceeded through various design exercises the service design blue print became clearer...
I kept coming back to the problem statement:
“Separating couples need a clear and steam-lined way of understanding mediation and managing the process of separation/divorce out-of-court so that they can ensure a dignified transition on their time and within budget constraints.”
Initial Notes and Sketches and Internal Workflow
Process Development Workshop Notes
Personas based on Empathy Mapping
Link to Flow Diagram for Toby & Nancy - Separating Couple & Grace - Legal PA
Key Documents required and when
Customer Journey Flow Chart (mediate.com)
Mapping the needs of the user
Clarifying the needs of the business
Creating an affinity diagram outlining key themes.
Reviewing technology options and my capabilities I designed the final end-to-end Customer Journey which was formulated after some iterations.
I was guided by Sushma's vision. Together we formulated a colour palette and tyopgraphy. She was keen to deliver a warm welcome.
Site Design & Information Architecture
I spent some time reviewing competitor sites and in conversation with Sushma. Eventually we decided on a site map. We made some final calls regarding referrals - we placed the 'Referrals' heading within the top layer for time-constrained legal execs.
After finalising the site map, I set about building Wireframes for site. I focussed on the layout of information so that when i needed to transition to the visual design I could focus solely on design. Once the wireframes were laid out in Miro I sat and co-created with the stakeholders on many occasions (Sushma, PM, and Consultant) to finalise frames. I wanted to make funtional design changes before diving into Wix to develop the site design. Due to budgets a prototype was not requested.
I built the site in Wix. Wix comes with its gifts and certain limitations (not open source) and so I worked within constraints. Also Wix is not the best dev tool for responsiveness but I worked with it.
I also built-in automated emailing solutions so that Clients had a seamless experience always knowing where they were in the process, next steps and transpancy of costs, refund policy and help.
Testing took place over a couple of weeks - This included an audit of consistency in design, site functionality and flow, content, automations and desktop and site performance.
And finally we went live July 2021