Creating a UX Strategy for RBS (Part 1)

Reimagining how a photo studio manages its data by digitizing its current manual process — Discover and Define.

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Ruby Bird Studio is a welcoming rental and production studio located in the Historic Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse. A former rope factory in the 1800s, the building is a hot spot for artists, filmmakers and photographers throughout NYC. With its incredible waterfront views and vintage charm, it’s no surprise why. And with over 15 years of experience, owner Rebecca Handler opens her doors to a wide range of creatives and professionals.

Client business and product goals

Ruby is looking for a User Experience that;

Creates a streamlined system for their studio bookings and marketing database that saves time and money, while being designed beautifully and is just as easy to use on-the-go as it is in the office.


  • Account creation and maintenance for all individual prospects, clients and companies.
  • Client profile dashboard would include an active timeline of contact information, booking and contact history, email and text reminders, booking details, equipment rentals, pay balance, updated info, social profiles.
  • Have email integration to automatically add contacts straight into database.
  • Social integration for prospect outreach with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Calendar integration two way sync.
  • Automated followups and reminders to perfect timing of outreach.
  • Links to Quickbooks for billing.
  • Simple On-boarding process.

The immediate need, however, is an audit and a heuristic evaluation, user testing and cognitive walkthrough to prioritize and address issues, isolate and ideate possible solutions.

Design Process

I’m a Double Diamond guy because its vernacular is more objective than others.

  • Discover/Research: Gain insight into the problem.
  • Define/Synthesis: Identify the area of focus.
  • Develop/Ideate: Concepts and solutions are developed, prototyped, tested and iterated.
  • Delivery/Implement: Viable solutions are identified and finalized for production.
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Double Diamond Diagram adapted from British Design Council and Dan Nessler

Discover: Gain insight into the problem.

We started by conducting research to gain insights on how RBS employees use data to foster and maintain relationships with clients and prospects for studio bookings and marketing. Through our research, we’re seeking to;

1. Understand the goals behind, how employees interact with prospects and clients data, to gather a deep understanding of the journey employees go on, from when they first have to fulfill this need, through when they complete a sales cycle;

2. We are interested in learning how employees currently integrate customer relationship management and any pain points or problems they are experiencing. This understanding will help us in discovering a divergent system for RBS to maintain and integrate data to further nurture and develop customer relationships.

We conducted SME interviews of 2 Program Managers from a large health insurance company to learn how they manage data. Then we conducted User Interviews on 4 employees and 3 interns at RBS to understand the user journey at scale.

Our Takeaways

  • Users want to do a good job, but find it hard to be consistent with their efforts without a system.
  • Users struggle with data entry when spreadsheets exist in multiple locations and versions.
  • Users get fatigued with complex workflows and tend to leave out detailed information.
  • Data shouldn’t stay with employees, so others can pick up where they left off.
  • Most initial employee outreach research is done with social media, but relationship maintenance happens with email.
  • No easy way to for employees to communicate and locate relevant data.

Define: Identify the area of focus.

How might Ruby’s employees get a birds eye view of their customers and prospects data so they can interact with them as efficiently and seamlessly as possible?

Empathy Map

We synthesized our Key Takeaways from our interviews in an Empathy Map, giving a human rather than technical view of our project.

Goals & Needs

  • Users want to enter data the least amount of times as possible.
  • Users need to have an easy way to locate relevant data.
  • Users want to be more productive but spend all their time entering data.
  • Users need a way to segment different stages of leads.
  • Users need a way to manage and track email marketing, both personal and mass outreach.
  • Users need to be able to access it on the go as well as in the office.


  • Users are motivated by finding and reaching out to artists they love.
  • Users are motivated by bonuses when they convert more prospects to clients.
  • Users are motivated to reach out to more prospects when the data is well presented.
  • Users are motivated by a system that helps them make informed decisions.


  • Users get frustrated when they double up their outreach due to poor data management.
  • Users find the workflow hard to remember and navigate through.
  • Users get frustrated when the online calendar isn’t updated to match the internal calendar.
  • Users are frustrated when they spend all of their time manually entering data, and end up doing it wrong.


  • Users are influenced to find prospects by finding connections on social media.
  • Users are influenced by having social and cultural capital when making connections to artists the love.

Process Flow

A current process flow was created to understand how an employee currently enters data and any pain points or problems they are experiencing. We focused on the entire process as a:

  1. Use Case requesting to hold a space.
  2. Use Case requesting to book a space.
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A couple drop off points stood out right away.

  1. Hold contacts weren’t being added to any database until the end of the cycle.
  2. Clients that booked were having their profile created AFTER they’ve been directed to the site to book on their own.

The priority is clear. Client Relationship Management is paramount and could organize the data straight away.

We decided to look at pre-existing CRM’s since most of the features are in line with what they offer.

Market Analysis

…or benchmarking. It helps companies set a line of minimum features, products and services to offer in order to serve customers. In this case, what we’re looking to implement came from aspirational models provided by other organizations.

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It turns out that CRM’s are insanely expensive. They generally offer 2 types;

1. Enterprise — which translates into pay me. Pricing out Salesforce and Hubspot with all of the features that were asked for was upwards of $25k a year! Email integration with campaigns and 20k contacts is where they make their money.

2. Small Business — Which means pay per user, limited features and still expensive. You can integrate add-ons, but once you add users and most that offer email integration caps you at 5000 emails a month.

We tried Every. Single. Available. CRM. All of them. Honestly, they all sucked.

We had some prioritizing to do…


I took the features gathered from research and mapped them on the feature matrix based on examining the values both for the user and the business.

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We started to see what make sense the most sense for the business.

How might Ruby’s employees get a birds eye view of their customers and prospects data so they can interact with them as efficiently and seamlessly as possible?

-A contacts profile, whether they book or not needs to be added to the database.

-It needs to be sortable by customizable tags as well as standard sorting systems. (last contacted, A-Z, etc)

-Event-triggered actions to set off a chain of data mining, reminders, and notifications.

-Need to be able to have unlimited or a reasonable amount of contacts.

-Email and campaigns need to be integrated without additional fees to send.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we look at the Develop and Delivery of the design strategy — coming next week!

Written by

UX Designer w/ a background as a photographer and digital artist. I’m a visual storyteller dedicated to solving complex problems & producing creative solutions.

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