MIRO

Improving the hybrid working experience for teams.

Miro is an online whiteboarding tool helping teams collaborate remotely or in person. As part of an immersive UX/UI bootcamp, I was tasked with iterating on the current whiteboard experience.

Lead UX Researcher at Miro, Eduardo Gomez Ruiz, supplied a brief highlighting the challenge Miro faced to remain relevant in the current global climate when facilitating workshops with both hybrid and remote participants.

Role

User research • UX design • UI design • Prototyping • Usability testing

Tools

Miro • Typeform • Figma • Maze

Challenge

It became apparent from my initial research that the current experience of using the app during remote collaboration, provided limited communication methods during meetings which in turn caused a potential lack of connection within the teams.

Solution

User interviews highlighted that limited communication methods made meetings difficult to follow. Therefore, I focused on improving these methods both during and after the sessions.

I added voice and video commenting to help communication during sessions. For post-session I reorganised files in the dashboard adding extra information for edited date, contributors and board type.

Outcome

My proposed solution focussed on staying connected to colleagues by providing a wide range of communication methods to mitigate the limitations of only verbal communication.

The scope of the case study did not include testing my proposed solution. If scope had allowed it, I would liked to have gathered feedback to validate the direction I chose to take.

Discovery

Usability review

I started my research by carrying out a usability review on two screens within Miro — the dashboard and the on-canvas view once a board is created. For comparison a usability review was also carried out in Figjam, Figma's whiteboard tool which is a competitor to Miro.

Questions & Observations

To better define the problems I identified from my usability review, I formed some observations about the app documenting these using the structure [situation], [response], [problem to business or user experience].

When [participating in hybrid virtual group work], users [unconsciously prioritise the opinions of those in the room with them], which causes [remote team members to feel like they are disconnected and not listened to

When [working remotely as a team], users [lack a means of non verbal communication], which causes [a lack of human connection and miscommunication with colleagues].

When [whiteboarding as a team remotely], users [don't know where their focus their attention], which causes [a lack of comprehension and difficulty contributing during meetings].

User interviews

I created an interview script and carried out interviews with representative users of the app to help me ascertain what the core challenges were when using the software and while working remotely. The information from these interviews allowed me to validate my initial thoughts about the app ensuring my hypothesis was being based upon feedback from users.

Interview goal

How do hybrid remote workers feel when collaborating in Miro and what do they feel are the biggest challenges with working with a mix of office and remote workers?

Interview script

Scene setting for interview / Welcome

Thanks for helping out today.

I plan on this session running for no longer than approximately 30-45 minutes.

Before we start, I’ll briefly explain the setup and how the session works.

What we’re doing today

I’m conducting some user research on how teams manage collaboration when functioning as a fully remote team or combination of both remote and office based workers and specifically the use of online whiteboard software.

I’m trying to identify any common issues with this process and what might be improved about the experience for teams conducting things like remote workshops etc.

I'll be talking to a few people like yourself, and based on your feedback I'm hoping to pinpoint areas to focus on improving in this type of software.

The process

I’ll be asking you a range of questions about your experience of remote work and using whiteboard software in your job.

The session will be recorded so that I can refer back to what we discuss and I'll be using Otter which is software which provides an automatic transcript of the interview for me to reference as well.

Do you have any questions now before we begin?

Fact finding

What is your occupation/job title?

Where are you based for your job currently?

Has that always been the case?

Do you work on a laptop or desktop and does that vary depending on location?

What software do you use to help facilitate remote working?

Which white boarding software do you prefer to use?

How frequently do you use it?

What are your main use cases for whiteboard software?

How do you use it within a team?

Is there any similar software which you use?

Opinion

What has your experience of white boarding been remotely, positive or negative?

What made it positive or negative?

Is there anything which makes a specific bit of software stand out?

What are your biggest challenges when working as either a completely remote or partially remote team?

Do you think remote work is easier or harder to facilitate than office based work?

If it's easier or harder, why is that do you think?

What would your ideal team setup be under normal circumstances?

How do you manage your team and yourself feeling isolated when working remotely?

How does this affect yours and your teams moral and effectiveness?

Open ended

Can you describe a specific scenario of when you last used whiteboard software as a team?

What was the scenario?

What challenges if any did you have?

Was there anything which would have made things easier to collaborate with your team

How did you manage the mix of remote and office workers if that’s been the case?

What would help you the most when running things like workshops or collaborating using digital whiteboard software if you could add or change anything about the experience?

Definition

Affinity map

I used annotation software Otter.ai to automatically create a transcript of my user interviews in order to document key insights and observations. These insights were then organised using an affinity map to identify the patterns and trends that would help me form a hypothesis.

Customer Journey Map

A customer journey map was created by combining the data in my affinity map with the observations from my usability review. From this I was able to identify the board creation phase and collaboration stage once a whiteboard had been created as the areas of the customer journey that would provide opportunity for most improvement.

User flow

To further understand the challenge, I created a user flow for creating a new collaborative whiteboard. This helped me clarify specifically where any improvements or simplifications could be made to improve the user experience

Validated observations

Patterns and trends identified in my affinity map and customer journey map helped to validate my earlier observations. By prioritising user frustrations, I had a primary frustration that I selected on the basis of what I felt would provide the greatest user and business gains.

Primary Frustration

When [whiteboarding as a team remotely], users [don't know where their focus their attention], which causes [a lack of comprehension and difficulty contributing during meetings].

Secondary Frustration

When [working remotely as a team], users [lack a means of non verbal communication], which causes [a lack of human connection and miscommunication with colleagues]

When [participating in hybrid virtual group work], users [unconsciously prioritise the opinions of those in the room with them], which causes [remote team members to feel like they are disconnected and not listened to]

How might we statement

Following on from the synthesis of my research and defining what I felt was the primary user frustration, I formed a how might we statement to guide the generation of ideas that I would develop into a final solution.

How might we… help remote teams better communicate with their colleagues when collaborating so they feel more connected.

Development

Scamper

To generate and prioritise a broad range of ideas, I used the SCAMPER method, allowing me to:

Build on what was already present

Asking what could be substituted

What could be combined

What could be adapted

What could be modified

What could be put to another use, or reversed.

Hypothesis

Once my ideas had been prioritised, I wrote a hypothesis to help frame the problem around user and business goals.

We believe that [giving users improved means of communicating with their teammates when using the platform [ would help users collaborate better and feel more engaged ], thus [ result in increased satisfaction, connection, and overall adoption of the platform.] [ ] User goal [ ] Business goal

Delivery

Feedback gained from user interviews highlighted a difficultly in following the flow of a collaborative whiteboard session exacerbated by limited communication methods. To alleviate these problems, I expanded the functionality of the existing commenting tool. In addition to this I didn't want context to then be lost post-session/meeting. I reorganised the UI of the dashboard, adding additional information to files letting users know when a file was edited, its contributors and the board type.

Outcome

As approximately 70% of inter-personal communication is non-verbal my solution focussed on keeping users connected to their colleagues both during and after any collaboration with Miro by providing a variety of non verbal communication methods, including audio and video.

The scope of the case study did not include testing my proposed solution in the limited timeframe available during the bootcamp which this case study was worked on. If further time had been spent on this case study, gathering feedback to validate the direction I chose to take would have been my next activity on the project.