The Colleague Room

A digital transformation initiative to merge all of Tesco’s online colleague services into a single, easy-to-use platform.

Case study images for Tesco's The Colleague Room

The Challenge

Tesco employs over 300,000 colleagues in the UK. Every day these people need to access various services to do their jobs. These include ordering uniform, planning shifts, managing benefits and all kinds of other things.

When Tesco originally began ‘digitising’ these tasks, the attitude was to launch a new website or app for each feature.

Over time though, the number of platforms available to colleagues got way out of hand.

The situation had left people really frustrated. The tasks they needed to do their jobs were spread over literally dozens of services. All of these had wildly inconsistent (and often poorly designed) user experiences.

The volume and inconsistency of different digital services left colleagues feeling confused.

The Solution

The huge number of disparate colleague services was causing inefficiency for the business and it’s people. By speaking to actual colleagues and getting their feedback, were could understand and frame the problem to Tesco.

Rather than continuing to design distinct sites for each new feature, we proposed a different approach.

We pitched a dramatic digital transformation project : to consolidate all of Tesco colleague’s self service into one mobile-first, user centric website.

Inspired by the UK government’s fantastic work with GOV.UK, The Colleague Room is a gradual migration of dozens of colleague services into a single place. The site is designed simply and responsively — meaning that anybody can use it, regardless of their ability level or the device they’re using.

The original proposal for The Colleague Room.

The Project

User research & workshops

We needed to understand colleague needs and establish priorities. By running workshops with store workers, we could identify the various features and requirements needed for each service.

It was important to structure flows and present information in a way that people expect and understand.

Early user stories and screenflows for a new service.

There’s nothing superfluous or irrelevant going on here. Every page and workflow is designed around being straightforward.

The priority wasn’t to do anything glamorous or exciting. We just want colleagues to complete their tasks quickly and easily.

Wireframe for a screen on The Colleague Room.

Creating a culture of iterative prototyping & testing

This was vital. We needed to be sure that colleagues of any level could use the site.

Because Tesco stores are on virtually every UK street, the project was ideally suited to ‘quick and dirty’ user testing. We regularly visited stores with the latest version of a design prototype, running on a phone or tablet.

User testing with real colleagues in stores.

After getting feedback from the users, we quickly updated the prototypes and tested it again. Each service we added went through a few cycles of this, until we got it just right.

Tesco quickly saw the value in this approach, and now every service we add has user testing planned in as standard.

Testing allowed us to refine and iterate the user experience.

Developing UX guidelines and design patterns.

There are loads of services to redesign and migrate, so we planned them one at a time as part of a phased approach.

A wider team of designers and developers have since been on-boarded to the project. To ensure consistency in the design and user experience, we helped to create a ‘component library’ of re-usable interface elements.

This ensured that the designs created for The Colleague Room are reusable and consistent.

Screenshots from an early prototype.

The Results

The Colleague Room launched to universal acclaim, with over 100,000 active users in the first three months.

Feedback from user and the business alike was really positive. With less strain on HR teams to help colleagues complete tasks and find information, the savings are set to be huge.

Chris is a hard-working professional. He produces quality work in responsive timeframes and is really open to feedback, so working with him really feels collaborative. I enjoyed working with Chris on both a personal and work level.

- Thomas Trehearn - Colleague Room product owner at Tesco

Because of the internal nature of this work, I can’t give you a link to the finished product. If you’d like to know more (or just want to shoot the breeze), drop a line!

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