The Brief

Simplifying Complexity without Losing Power

The biggest challenge as Oomph acclimated to the RSI world was rapidly learning enough about the complex regulations and requirements of municipalities in the tax collection industry to provide sound advice and recommendations. We started by examining their systems — the workflow of documenting and planning new product features and adding them to the roadmap, of designing the UX of those features, and of leveraging their in-house design system to build and support those features. 

RSI’s main products, revX and revX Online Services, are highly customizable and configurable. Every single screen has options that would display depending on the authenticated user’s role and privileges and the tenant’s own back-office processes. User stories included many requirements based on permissions and configuration. This added challenges when imagining potential interface solutions that need to accommodate growth in multiple directions. 

Oomph’s purposefully used our outside perspective to ask many questions about RSI’s processes. We took our years of experience designing interfaces for a wide range of consumers and applied them here. In this typically archaic and slow-to-evolve space, a user-focused experience coupled with RSI’s technical expertise would revolutionize tax collection as a friendlier, more intuitive, and highly customizable experience.


Our Approach

Maintaining Consistency in a Rapidly Evolving Product

Our findings and recommendations indicated previous UX teams did not create a rulebook that governed their decisions, and so, the system lacked consistency. Quality Assurance reviews would suffer from this lack of governance as well. Therefore, the first thing we did was to establish rules to design by: 

Entity Summary screen Before
Entity Summary screen After

Ultimately, these rules are flexible and have served well as a starting point. Any new screen can adhere to these rules, and when we find cases where these rules are preventing users from completing their tasks or are frequently confusing users, we revisit them to make updates or clarifications. Oomph has continued to consult on new screen design and UX workflows after more than a year of working together.

A sample of components from the revX application

The Results

Setting a New North Star to Align Our Compasses

To continue to move the product forward without increasing UX and technical debt, the teams needed a well-defined shared understanding for the user experience. Internal teams were moving forward, but not always in the same direction. Within the first month, our teams agreed upon a playbook and then continued to expand it during our engagement. We met twice weekly with product owners across the company and became a sought-after resource when teams were planning new features.

A sample of screens from the revX application

During our time together, we have celebrated these outcomes:

As Oomph moves into our second year collaborating with the RSI teams, we plan to fully investigate user personas on both the admin and taxpayer side of the platform, add more context and governance to the project designs, and provide quality assurance feedback on the working application. We value our partnership with this unique team of experts and look forward to continuing the tax software revolution.


THE APPROACH

Rapid Discovery with a Cohort Analysis

Oomph hit the ground running, bringing our human-centered design expertise and passion for environmental causes to strategize a solution. We knew that balancing rigor and speed would be critical – how could we design a site positioned for success without over-investing in features that might need to change later? Through market and user research, rapid prototyping, and close collaboration with Rare and development partner Adapt, we swiftly moved from vision to reality.

Surveying the Landscape

While purchasing carbon credits is similar to making a nonprofit donation in some ways, it also blends elements of investing and crowdfunding in a distinct experience. Oomph first conducted a cohort analysis of more than 20 platforms, from other emerging carbon credit marketplaces to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Kiva. The process uncovered some promising initial approaches, but also underscored the lack of best practices in the space. Ultimately, we determined that Catch Carbon needed to emphasize real-world impact: giving like-minded supporters a place to rally behind a shared cause and directly see the positive effects of their dollars.

Creating Connection and Credibility with Users

Building on Rare’s insights into its audience – climate-concerned citizens eager to be part of the solution – we knew that Catch Carbon would primarily draw users interested in taking personal action to reduce carbon impacts. User journey mapping allowed us to anticipate the visitor’s thoughts and feelings at every stage – curious as they enter the site, inspired as they browse projects, proud after deciding to purchase – and make design choices to guide them along the way. Our strategy included:

A Collaborative Design Process

With a solid strategy in place, Oomph dove in to bring the design to life. We led Rare through a 20-second design “gut check” workshop to develop a shared design language, then used style tiles to quickly hone in on the design aesthetic. As we moved into full page designs, we worked hand in hand with Adapt and Rare to test an internal API system that would populate project data, refining the design in real-time as we determined which information was possible to include.


THE RESULTS

Just seven weeks after project kickoff, the Catch Carbon site debuted to the public. Its launch marked a major step forward for the voluntary carbon credit market, democratizing access for consumers and setting new standards for project transparency and quality. As a member of 1% for the Planet, Oomph is personally invested in sustaining our world for generations to come – making our work with Rare especially meaningful.

In addition to bringing Rare’s bold new idea to the public quickly, we equipped the organization with a set of KPIs to measure the effectiveness of specific design choices. By understanding factors like site traffic patterns and drop-off rates, Rare can test and iterate with precision.

Climate change is an insurmountable challenge to solve alone, but together, our efforts can make a difference. The Catch Carbon marketplace brings everyday people closer to carbon reduction solutions than ever before, spurring the behavioral change that’s at the heart of Rare’s mission.


THE BRIEF

When Seraphic Group’s founder, Zach Bush, MD, saw patterns in people’s health linked directly to problems with the food supply, he became an advocate for regenerative farming. As a potential solution to deteriorating public health, global warming, and even poverty, regenerative farming offers benefits for local and global communities. But, getting farmers to switch to it from conventional techniques is a challenge.

Regenerative farming is good for the environment and the economy in the long run—but, short term, it’s more work and more expensive than chemical-heavy, conventional farming. Add in that the appropriate techniques depend on variables like geography, soil type, and climate, and it’s a difficult thing for people to figure out on their own.

Their platform idea, Atlus∗U, needed to not only educate farmers about regenerative agriculture, but also motivate them to try it, and stick with it, for the long haul.


THE APPROACH

Understanding the Educational Purpose

As we noted in an article on different types of online learning platforms, a platform’s educational purpose determines the tools and features that will best achieve its objectives. Atlus∗U spans two purpose categories, Student Stakes Learning and Broad Stakes Learning, which means that effective education is crucial for both the learners and their larger communities.

To that end, our design vision focused heavily on content comprehension, along with keeping users motivated and engaged. Our framework included educational content and tools, accountability systems, and community features. A key component was personal stories: sharing the experiences of farmers who had successfully converted their businesses to regenerative farming and could help and encourage others to do the same.

Above all, Seraphic wanted Atlus∗U to grow and evolve over time as a kind of living guide to regenerative farming. While most online learning platforms stop when the coursework ends (think of a CPR course, where you get a certificate and you’re done), for this platform, the end of the coursework was just the beginning of the journey.


THE RESULTS

In our design, the whole community drives the learning experience, not just the teachers and coursework. It’s easy for students to connect with others who are taking the same courses, while members-only forums provide a place for productive networking, questions, stories, and support. Some forums are attached to specific lessons, so that the dialogue isn’t just between teachers and students; all members, including alumni, can participate and share their learnings on a given topic.

Another component, the accountability partner system, was crucial for achieving Seraphic’s goal of driving lasting change. Research shows that publicly sharing a goal gives people a 65% chance of success, while reporting to a specific accountability partner boosts that chance to 95%.

Finally, our learning tools were designed to enhance both content comprehension and retention. Course videos were a key feature, designed not just for the course, but for reference over time. Students have the ability to bookmark videos and attach notes to specific sections, letting them revisit important info whenever they need it.


THE IMPACT

While online learning has been around for a long time, recent advancements in design and functionality make it possible for learning platforms to have a transformative impact on individuals and across society.

In the case of Atlus∗U, it’s not just the coursework that drives users’ learning; an entire community is mobilized to help you succeed. With a focus on collaborative, lifelong learning, our design brings together farmers from around the world to improve their business, grow healthier food, and protect our world.

Need help building an effective online learning platform? Let’s talk about your goals and how to achieve them.


THE BRIEF

“Out of Home” (OHH) advertising is widely understood as billboards, transit stops, and street furniture. But OHH advertising is also place-based mobile advertising and digital messages that can react to the time of day and weather. These emerging avenues were some of the customer education messages that OUTFRONT Media, one of the top three outdoor advertising companies in the country, needed a new website to convey.

OHH was new to us, but we enjoy diving deep into new industries and absorbing information from all directions. While getting to know OUTFRONT Media during our initial explorations and discovery meetings, Oomph and Straightline Media were surprised to learn:


THE DISCOVERY

Expanding Outfront’s reach from Agencies to Mom-and-Pops

OUR RESEARCH & UNDERSTANDING

“The United States of Audiences” is the demographic landscape made up of microcosms centered around interests and activities. OUTFRONT understands all these niche groups and can hyper target them to get businesses those audiences.

Through information architecture testing, an understanding of their business goals, and internalization of this new brand message, we crafted a main navigation that spoke directly to OUTFRONT’s target audiences. These pages communicate they “get” them in two ways — OUTFRONT understands these audiences’ needs and

CUSTOMER ACTIONS

To buy media placements from OUTFRONT, a business needs to:

  • Understand the value of OHH advertising
  • Explore the media options in their location
  • Investigate the costs of these different options
  • Call a sales associate in their area to discuss custom packages

Finding a market lets a potential customer define themselves even further by gathering their location

they can put the right message in front of the right people to get clients new business.

Large brands already understand how important it is to have OHH in their advertising mix. An emerging market for companies like OUTFRONT is actually smaller businesses — local chains and even mom and pop businesses. To court these new customers, OUTFRONT has to create a customer portal that supports do-it-yourself media management, and the website messaging has to educate a small business about the process and how to buy.

data. From here, they can easily access the media that is available specifically to their geographic area. After a sale is made, a customer needs continuing support. The website should:

  • Make it easy for a customer to find production specs for various media
  • Provide links to a portal that give them analytics and reporting statistics
  • Give them a clear path to extending their current campaign or starting a new one

THE APPROACH

Defining Audience Destinations

OUTFRONT narrowed its focus to the audiences that it needs to win and continue to support — new advertisers, new and existing agency relationships, and property owners who lease their real estate to OUTFRONT for displays (these could be individual real estate owners, large municipalities, or large destinations like airports, stadiums, and entire city transit systems). The journey for these new customers is the main navigation, and these journies funnel through the Market Finder to become more personalized.

Returning customers will find inspiration, case studies, galleries, and support resources in the footer navigation. One of the reasons for this bifurcation was the amount of content that OUTFRONT Media needs to manage. Their previous navigation tried to be everything to everyone, and therefore, was confusing. Labels like “Who We Are / What We Do / Where We Are…” contained too much “we” and not enough “you”. A modern customer doesn’t have time to figure out the navigation — it should speak to them directly in language that they understand.

Giving Visitors Clear Directions

he previous market finder used “inside baseball” language — terms that people at OUTFRONT understand, but that the general populace does not. Markets were labeled by city and state with vague geographic terms like “non-metro”. It was not friendly to the DIY customer. We helped guide technical conversations around how a better flow might work and captured the journey in wireframes and external working examples.

The Market finder is an integral part of the customer journey, so we placed it in page content to support the education process. As a customer understands how OHH and OUTFRONT works, they are prompted to enter their location and get more direct information. As part of wireframes and design, the language was an important aspect to try out and sharpen. Vague button text like “Get Started” was replaced with stronger and more descriptive actions like “Start Building Your Campaign.”


THE RESULTS

Focusing Attention on Results

OHH is a powerful mechanism to reach people even as consumers become blind to advertising in traditional media — a billboard or subway poster can’t be ad-blocked. One of the most powerful ways to tell this story is through data. OUTFRONT has a number of “Insights” but potential customers are less likely to seek this information out themselves. Instead, we made sure to include teasers along their journies that highlight the effectiveness of sample campaigns. These Insights provide powerful results with brands that visitors are familiar with.

The entire journey from discovery to wireframing, testing, and design was an exciting and challenging process that pushed both teams towards an excellent outcome. We hope that the clarity of the navigation, message, and visitor journey continues to get new eyeballs and customers.