To continue in the spirit of the changes being made to membership and with our renewed focus on better meeting our users needs, it’s been another exciting week for us. We’ve just given 800 colleagues in our support centre at 1 Angel Square , Manchester access to the new Co-op Membership service.
Richard Pennycook (Group Chief Executive) announced the changes at the 2016 Co-op AGM (Annual General Meeting). I’m part of the team ensuring membership is focussed on the needs of its users and we’re testing our updated service with colleagues first to make sure it’s right for when we release to all of our members.
The service aims to make it easy for members to:
- Choose a local charity to support
- Make the most of their rewards
- Manage their details
- Register transactions
- Order a replacement card
- Get involved with the Co-op
By only asking for the necessary information to create a membership share account, we’ve also reduced the amount of data a user has to enter to become a Co-op member. This is one step towards Mike Bracken’s (Chief Digital Officer) goal of making Co-op trusted with data.
We found during our research that users are becoming more reluctant to share their data with companies and question how their data is being used. We aim to be completely transparent at Co-op and by listening to and acting on our users feedback this demonstrates that commitment.
User research drives continuous improvement
We’ve been designing the new service with our members, customers and colleagues, holding regular research sessions to gain feedback and insight on early prototypes and ideas. This combined with data from our existing websites enables us to better understand our users, helping to prioritise the next round of development and continue to improve the service.
We test our designs as early as possible, sometimes we use interactive prototypes, other times we’re simply testing a sketch on a post-it note.
Sometimes, the medium you use to test a design doesn’t matter; the key thing is that you’re testing with real users, to understand what works.
In the lab or In-store
Most of our user research has taken place in controlled environments with pre-screened participants (lab user testing), which has been great for gaining qualitative insight and we continue to research in this way.
Sometimes though, we need instant insight into our designs, so we use guerrilla user testing methods as well. Guerrilla testing is a lean, low cost way of carrying out user research, almost anywhere, any time. We’ve tested our designs in-store, in coffee shops and even in the street, gaining new insight each time.
We’ll continue to test and learn with our colleagues over the next few months with the aim of releasing to all members in the autumn.
In the meantime you might just catch us in your local Co-op testing out some new designs. Or if you are a colleague or a council member and want to find out more you can join us at our regular show and tell which is every Thursday 9.30 – 10.00 on the 13th Floor of 1 Angel Square.