Improving Customer Care

Duration: 4 weeks
Client: VHP Human Performance
Team: Katy Downey, Josje Wijnen
My roles: System evaluation, contextual inquiries, conceptual design, interaction design, visual design, prototyping, usability testing


The Haarlem Municipality aims to improve human performance of the Customer Care Center (CCC) by introducing a new CCC management system. VHP Human Performance, a company specialized in designing work environments for improved human performance was assigned in developing the new system. Over a period of four weeks, Josje Wijnen, Katy Downey and I assisted VHP in this project.


We started our project with a visit at the Haarlem municipality CCC. In order to get a good understanding of the problem, we spent a day interviewing employees about the current system. Based on the information we gathered during the visit we made a flowchart of the current system, and one of a new proposition.

The scope of our team was to design the interface for the handling of public space notifications (i.e. notifications on broken lamp post, vandalized benches etc.) and developing this into a prototype over several iterations. We aimed to improve the top three usability issues we found in the current system.

Improvement #1
Usability Issue: FO finds it hard to know whether notification is a duplicate.
Goal: Display current notifications on each object and provide a way to link notification to current case.
Solution Space: Make the system object-oriented instead of complaint-oriented.

Improvement #2
Usability Issue: Identifying a specific object can be inefficient. FO has multiple systems for processing object notifications.
Goal: Speed up the process for identifying the object.
Solution Space: Offer improved tools for citizens, map integration and object recognition by including images.

Improvement #3
Usability Issue: FO has multiple systems for inputting and tracking complaints from different inputs (email, phone, apps and the web form).
Goal: Use one system to allow FO to be able to address all types of notifications.
Solution Space:
- Channel all notifications into one system.
- Allow FO workers access to notifications of all forms of input.
- Have every member of FO be responsible for all forms of input.

We wrote few scenarios CCC employees would face (e.g. someone calling for a broken lamp post) and started brainstorming about the workflow and layout of the new system. The ideas we generated were used to develop a paper prototype. We divided the screen in several sections: A) notification channel | B) citizen information (form gets auto-filled where possible) | C. open notifications | D) zoom and filter for map | E) map with (filtered) objects | F) object photos | G) notification form of selected object.

After showing our concept to two usability experts, we changed a few things (e.g. unnecessary or redundant functionality) and developed a medium fi prototype.

Together with VHP we evaluated the med fi prototype and iterated one more time on the design. Also we asked few colleague UX designers for heuristic evaluation. We modified our design to work in some special edge cases (e.g. a moving object such as a stray animal, multiple objects in one notification, or more than one issue for each object).

The new prototype was run through a user test with few CCC employees at the Haarlem Municipality. Users were asked to complete several scenarios while thinking aloud. Based on the tests we evaluated our design once again. Overall the evaluations pointed out that the solutions we provided to solve the three main usability issues appeared to be effective.


After four weeks, we presented our design and the recommendations for the next iteration to VHP. We reported our analysis of the current system’s usability issues and a list of requirements for the new design. We also proposed our interface design which was based on these requirements and which would allow CCC employees to handle notifications about objects in the public space (e.g. broken lampposts, vandalized litter bins) in an effective and efficient manner.

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