Oct 27, 2017

Kiwi.com’s future with Experience Design

“We have the pieces of the puzzle that I need to connect to deliver an outstanding experience to our customers”, says the new Head of Design David Tuč.

David Tuč is one of the top UX and service designers in the Czech Republic. His professional journey brought him to us with experience from well-established companies like NetSuite and Konica Minolta. Now we’re proud to welcome him on board as the new Head of Design at Kiwi.com.

At Konica Minolta, David was in charge of implementing human-centricity at their Business Innovation Centre. He also fostered a design culture and ensured that the products they delivered catered to their customers’ needs. The emphasis he puts on design-driven innovation and his use of design thinking techniques opened the way for him to join Kiwi.com.

You speak about your previous job with a lot of enthusiasm, still, you became a Kiwi. What led you here?

It all started with a conversation I had with Oliver about a year ago on how to hire good designers. Through further discussions, we soon realised that we have a similar mindset for entrepreneurship and innovation. We built up trust and a professional respect for each other. Oliver then asked me to do a UX and design process audit at Kiwi.com.

Among other things, I learned that there were no established principles for a human-centric design of the services. I noticed a lot of errors and some confusion from the UX and CX perspective. One of my suggestions in the audit was to hire a Head of Design and I was actually helping to find one for Kiwi.com.

My discussion with Oliver continued for the next few months and we eventually decided to try working together — that I would take the Head of Design job. We agreed that I’d start working on the implementation of a design culture in the company and to make the product more convenient and seamless from the users’ perspective.

Your task here is to make Kiwi.com services more user-friendly, what steps do you plan to get us there?

I need to deal with the experience strategy, map the customer journeys and create the product personas — then observe their mindsets and understand how they think about travelling. This will help us discover where the product meets their expectations, what frustrates them and what needs to be improved. I need to understand the emotional curve of the customer in order to make suggestions for balancing our product and marketing.

Based on that, my team and I will generate ideas, validate value propositions and prototype new concepts and their business models. We’ll gather customer feedback, iterate and test further in cycles. Once ideas are successfully validated, we’ll put them into development. In this way, we’ll protect the business from wasting money on activities with no return on investment.

Where do you see the weak points in your plan?

Because the company developed so fast, the departments grew apart. Some of them started to live their own lives and I need to reconnect them so that the product can grow.

My goal is to bridge the gap between departments in order to deliver a connected experience. In this way, all teams will take on the project of improving our customer experience. As part of this, I’ll need to promote a design-thinking approach and a culture of prototyping.

One of the most painful symptoms of cross-department disconnection is that the various departments have different understandings of who our customers are and what their needs and motivations are. Each department takes their own point of view and treats the customer accordingly, thus preventing us from delivering a consistent and predictable customer experience. That’s why personas and customer journey mapping projects are so important. Once we build them, all Kiwis will be able to identify with our customers and start seeing the bigger picture of our service as a whole.

David sharing his experience at All About UX event (October 2017).

What other struggles do you foresee?

I lack people. Design teams I follow for inspiration, such as Airbnb or Dropbox, are usually populated by designers in a ratio of one designer to six developers, here it is 1:30. My team is understaffed and I want to scale their work so that they have time enough to do their work right. I realise that I will have to count on new members (both designers and researchers) being in our team, so I’m trying to set up the processes in a way that will work when there’s more of us, while ensuring that I’ll have time enough to teach and lead all of them.

You are in the planning and researching phase, but you’ve already taken the first steps and your vision is clear. Let’s imagine we meet again in twelve months, what did your team achieve?

In a year, I want to achieve four things. Firstly, to describe the different personas and have a clear idea of who they are and what their customer journeys look like.

Then formulate an experience strategy, know what we want to deliver and how the experience should look. This will determine the direction of our products what we should develop.

Another achievement I’m aiming for is the establishment of a smart innovation culture where my team will play a crucial role.

Last but not least, I want to achieve a visual consistency across the whole Kiwi.com portfolio and communication — to correlate our web, mobile app, marketing channels and wherever else we expose the Kiwi.com brand.

Besides these long-term objectives, there’s a bunch of other projects on my plate that you may see published in our product and internal processes in the upcoming weeks and months.

Thanks for your time and good luck with your plans!

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On October 5, David moderated a panel discussion on UX. Watch the recording on our YouTube Channel and learn more about his experience as a UX designer.

Do you want to be part of David’s team? — Check out our open positions, David plans to grow the Experience Design Team, so your chances are strong.

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