TokBox is a browser-based video chat application built in Flex (which seems to me to be a kind of hybrid between Flash andHTML/CSS). I work with a small team of engineers, one other designer, a product manager, and the marketing team to design and test features that meet product requirements and delight business users.
In mid-2009, the company aligned its priorities to become a business-focused consumer product. To allow business users to utilize the simple multi-party video conferencing technology, we needed to add business-oriented features like moderation, scheduling, and file upload.
We first added moderation features, allowing paying users more control over their video chat experience, with options to remove people or deny people access to their chats, or to control who could speak or share media.
We then added the ability for paying users to schedule video chats in advance. Soon after, we added another feature set for those users who wanted to run presentations and conferences with a large audience, while being able to pull members of the audience on-screen and interact face-to-face, in real-time, with many more people than most of our competitors.
Throughout the process of adding features, we ran periodic usability studies, bringing people onto the premises to observe how they used the product and performed simple task. During this process, we discovered some major problems with the core features of the site. As we changed our focus to a different consumer base, our users’ mental models no longer lined up with the one the application was built for.
After analyzing the usability feedback, I worked closely with the product manager to come up with a plan to shift the product to match our new user-base’s mental model with as minimal impact on the entire product as possible. With a plan in place, we began redesigning, testing, and iterating on the product.
In July of 2010, the first iteration of the full redesign launched. At the time of this writing, it is too early to give a full report on results, but early usability tests have been promising, with tasks inside the application completed in a quicker time frame, and overall feedback much more positive.