26-28 Sept.

Friday, 27 Sep. 15:15–16:00


When Design Cohesiveness Breaks the Experience. A design research case study of unifying two independent platforms with two distinct user bases.

/ Matthew Eng

Matthew Eng


What does it mean to have a unified experience? IBM design has been working on multiple products that are a mix of homegrown technologies and acquisitions. Each brings a unique set of users.

IBM invested in a redesign of Bluemix and Softlayer with the assumption that a cohesive visual design would improve the experience, make it easier for the users to find and manage their things, and positively impact revenue.

The data from support tickets, analytics tracking, and usability sessions showed that the redesign had the opposite effect.

In this talk, we will highlight the details of the initiative, the research methodologies we used, findings, and lessons.

Key Takeaways Strengths and weaknesses of a design system in a project like this Different users, their roles, and varying views of navigation and content groupings Surfacing how design and development decisions impact IA and the experience.


Matthew Eng

Matt is a Research Team Lead for IBM Design. He has worked on projects for companies such as IBM, AT&T, Ogilvy, and Symantec. During these projects, he has conducted numerous research efforts that helped to align and focus stakeholders with diverse needs. His experience as a Team Lead for the IBM, led him to discover new techniques for bringing together multidisciplinary teams and internal stakeholders into the research process for quicker alignment.

When he is not untangling team priorities, he shares his lessons and experiences with other communities such as UX Australia, Nerd Summit, THAT Conference, Big Design, MidWest UX, and TEDx San Antonio.

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