Flow helped MXit create MXit 6: a stylish and easy-to-use new version of their mobile phone software across three types of handset. The project delivered a 25% increase in daily registrations in the first month, to over 60 000 registrations per day.
Delivering a great user experience across the widest range of handsets is key to our strategy. Flow has been an essential part of the process for us. – Juan Du Toit, Head of International Business Development and Marketing.
The Brief: Design a new user experience for MXit on Java, Blackberry and Android devices.
MXit is Africa’s largest mobile social network. It earned this position by offering cost-effective access to messaging, gaming and information services on more than 3000 models of handsets, which include low-end feature handsets.
But the minimalist approach that gave the platform such broad reach tended to make MXit hard to understand for first-time users, and less appealing on smartphones.
So Flow was asked to help create a new vision for MXit, called MXit 6, The aim being to improve the user experience and make it more appealing to more users on more devices.
What we did: Research, concept design and detailed interaction design in an agile software development process.
Usability testing on the existing product showed that many new users struggled to get started on MXit. The initial experience of arriving on MXit tended to be quite puzzling – which could be discouraging.
We looked at what our personas needed during the “onboarding” process and designed a concept that:
- Improved registration by helping people to pick usernames more easily
- Made people easier to find on MXit, by enabling people to enter their phone number and email address without worrying that the information would be made public
- Helped new users to find their friends fast, by linking MXit straight to the phone’s address book and searching automatically for friends
- Surfaced the valuable services that MXit offers beyond person to person chat, including chat rooms, games, practical apps, classifieds and email
We worked with key stakeholders to create concept sketches of what the new service could be like. Then we worked those into a clickable mockup so we could test the concept with target users.The testing showed us that people were amazed and delighted when they could see what MXit had to offer – and that we were on the right track.
Once the conceptual direction was clear, we followed an agile process to get the project designed and built. We worked alongside three of MXit’s client software development teams simultaneously: Java, Blackberry and Android, to help them deliver a user experience that felt appropriate for each platform.
We created detailed wireframes for all aspects of the service, including inviting friends, searching, sending photos and sounds, and adjusting settings. This involved creating a new interaction paradigm for the Java client, architecting new menus and settings screens and revising thousands of titles, labels and error messages to give MXit 6 a friendly and helpful new tone.
A final usability test on the beta software helped us track down down some critical, last-minute usability improvements.
The result: The foundations of a remarkable new user experience for MXit – and a significant increase in registration and usage.
At the end of the first month after launch, new registrations were up 25%. Key apps within MXit have also seen dramatic increases in use, directly generating increased revenue via MXit’s Moola digital currency.
UX redesign, plus improved performance and stability has put MXit’s Android client in the top 5 on the Android Market in South Africa.
“We’re very proud of the results, ” said Shu-Aib April, the product manager for the MXit 6 client. “Working with Flow helped our team deliver a great new user experience. And our on-going concept work together means there’s plenty more amazing stuff to come.”
Users were pretty enthusiastic too. Some comments:
Just have to say the new mxit is shweet!!!
New overall UI is stunning in looks and very practical and user friendly. The Active chats tab top far right is very convenient and a great addition. Very impressed.
MXit 6 on Blackberry… All I can say is WOW!! Big ups 2 the team!!! happy for days
And that’s why we do it.