UX leadership for ADP's internal teams

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Professional Services


UX Research

Ideation Workshops
UX Design
UI Design

Project snapshot

ADP is one of the largest payroll and human capital management companies in the world, but were challenged by smaller, nimble challengers and held back by their complex, unwieldy platforms. We helped unify their platform through intuitive, user-focused design.

Automatic Data Processing, Inc., commonly known as ADP, is an American provider of human resources management software and services. Founded in 1949, it’s the largest provider of HR services in North America, Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Rim, employing more than 56,000 employees worldwide.

The client’s market conditions

As one of the largest payroll and human capital management (HCM) companies in the world, ADP continue facing threats from small, nimble and highly responsive digital disruptors.

Creating a solution to meet their needs

ADP’s existing platforms had grown organically, becoming unwieldy over time. Multiple applications created confusion and inelegant experiences. Their request to us was very broad: to provide design support to their internal Design and Development team.

The benefits of our approach

Our approach used rapid Agile research and design techniques. Working in and embedded fashion within the client's offices, we were able to ensure that the process was embedded and repeatable. We introduced co-creative workshops to align stakeholders with real customer needs, and get a better sense of a real user’s goals. This allowed ADP’s teams to develop innovations that align directly with the customer.

Taking immediate action to drive innovation

We designed a plan that worked effectively with their level of UX maturity and delivered an exemplar project to guide future developments. We embedded a User Experience Leader who was able to work with ADP’s existing Designers, UX Researchers and Visual (UI) Designers. The embedded team and existing team rapidly became one team, able to tackle incoming work more effectively.

They worked as part of the project team at ADP’s Chertsey office in the UK. Collectively, they defined an end-to-end UX framework which vetted incoming work so it was understood before design work took place.

Generative research involved depth research around customer usage, developing an understanding of how users carry out daily tasks now and in the future.

Co-creative workshops gave teams a better understanding of propositions and their feasibility for customers. Personas were developed that built on incumbent personas created by the US team. Regular workshops also took place with product teams to understand and uncover opportunities for broader ADP initiatives and products.

Solution ideation delivered appropriate, practical ideas. We created a new set of personas, collaborating with Business Analysts, Product Managers and Technology teams. Our output was a set of design patterns that challenged assumptions, whilst being realistic and achievable.

Design patterns were assessed for viability for the existing design proposals. ADP’s design direction was already established by ADP’s US partner, Frog Design. Their existing design patterns were thorough, but US-centric. There was little design rationale for both widespread platform deployment and the EMEA market. Our focus was on working with EMEA customers to deliver a design fit for the European market.

Working with teams across EMEA, we discovered that not all the patterns would be re-usable given local constraints and the needs of legal compliance. One example was ADP’s ‘Leave & Absence’ module, which is commonly managed locally, and is often specific to business sector, business size and territory.

Evaluative research involved concept testing and validation of the UI to prove fitness for purpose, creating UI improvements through an iterative testing approach. Concept testing was performed at regular intervals so products were intuitive, easy to use and met a clear customer need. It also evaluated the effectiveness and efficiency of the product, guiding priorities and suggesting opportunities for improvement.

How our approach helped ADP

Our UX team bolstered and strengthened ADP’s in-house team, giving them the extra expertise and resources to innovate beyond their normal capability. This work led to actionable insights into their work in Europe, allowing ADP to meet user needs more effectively and innovate more quickly — and compete against those nimble challengers in today’s evolving market.

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