Nick Elliott

Designing With You

Blog Post created by Nick Elliott Employee on Oct 8, 2017

Over the last 6 months we've been changing the way we approach XPLAN Product Design at IRESS. Through XPLAN Labs and a Global Design Group, we want to include you at every step of the design process.


The Design Process


Within the IRESS design team, we follow a software design process containing 6D's:



Based on your feedback and support calls our product managers Decide what we need to focus on.


Discovery is all about research. It's about understanding what you are trying to achieve. It's not just about tech. It's about understanding your needs, frustrations, barriers, goals and feelings. To ensure we get a wide range of feedback we include participants from every region, clients big and small.


After research, we synthesise all the data we've collected in the Define phase. The aim is to produce insights and guiding principles that we'll continually refer to during the Design phase.


Throughout Design, we aim to innovate and check we are solving the right problems by validating our designs with you. These could be simple sketches or wireframes showing 'boxes and arrows'. We'll then continue to share more detailed designs to ensure we are on the 'right track'.


We then Develop our solutions. The aim is create a more helpful system that hides the complexity. Again, we'll share prototypes and early access via feature toggles to gather early feedback.


Finally, we Deploy solutions. By following the above Design Process, we want to deliver the right solution first time. But, we are always learning. By studying metrics and through further conversations with you, we'll iterate our solutions.

Why The Change?


We believe the above approach has many advantages - both to you and to us. We are already seeing positives from recent XPLAN Leads Research:

The start of honest conversations

We make a point of saying that we want to know everything - warts and all. We want to listen and we want you to be honest - we can't solve problems if we don't know the full picture. It's important for us to understand what you are trying to achieve. There's no hiding for us! We may come away with lots to think on, but this is a good thing - it's the start of the conversation.


Understanding the right problems

Research has highlighted that practice managers are struggling to engage advisers with XPLAN. 'This is now one of our guiding principles and is at the core of everything we design. It's not about giving you more - it's about giving them the right tools to help you achieve your goals. Research helps us move our focus into the right areas.

Research also lets us understand where you are trying to get to. There may be quick wins we can do now, but understanding where you want to head, will also influence our future designs.


Building relationships and validation

We want to solve the right problems. We want to continue the honest conversations and you want to you to see us as partners as we design solutions. We've already had success with some early 'Lead Management' wireframes (refer below). Early feedback has been positive.



We are at pains within our research to step back from the technology and understand what you are trying to achieve. This allows us to focus on the right problems, but also allows us to put design thinking into practice. It allows us to think at the problem from new perspectives and experiment. Research can give us the time to look at other ways to solve the big problem. If we don't know the bigger picture, we miss opportunities to innovate.

How do I get involved?



In May and June of this year, we held research interviews around Campaigns, Referrals & Leads. We got over 250 quotes back from 20 global interviews (see image below). We are now focusing our efforts on 'helping you manage your pipeline & opportunities'. Over the coming weeks we want to share our thinking around something we are calling 'XPLAN Opportunities'. If you want to get involved and see our early designs, please feel free to leave a comment below. Based on your feedback we'll be able to improve on the designs and ensure we solve what you are trying to achieve.



We have an immediate opportunity for Sydney-based users to take part in some user testing on a new Header and Navigation and Opportunities solutions.  If you are Sydney-based, let us know and we'll start the ball rolling.  We are hoping to use the Insights Community to allow users - wherever they are based - to get involved too, so stay tuned!


Finally, we'll also be carrying out further research soon. We'll let you know when these are about to be kicked off to give you an opportunity to be involved.


We at IRESS are committed to listening to you and helping you achieve your goals. We will be using Insights to let you know about all these initiatives, so please be sure to check back often. 


We look forward to working with you!