Wolters Kluwer TAA & Twinfield
Twinfield is the leading bookkeeping software in the Netherlands. I was hired as a Senior User Experience Designer and joined a five-person design team. Twinfield was later renamed as Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting (WK TAA – NL) business unit. In two and half years, I worked on a bunch of projects:
- Renovation of Twinfield
- PSD2 – banking connected to the accounting domain
- VR prototype for customer meeting together with German team (Berlin)
- Design system with CoE (Centre of Excellence)
- Twinfield Collaboration and IOS application
- Wolters Kluwer Cloud ID (AAA microservice)
The design team was in good shape in terms of design, but there weren't any user research activities going on. It was only possible to talk with the customer if a sales representative or product owner invited you to a customer session. Creating a channel with customers was critical to having a good design. My first attempt was to create a direct line with the design team and the customers. I made a presentation called (YaQ – Yet another questionnaire) and shared it with the marketing, design, and management teams. The aim was to redesign some elements from an existing marketing questionnaire and add another opt-in-out mechanism for user studies. I also acquired login to the CRM portal to check and identify customers for studies. I knew the change wouldn't be easy, and I had some friction that could turn into positive conversations. GDPR issues were raised, and with the design manager, we tried to fix and assemble a well-accepted process. As a result, we created the first user database at WK TAA NL and WK TAA UK (Tax and Accounting). The same documentation and presentation slides were also used in different TAA business units, which also worked for them.
Using the user pool in studies?
Another story I want to share about this work experience is that I stopped a release (WK Cloud ID, internally developed). There was a business push for this feature at that time and limited customer benefits. In addition to this, I found out that the AAA (authentication authorization and accounting) microservice wasn't covering the current flows of the Twinfield. I made a heuristics about the flows of Twinfield and turned the document into a gap analysis. This document convinced a product manager to conduct a user study before the release.
We used the user pool and were able to conduct a usability study in a week. The product manager also found participants that were the edge cases (one is from outside of the NL, Curaçao where the company actively has customers). We shared the study results as a presentation and also created clips from the study with improvement points. The product manager and I raised the red flag during the PI meeting (the company was using SAFe, which I do not favor). It was a difficult moment, but some of high management supported our findings, and we postponed the release for two months. That time was enough to improve the UX and UI elements – (not perfecting but fixing the major problems).
Design System and Hackathons
Design Systems were a hot topic at those years (still they are but more commoditized) , and we were sharing some of our components on the Global Slack Channel. One day, the CoE team invited us to their design system efforts. We had several workshops to design workflow design systems with other business units, and here you can see some of my design system contribution (tooltips and charts).
I like joining hackathons because it is a free form of creativity. It could be luck or collecting good people around me; my team won a hackathon twice (coding games). I once convinced a back-ender to join my team by gifting him a six-pack of beer. I hope that it doesn't count as a bribe. The first video is about censoring confidential information with a solution called Blackline
and the second is about reducing churn and providing the next best actions (NBA) for customer consultants.
New products and creating a platform
I also worked on other projects like Twinfield Collaboration, later named Start. Twinfield Start was a collaboration platform between an accounting firm and other companies' financial departments or persons (this changes depending on the company's size). It is an innovation project for extending the existing Twinfield Services. The new platform also has analysis and insights modules – where accountants can detect anomalies or share valuable insights. Here, you can see some design strategy slides.
Lastly, I introduced design sprint to our team to check assumptions quickly. I don't believe that design sprint is a holy method for innovation; however, it can clear the most critical assumptions in a week. I facilitated several design sprints for PSD2 (Payment Service Directive 2 – and relationship with accounting platform) and Automation in Accounting (ML-AI Domain).
I had very skillful colleagues here, but it felt like something other than an international company. My Dutch skills improved because the company culture was domestic, and meetings were mainly in Dutch. When the company became WK TAA, it became more international, and my efforts and output value increased. I understand the importance of inclusion and diversity in this experience.