Design transformation for
software-powered organizations

Remove bottlenecks that are holding back growth. Increase retention through better design, understand what your customers value, and spend sustainably on customer acquisition for long-term growth.

Learn how our world-class consulting team
can transform business outcomes.

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We work with highly experienced consultants that have worked at companies like

Amazon McKinsey & Company IKEA Apple

Transform business outcomes

How a design transformation can change long-term outcomes

Design is a holistic sport that involves thinking about user experience, interaction design, product journeys, pricing, onboarding, landing pages, market positioning, and product strategy.

Improvements to a product can positively impact all areas of a business, from customer support to marketing and sales. You can spend more on marketing if retention is high, sales can bring on more customers if the features being built resonate with potential customers, and it’s easier to provide support for a product that isn’t confusing to the customer.

Design can change everything from how customers perceive you, net profit per employee, your ability to raise another round and company morale.

When software is a core competency, design becomes a competitive advantage.

Make remarkable software

“In the past, brilliant marketing could sell even the most ordinary product. But today, competition is so fierce that you have to create something remarkable in order to succeed.” — Seth Godin

Google Search, for instance, is a remarkable product. It takes minutes to switch from Google to Bing or DuckDuckGo, yet, without any lock-in, Google has incredible retention – measured in decades per user. They've achieved this by consistently and considerably re-investing in their Search business, their core offering, widening the gap enough to disuade any new entrants.
Compare that with Netflix, which let the quality of its library slip, encouraging competition and leading to a 35% share price drop in April of 2022.

When times are great, invest disproportionately in your economic moat to keep acquisition costs low and reinforce the growth cycle.

Look for constraints

The Theory of Constraints is a methodology for identifying the most important limiting factor (i.e. constraint) that stands in the way of achieving a goal and then systematically improving that constraint until it is no longer the limiting factor. (Eli Goldratt, TOC)

This book is required reading in over 1,400 business schools and at Amazon, Boeing, and Hitachi. The principles in the book are taught in the context of a traditional factory setup. However, they translate really well into the software world. Complex software applications can be broken down into distinct user journeys, each step in a journey resembling a machine with a measurable throughput, which is the potential constraint in a system.

When looking for constraints, distinguish between local and global optimizations. Not all improvements will increase global throughput. In other words, improving your product onboarding is somewhat pointless if your landing page is doing a terrible job of driving users to it.

Use limited engineering
resources to do more

Engineering is often the most expensive resource in a software company for obvious reasons, but it doesn’t have to become a constraint. When designing a feature, strategic tradeoffs can bring the go-to market time down from weeks to days.

Getting rid of low-impact specifications in a feature can help you move a lot faster. Low fidelity prototypes can de-risk a design before it ever reaches engineering, and a short-to-medium-term design roadmap is a great way to build momentum.

Half the battle is not working on stuff that doesn’t matter.

Solve multi-disciplinary problems with cross-functional thinking

Collaboration across departments, also known as a cross-functional style of working, is important for innovation because multi-dimensional problems, like the kind technology companies face, require solutions that overlap across business functions.

In large corporations, change is a risk, and predictability is rewarded. Startups, however need to move quicky and challenge commonly held beliefs to be innovative.

Customer support has front-line knowledge about the customer, engineers have an intuition for complexity, marketing can reframe a feature to feel more relevant, and sales can tell you what people really value in your product.

Connecting the dots is your tactical advantage.

Recent work in
Marketing Automation

Broadly is a California-based startup that builds marketing automation software to help local businesses provide great customer experiences. Their mobile app accepts payments, manages reviews, conversations, and even sends campaigns.

We helped Broadly improve their cross-platform (mobile + desktop) applications and dashboard products. Watch the show reel to see some of the work we did with them.

 Play Reel Takes 1min & 28mb of bandwidth

Recent work in
Marketing Automation

Broadly is a California-based startup that builds marketing automation software to help local businesses provide great customer experiences. Their mobile app accepts payments, manages reviews, conversations, and even sends campaigns.

We helped Broadly with their cross platform (mobile + desktop) applications and dashboard products. Play the show reel to see some of the work we did with them.

 Play Reel (1 MIN)

Attention to detail adds up

When it comes to interaction design, you've just got to dive into the miniscule details and do the painstaking work of refinement. It's an obsessive craft where you consider every detail, almost meaningless on their own; working out the exact paddings, margins, font sizes, weights, letter spacings, colors, shadows, and the thousand other details that only really great designers obsess over. These are the thousands of micro-decisions that really no user will ever remark about, but in aggregate, they make interactions feel seamless, delightful, almost magical!

How it works

What makes for a successful design transformation?

Our working style is collaborative, fast-paced, and high-impact. A typical transformation takes 3 months, and while our goals are lofty, the success of a design transformation lies in how well we think about the foundations.

Lifecycle Analysis

The data between acquisition and churn tells an incredible story

Retention is the cheapest customer acquisition. It’s like selling to customers in the store, they’re already here! Spending more on customer acquisition is a waste of resources if your product funnel is leaky. Data can help solve this.

In a connected system, a constraint is the single weakest link that holds back the entire system. As outlined by Eli Goldratt, solving this constraint should become an organizational priority.

Not all data is created equal and is often an unreliable source of truth. Data can be statistically insignificant, miss important vectors, be a lagging indicator or be only locally optimal. While we value data when good data is available, we are careful not to be blinded by it and weigh that data against intuition and experience.

Lifecycle Analysis

The data between acquisition and churn tells an incredible story

Retention is the cheapest customer acquisition. It’s like selling to customers in the store, they’re already here! Spending more on customer acquisition is a waste of resources if your product funnel is leaky. Data can help solve this.

In a connected system, a constraint is the single weakest link that holds back the entire system. As outlined by Eli Goldratt, solving this constraint should become an organizational priority.

Not all data is created equal and is often an unreliable source of truth. Data can be statistically insignificant, miss important vectors, be a lagging indicator or be only locally optimal. While we value data when good data is available, we are careful not to be blinded by it and weigh that data against intuition and experience.

Customer Feedback
& User Testing

Build features customers actually want

The elusive product-market Fit is a spectrum, not an event. By understanding the customer better, deliver more value for every dollar spent and unlock new growth potential. In other words, build features customers actually want.

Read between the lines to understand why retention isn’t improving. While some customers will articulate how they feel about your product perfectly and help you improve, most will be polite and mask negative feedback. Obvious problems might be difficult to spot until you speak with customers and pay close attention.

Making feedback a habit helps you maintain a pulse on product. Digg.com, the homepage of the internet, lost marketshare to Reddit when they made major moves that didn’t resonate with their audience. When things start to take a rough turn, course adjust before it’s too late.

Customer Feedback
& User Testing

Build features customers actually want

The elusive product-market Fit is a spectrum, not an event. By understanding the customer better, deliver more value for every dollar spent and unlock new growth potential. In other words, build features customers actually want.

Read between the lines to understand why retention isn’t improving. While some customers will articulate how they feel about your product perfectly and help you improve, most will be polite and mask negative feedback. Obvious problems might be difficult to spot until you speak with customers and pay close attention.

Making feedback a habit helps you maintain a pulse on product. Digg.com, the homepage of the internet, lost marketshare to Reddit when they made major moves that didn’t resonate with their audience. When things start to take a rough turn, course adjust before it’s too late.

Iterative Approach

An iterative approach builds momentum and reduces risk

It's not only possible to transform a complex product one feature at a time; in fact, it's the better approach. Major re-builds are often a risky “bet the company” move that can backfire by costing more than expected or closing the gap on competitors.

Momentum builds team morale; customers see frequent improvements; sales gets to speak about the constant improvements and new features to potential customers; and while you work on the next thing, the built-up features start to generate returns.

Something appears to be working with your current product. A big redesign can miss what makes your product work well right now, and you risk launching a product that’s less so. With continuous feedback cycles, gauge customer feedback and only build features that matter.

Iterative Approach

An iterative approach builds momentum and reduces risk

It's not only possible to transform a complex product one feature at a time; in fact, it's the better approach. Major re-builds are often a risky “bet the company” move that can backfire by costing more than expected or closing the gap on competitors.

Momentum builds team morale; customers see frequent improvements; sales gets to speak about the constant improvements and new features to potential customers; and while you work on the next thing, the built-up features start to generate returns.

Something appears to be working with your current product. A big redesign can miss what makes your product work well right now, and you risk launching a product that’s less so. With continuous feedback cycles, gauge customer feedback and only build features that matter.

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Dubai

Kumail Hunaid

Lead interaction designer

Kumail is the managing partner and lead interaction designer at Fleet. He’s worked in design and engineering roles at companies like Dubizzle and McKinsey & Company. At Dubizzle, Kumail worked on software serving millions of users, while at McKinsey he supported digital transformation engagements with clients in banking, government, and insurance in the UAE, Johannesburg, Singapore, and Prague.

Roster of expert consultants

Toronto

Alan Abbas

Business and Product Strategy

Alan is a product expert with a decade of experience in product strategy and business operations. Alan's greatest advantage is the incredible breadth of experience he brings, from scaling companies in construction and tourism to managing fulfillment centers for Amazon. Alan takes a data-informed approach and helps transformations with product strategy and operational excellence.

Dubai

Asma Hunaid

User Experience Reseacher

Asma supports design transformations by conducting customer interviews, user tests, interviewing stakeholders and gaining a pulse on product performance. In the past, she's worked at Apple, managed retail outlets and supported a training program to help educators use technology in the classroom.

London

Zubayer Sharif

Business Intellegence

Zubayer is an expert in gathering and anaylzing data to identify trends and patterns required for informed business decisions. He has over a decade of experience and has worked at companies like Amazon, Virgin Mobile, OLX, Just-Eat, and Farmdrop.

Stockholm

Najam Khan

Implementation Consultant

Najam has more than a decade of experience maintaining and scaling enterprise scale cloud systems for companies like IKEA, OLX, and StarzPlay. He’s skilled in modern programming languages and their relevant stacks, like Node, Python, and Java. Najam helps engineering teams make key decisions and strategic trade-offs to keep transformations on track.

The components

This stuff sounds complicated. Let's break it down

There are three distinct phases in a design transformation. We start with a process of discovery, then define an approach and work towards making it all real.

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Get In Touch

Book some time to chat with us and learn more about how a design transformation can help your organization.

Calendly

Approximate project structure

A week by week overview of how we structure our engagements

Approximate project structure

A week by week overview of how we structure our engagements

Discovery Phase
Stakeholder Interviews
Our goal here is to build context around your business, to understand the challenges and complexities you're dealing with, your vision for the future, the key metrics you care about, and learn more about your customers. Stakeholders are generally the chief officers and the heads of product, design, and engineering.
Data gathering
We'll work with your business intelligence team to build project-specific dashboards or run exports to answer key questions that are important to the success of the transformation. For data that hasn't been collected, we'll work with you to identify and setup collection methods.
KPIs. Funnels & Goal Setting
We'll work with your business intelligence team to build project-specific dashboards or run exports to answer key questions that are important to the success of the transformation. For data that hasn't been collected, we'll work with you to identify and setup collection methods.
Customer Interviews
Talking to customers is the best way for us to understand their pains and learn more about what your customers value in your product. While speaking to customers is often very complicated, we think it's worth building out processes that naturally open up pathways for outreach, whether through sales, customer support, or other means.
Direction
Approach
From everything we’ve learned about your business and what the data shows us, we’ll work with you on planning an approach for this project. We’ll prioritize what’s important and create a plan for the upcoming weeks. This is the time to ask the big questions once more: what are we trying to achieve? What would make this transformation a success? What are the key risks and challenges? How will we measure the results in the end?
High fidelity nodes
Complex applications can have hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of relatively unique pages. We'll select the most high-impact user journeys to start with and turn wireframes into high-fidelity mockups. This sets the tone for the rest of the re-design and gives us an idea of what works at the extremes of the application, building confidence that it will translate well into the rest of the application.
User Journey Mapping
Before we can start designing the details of a web application, we need to know at a high level how the application will flow. For existing applications, we can map out what currently exists and then review the flow to identify where improvements can be made, spot redundancies and inefficiencies (eg: funnel leaks).
Aesthetic exploration
At a high level, we break the design process into user journeys, wireframes, and high-fidelity prototypes. The process for greenfield and brownfield projects is quite similar, with differences in implementation. Wireframes are rough sketches that offer us the opportunity to visualize what the end result might look like. It's an easy way to discuss a particular approach and identify flaws before investing time in building out more refined prototypes.
Problem solving workshop
At every stage of the design transformation, we'll schedule feedback sessions with key stakeholders to align on important decisions, collaborate on cross-functional problems, discuss blockers, and review metrics.
Blueprinting & Wireframing
At a high level, we break the design process into user journeys, wireframes, and high-fidelity prototypes. The process for greenfield and brownfield projects is quite similar, with differences in implementation. Wireframes are rough sketches that offer us the opportunity to visualize what the end result might look like. It's an easy way to discuss a particular approach and identify flaws before investing time in building out more refined prototypes.
Design Sprint
High fidelity nodes
Complex applications can have hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of relatively unique pages. We'll select the most high-impact user journeys to start with and turn wireframes into high-fidelity mockups. This sets the tone for the rest of the re-design and gives us an idea of what works at the extremes of the application, building confidence that it will translate well into the rest of the application.
User journey wireframing
At a high level, we break the design process into user journeys, wireframes, and high-fidelity prototypes. The process for greenfield and brownfield projects is quite similar, with differences in implementation. Wireframes are rough sketches that offer us the opportunity to visualize what the end result might look like. It's an easy way to discuss a particular approach and identify flaws before investing time in building out more refined prototypes.
Design feedback sessions
At every stage of the design transformation, we'll schedule feedback sessions with key stakeholders to align on important decisions, collaborate on cross-functional problems, discuss blockers, and review metrics.
Early user testing
At this stage, we're quite happy with our key user journeys and feel quite confident that they'll work well for our customers. But before we go any further, we need to check our intuitions against reality. By performing user tests where randomly selected people are asked to navigate the application journey, we'll get an understanding of how well our work performs in the real world.
Aesthetic Direction
Design feedback sessions
At every stage of the design transformation, we'll schedule feedback sessions with key stakeholders to align on important decisions, collaborate on cross-functional problems, discuss blockers, and review metrics.
High fidelity user journeys
Complex applications can have hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of relatively unique pages. We'll select the most high-impact user journeys to start with and turn wireframes into high-fidelity mockups. This sets the tone for the rest of the re-design and gives us an idea of what works at the extremes of the application, building confidence that it will translate well into the rest of the application.
Implementation consulting
Our implementation consultants can advise on technical decisions, tradeoffs, and approaches. They can help break down larger flows into phases that are easier to deliver on and help with maintaining a high bar of execution for client-facing flows.
Finale
Customer testing
Talking to customers is the best way for us to understand their pains and learn more about what your customers value in your product. While speaking to customers is often very complicated, we think it's worth building out processes that naturally open up pathways for outreach, whether through sales, customer support, or other means.
Iterate
Design audits
Roadmap development
Design transformations are ambitious, and natural constraints like time and engineering throughput will limit how much your engineering team can build during the transformation. A design roadmap is a forward looking document that engineering and product teams can continue to iteratively develop over the coming months. It is a live document that is updated as internal design teams continue to rework existing and new feature sets.
Implementation consulting
Our implementation consultants can advise on technical decisions, tradeoffs, and approaches. They can help break down larger flows into phases that are easier to deliver on and help with maintaining a high bar of execution for client-facing flows.
Handover planning

Engagement styles

Rethink a feature, entire application or build a new thing

Feature Transformation

Great for when you need us to re-think a feature or a specific area of your product.

3 Weeks

  • Scoped to an individual feature or area of the product.
  • Key services:
    1. Data anaylsis
    2. Customer research
    3. Interaction design
    4. User testing
    5. Implementation consulting
  • Key deliverables:
    1. Re-designed application flows
    2. High-fidelity mockups
  • Requires the client to have their own engineering resources.
  • No lock-in, cancel anytime.
Inquire

Design Transformation

Transform business outcomes with a 360° design transformation. Let's flip the script.

3 months

  • Scoped to an entire application's end-to-end experience.
  • Medium to large applications of significant complexity.
  • Key services:
    1. Lifecycle analysis
    2. Customer research
    3. Interaction design
    4. User testing
    5. Implementation consulting
  • Key deliverables:
    1. Updated design language
    2. Internal style guide
    3. Re-designed application flows
    4. High-fidelity mockups
    5. Near-term design roadmap
  • Requires the client to have their own engineering resources.
  • No lock-in, cancel anytime.
Inquire

GREENFIELD

Need us to work on a greenfield product or re-think a vertical? Get in touch for context specific requests.

Non-Standard

Inquire

Book a design transformation

Please tell us more about your product and we’ll hop on a 15-30 minute introductory call (free) to talk through what we can do for your software. You can also email us on contact@fleetglobal.ae.

Skip the form If you’re like us and would rather speed things up by getting on a call, schedule a meeting on our calendar. You can email us on contact@fleetglobal.ae or find a time to talk on Calendly.

Skip the form

If you’re like us and would rather speed things up by getting on a call, schedule a meeting on our calendar. You can also email us and we’ll find a time to talk.

Calendly