At USAA I helped transition the call center reps from ‘green screen’ client terminals to user-friendly desktop applications. We used web-based technology — still client-server, but updated for the 00’s.

The organization I hired into was called Performance Centered Design — our job was to make the representatives more effective in the job, whatever that entailed. Sometimes it was just observing workflow and recommending macros or desktop window arrangement, or color contrast on the terminal screens.  We had a partner ergonomics group we worked with to optimize their work area as well–I recall working with them to evaluate the new ‘flat screen’ monitors that were just coming out.  USAA was where I built my user research skills; I was able to walk across the hall anytime to do observation or contextual inquiry. We also had a state of the art usability lab, where we tested with employees, so I got a lot of experience usability testing there.

The major project I worked on was the Policy Administration System, updating and improving the core business system for managing member insurance policies.

This was a major, multi-million dollar project, and there was a large team of business analysts, project managers, program managers, and subject matter experts on the team going through all the business logic, writing detailed use cases.  I worked on the user interface design. Using ‘dynamic HTML’ (what they called HTML + javascript + CSS back then) I was able to quickly mock up many different options, in clickable prototypes, to get user feedback and team buy in.

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I tried a number of different layouts: windowed, hyperlinks, tabs (vertical or horizontal), buttons, etc. The users generally liked the ‘one long form’ with keyboard shortcuts to the major sections. This was likely a bias against new page loading times common at the time, although not as big a factor in this internal application.
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I also worked on the first usability test of the web site, even though this was before self-service was available– it was mostly educational content. USAA has fully embraced the web and mobile customer experience and is a leader in customer satisfaction (I later found when I was with another company, attending a Corporate Board Customer Experience conference).

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