Challenge

Accenture Corporate Citizenship partnered with Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD), one of UK’s oldest and largest disability-focused civil society organizations. LCD’s Access to Livelihoods (A2L) program assists people with disabilities seeking employment in Africa and Asia, and provides training and career guidance.

The current information retrieval process for the A2L program includes identification, registration, and assessments. The manual process is not an engaging experience for job seekers with disabilities, or an efficient process for LCD, and leads to beneficiaries dropping out of the process. While the work is relevant globally, our initial focus was on the A2L program in India.

Strategy and Solution

Accenture worked with Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) in an iterative design thinking approach over two 4-week phases to build a virtual registration assistant named Nandini to support job seekers with varied disabilities to digitally register themselves in an easy, engaging, and accessible manner.

Human-centered

The team created a Persona and Empathy Map for their user named Lakshmi. These methods helped the project understand their user, and enabled the team to focus on a manageable and memorable cast of characters, and design for a specific somebody, rather than a generic everybody.

Multi-disciplinary team

The ACIT Norway Cloud Studio team is a multi-disciplinary team with resources from Accenture Technology, Digital, and Security. The team's diversity is one of its strengths; working with people with different backgrounds and skills helps the team see the bigger picture and think outside the box.

This prototype, while primarily driven from Norway, was a real cross-studio initiative including key resources from the Spain, India and US Cloud Studios collaborating in a distributed manner – working together with key client stakeholders in the United Kingdom and India.

"When fully implemented, we expect the solution to significantly scale our reach and enable additional custom-tailored services to be offered."

– ALESSANDRA FURTADO, Assistant Director International Resourcing & Development at Leonard Cheshire Disability

Prototype driven and iterative-phase 1

The initial 4 weeks resulted in a high-fidelity prototype that covered aspects of the registration process where the focus was on creating an engaging experience, accessible for the target users.

Design thinking workshop in London

Initial creative workshop in London, UK, to ideate on concept and define scope. Attendees from LCD UK and India, as well as Accenture Corporate Citizenship and ACIT Cloud Studio.

Low-fidelity prototyping solution design and prototyping

  • Refined concepts from the initial workshop, creating and iterating paper & digital wireframes.
  • Initial working html prototype, focusing on including key components for questions, progress and gamification.

Usability testing and high-fidelity prototype

  • On-site usability testing at Accenture India offices to evaluate and get feedback.
  • Refined solution from usability testing outcomes. Implemented additional intelligent features to better guide the user through the registration process.

Prototype driven and iterative-phase 2

Virtual design workshop & refine design and content

  • Online workshop with key stakeholders to align on scope for the second phase, and determine focus areas.
  • Refined solution based on findings and feedback from the first phase. New iterations on design and user experience.

Initial speech to text & client site usability testing

Connected to Watson Speech-to-Text, and did some preliminary testing. Design and flow decisions finalized. Usability testing at client site in India with real end users, providing real insights on how users interact with the solution.

Minimum viable product

Test with assistive devices, more testing with end users in India, and final improvements and fixes based on feedback from usability tests.

Transformation

The expected results are happier, more engaged users with less drop-outs during and after registration, as well as reduced time spent by LCD staff, increased data quality, and the primary goal: getting more people into decent and relevant jobs.

Nandini leverages the IBM Bluemix Platform along with IBM Watson Conversation, Tone Analyzer, Text-to-Speech and Speech-to-Text services.

  • Guiding Virtual Agent: Nandini guides the job seeker through six sections of questions, through one of 80+ paths, based on the users’ profiles and their replies to her questions. She provides job-matching based on user profile (mocked).
  • Adaptative and Natural Dialogue: Throughout the process, Nandini provides multiple choice answers, responds to requests for help, analyzes the users emotional state (eg., satisfaction, frustration, engagement), and gives examples and reasoning behind her questions. She also visualizes the progress, and makes sure the user stays engaged.
  • Low Vision Accessibility: The entire solution is keyboard navigable and WCAG 2.0 AA compliant, with screen reader support and high contrast for users with low vision. It is also tested with different assistive devices.
  • Audio Interface: Nandini supports text-to-speech (she will speak to the user) and speech-to-text, where the user has the option to speak back instead of typing the response on multiple choice questions.
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