Bringing Two Worlds Together with UX

March 24, 2014
Andrew Baird

Telx’s MarketplacePORTAL houses over 4,000 unique users per month, and the site offers many, diverse functionalities from standard data center management tools to social networking matchmaking mechanisms. With all of these features, one would expect it could get quite confusing to find what you’re looking for.

For many years the MarketplacePORTAL acted as the place where Telx customers could order new cross connects, audit their facility inventory, check invoices, and open trouble tickets. When the Telx Marketplace was born, there was a choice to either create a stand alone website and hope there would be enough traction to warrant its existence, or to attempt and mingle the Marketplace concept within an already functional site for a focused purpose.

The challenge of bringing together operational and business users to the same site required some thought. After all, a technician who wants to quickly open a trouble ticket doesn’t want to navigate through what they believe to be a bunch of “marketing fluff”, and likewise, a Marketplace visitor who wants to know which cable providers are Telx customers in 111 8th Avenue NY NY doesn’t want to spend too much time navigating through a site that doesn’t appear to house the answers they are looking for.

A Marketplace and a Customer Portal.

To bring both of these worlds together, Telx got some help from UX design experts, Globant. For a year, Telx and Globant worked with its customers, specifically with users who identified as having operational or business roles within their companies. In the beginning, Telx and Globant would interview its website users over the phone, and then an interactive webinar was provided to see the users’ interactions as they navigated various tasks on the site.

After the initial research was complete, the UX process continued with defining user flows and personas, creating wireframes, and then the beginnings of constructing an interactive prototype. Eventually, a higher fidelity HTML prototype was created, and users were able to simulate real MarketplacePORTAL tasks. Tasks were designed to make sure business users and operational users could find what they were looking for quickly and intuitively without frustration. Changes to the overall MarketplacePORTAL design were made based on these user interactions.

Today, we are starting to see these features launch in the MarketplacePORTAL. A new Technical Support ticket feature, for example, was recently launched and it now includes the ability for users to add multiple users for ticket follow up so everyone can be in the know of what happens with the life of a support ticket, not just the user who opened the ticket. Also, the MarketplacePORTAL will unveil new enhancements for business users, namely searching the Telx ecosystem without having to login, in time for MarketplaceLIVE East 2014.

Features for All.

The MarketplacePORTAL has been optimized to meet the needs of the operational and business user, and it also has features that benefit both sets of users. For example, 451 Research provides industry insight, including outlooks and predictions on data center and cloud growth in 2014, exclusively to users of the MarketplacePORTAL on the site’s dashboard.

Also, attendees of the MarketplaceLIVE shows can use the MarketplacePORTAL to see who is attending, and use the site to message and setup meetings for the day of the show.

More features are planned to meet the demands of the diverse user group of the MarketplacePORTAL. Look out for more announcements soon!

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