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In early 2018, CVS Pharmacy was transitioning some of their teams from the waterfall development process to agile, scrum or extreme programming (XP). Their mobile app at the time, built by a third party while ago, was a hub to access most of their services like prescriptions, store, and minute clinic to name a few. I hypothesized that users were not aware of the tools the mobile app offers to enhance their experience in or out a CVS Pharmacy store.

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The CVS app home screen and its modules upon my arrival (early 2018).

I was the UX Lead designer on an extreme programming team comprised of 2 product managers, 1 UX designer, 5 iOS developers, 5 Android developers, and a QA engineer. I was responsible for determining the new experience for the mobile app, with an emphasis on user personalization (per business request), while collaborating with the rest of the team on feedback and validation.

After user research studies that involved in-person interviews and un-moderated usertesting.com sessions, we discovered that users were interested in most of the current functions of the app but the way they were displayed was too cluttered making it confusing to use or understand. Also, in ideation sessions, we went through several different concepts that ultimately did not get approval from the business side due to how goals were prioritized.

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New features I root for: 1) The search input is not only for products but for everything related to CVS such as prescriptions, clinic visits, stores, etc. 2) An in-store mode where users can search for the location of the products they want to buy. 3) Coupons are no longer needed to be sent to the ExtraCare card. 4) A proper notification strategy regarding prescription pick-ups, products on sale, clinic visit reminder, and others.

There was a lot of whiteboarding. Unfortunately, many photos of those sessions were taking with corporate phones. I notice that some of my peers didn't know about native app design especially the navigational structure. It took a while to spread this knowledge across each CVS department (prescriptions, deals & rewards, minute clinic, etc). The way the company set up its pods were a bit odd. It wasn't feature-based pods, it was more department based where the teams didn't communicate with each other. Everyone was doing its own thing and that's why the previous version of the app looks like 5 apps in one.

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Defining a native navigation structure for the CVS Pharmacy mobile app.

The top priority was to revamp the UI of the app, aiming for consistency on the overall experience and applying best practices on each platform (iOS and Android) where ever we can. CVS has a defined design system that was focused on web development making the app look and feel like a mobile website. Our plan included new definitions for the design system regarding native app development.

We conducted additional user research on the revamped UI screens, which showed an increase in readability and findability compared to the previous version of the app. Users were able to find and use sections of the app the couldn't identify before.

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Onboarding + features of the new home screen experience.

Because users were now able to use and understand the majority of the mobile app, daily active users increased by 47%. Sales increased 8% on average. The app reviews have skewed positive and c-sat survey scores have increased.

Despite the constrains a big corporation implied over its production teams and the fact that the company works with altered versions of agile frameworks, we realized that features desired by customers that pursue business goals can be achieved.

CVS Pharmacy needs more flexibility in the usage of its brand. As an example, the app icon was a discussion held for the entire year I was working with them. I suggested the recommended approach of ICON + LABEL. CVS brand department didn't allow it to happen despite how redundant is.

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At the left, it is my proposal. At the right is the actual app icon.

NOTE: On late November 2018, CVS vice presidents decided to copy Walgreens mobile app behavior. We end up enclosing each module into a home screen that gives the user access to those features. This is the app that you can currently download and it was featured in the banner of this page.

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