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A new mobile communication service created to meet the needs of users

NTT DOCOMO's mobile communication service "ahamo" began operations in March 2021. FOURDIGIT was involved as a design partner with the service design and the creation of its website and app. The main target demographic we aimed for was the young age group known as “Generation Z”, who are referred to as “digital natives”. The service offers a simple and straightforward user experience in which everything from contract applications to customer support can be completed online. This service received the Good Design Award for 2021.
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A simple communication service that is ideal for the younger generation

Until now, mobile communication services were designed to meet the diverse needs of people of all ages. As a result, service plans were often complicated. Many of them were also intended for use by families. In response, NTT DOCOMO decided to launch a new, simpler mobile communication service that is easy for individuals to use, with the main target demographic being the younger generation who will be entering the workforce. As the first step in service design, a workshop was held for the purpose of understanding users.

Listening to users while refining service

The three-day workshop began with interviews of people in the “Generation Z” age group. In addition to conducting a multifaceted survey of Generation Z's preferences regarding smartphone use, it was an opportunity for all members involved in the project to each share their own understanding of users prior to specific examination of user experience. We then discussed what the service should be like. The hypotheses derived from this discussion will be presented to Generation Z to see whether it can arouse sympathy for the service. Furthermore, in the screen design process, we refined the UX by having Generation Z users actually touch the prototypes we created to prevent any deviation from the ideal state. This is how ahamo’s complete online service experience took shape.

Embodying the worldview of the service with detailed design and a sense of fun

The concept that runs through the UI and UX is "don't hide information, don't make it confusing, and don't force it on the user". Unlike stores, online services cannot provide direct support from staff, so we are striving to make it easy for users to complete operations by themselves. During the development process, we set a high goal of "completing the application in three minutes" and conducted various verifications to ensure that operations could be done with ease and confidence. In addition, with regard to on-screen text, we precisely defined the words and tone that should be used for each situation, aiming for consistent use of expressions that users can understand easily.

Visually speaking, we conducted a great deal of research to define the ideal worldview, taking into account both the tastes of Generation Z and NTT DOCOMO's identity. The theme is “freedom, enjoyment, excitement, inspiration”. The wave motif used throughout is based on the curved lines in the brand's logo mark. A total of eight different color combinations are displayed at random to represent the theme. We also made a point to use include things that would make people become fans of the brand, such as using characters that are not only cute but also have a bit of an "edge" to them. We are continuing to devise ways to maintain the excitement level throughout the service experience without interruption.

Furthermore, in order to express a unified worldview in all three areas of the website (brand, application, and product), which each have different architectures, the JavaScript framework React was used as the main tool, but processing suited to each area was added. The depicted experience is incorporated into the implementation.

Achieving a unified vision in a large organizational structure

Working in a system involving over 100 engineers, all parts of the website were designed as components and cataloged using Storybook in order to create a unified experience across all aspects of the service. At the same time, by clarifying the design guidelines, we established a system that enables high-quality coding even in a large-scale development environment.

On top of that, a Design Headquarters (DHQ) was established jointly with the client as a cross-functional organization to scrutinize all experiences. Quality of both service and design is ensured in that it gets seen by the product owner, as well as UX designers and tech professionals in each area. DHQ also plays the role of driving implementation of additional development and functional improvements after the service is released as well, and continues to function as the cornerstone of the project to continuously update the service.




Takehiro SUENARI
Nozomu NITTA , Miwa HORIUCHI , Takehiro TAGUCHI , Takayuki SAKIMOTO
Tomohiro SUGA , Yu MATSUBARA , Ryotaro NAGASU , Iori HARADA
Yasuhide ARAI , Sou WATANABE
Taro UEDA , Pengjun LIU
Yurika WATANABE , Jitsupa Nonthavit , Arisa TERUI , Ungyon IWAMURA
Kanon KAKUNO , Naoya KASAI
Nguyễn Cao Phúng , Huỳnh Gia Nghi , Nguyễn Trung Hiếu , Lê Kim Quý


NTT DATA Corporation


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