CQ Roll Call is DC’s largest and most trusted legislative tracking company. CQ Plus was one the company's most ambitious and inovative projects since its creation in 1945. With several months of research and interviews with our core users, we found that CQ.com was not just an informative news site, but a site that helpped legislative influencers do there jobs. We found that a large percentage of our users were gathering information from our site then copying and pasting that information into Word to generate reports and presentations. CQ Plus’ goal was to eliminate that manual work, and create a seamless way for user to marry their content with power of CQ’s data. CQ Plus offers many of the same features as CQ.com with several key differences. CQ Plus allowed for users to create custom metadata and notes then use that information to seamlessly generate reports that would dynamically update overtime.
I wore several hats throughout this year long process. First we needed to find the pain points within the current product. To figure out these pain points we spoke with account executives, and call center employees. These are our firsts lines of defense when it comes to customer problems. We meet with them periodically to get insight from their perspective. We meet with customers and performed user interview, set in on sales pitches, and just talked with them to better understand how CQ fits into their day to day activity. Then lastly dug into analytics and used the site as if we were the primary users.
After figuring out the pain points we needed to figure out how to fix them. Within this research and discovery period we began to shape what this product would later become. We discovered that users were relying heavily on searching, and custom created alerts to find what we're looking for. We also noticed that many of them were confused why certain items were in one place and not another. We fixed these issues, by improving search suggestions, and results. We also created six key aggregation page types which helped us to better group together related information. These aggregation pages included items like bills, members, committees, topic areas, and votes.
Once these ideas were flushed out and requirements and Agile development stories were starting to be written, the user experience, and product design teams began to shape what CQ Plus would look like. In this stage there were tons of whiteboarding sessions, wireframing, prototyping, and further researching. We finally can up with the design building blocks for the rest of the project.
After enough of the site was complete, and we had a stable production environment we began to shop our new and improved product around to customers to gain further insight and test our ideas. During this step we created a feedback loop where we would build products, get feedback, rinse and repeat.
By all accounts CQ Plus was huge success. We were able to create a modern, collaborative, and powerful legislative tool that was unlike any of the products in the market. Customers who used the product were blown away by the time they could save, and how easy and powerful it was. Over the next year CQ was able to generate over seven figures from CQ Plus, increase renewal rates, and gain new customers from our competitors.
Check out some of our more popular products. These design were created by me, and t-shirts are printed at SustainU in Morgantown, West Virginia