Wavemaker case study

Wavemaker – using machine learning to create media plans more efficiently

  • Client
  • Agency
  • Role
    ACD, Product Design
  • Tasks
    UX, UI, prototyping (interactions and webgl animations)
Wavemaker dashboard Wavemaker dashboard - brand list

Media planning agency Wavemaker approached Mirum to design a media planning tool, that using machine learning would allow users to build audience profiles and media plans in a fraction of the time it would normally take.

Wavemaker had created a neural net capable of running over 100,000 real life simulations in seconds, shaving weeks off the time it normally takes to create a media spend plan. With the launch just a few months away they came to the realisation that the software they’d developed was nearly impossible for the average user to use. Our job was to fix that.

Besides working on the immediate tasks that a user would typically do when using this tool, we wanted to connect the work that each user was doing with the larger network, allowing people to reach out to other users who had knowledge relevant to them.

Our aim was to create an intuitive user experience that our target group would ask to use rather than be forced to use, and we began restructuring the product’s information architecture along with interaction patterns to make sure we were providing an consistent and coherent user experience.

Architecture and flows
Our first task was to restructure the product information architecture together with the client.
Navigational components
That structure was used to create a set of 6 different navigational components ensuring consistency across the various areas of the product.

One of our biggest efforts was to constantly make sure that the user understood what was asked of them through every step of every journey. We needed to drastically simplify every interaction pattern and found ourselves drawing inspiration from unconventional sources like music apps rather than competitors.

With around 10 designers working in tandem between two countries we needed a collaborative tool and a fundamental design library to ensure visual consistency to all the work

An almost no-brainer in these COVID days, but not such an obvious choice back then, we landed on Figma as our design tool of choice as it eliminated any version history issues and ensured everyone was always looking at the latest designs. We had daily stand-ups to go through new work, and weekly design sessions to discuss limitations or challenges any of us were experiencing with modules or components.

Design library
Halfway there screenshot: The design library was maintained on the go, with regular check-ins across the teams to make sure everyone was on-board and using the components right. To add new modules a designer would simply add them to the WIP pile and they’d be discussed and potentially tweaked during the next check-in session.

The impact

The tool is now live in 62 markets and currently used by roughly 3,500 people. Before Wavemaker OS, a media plan would take 2 planners, on average, 2 days to complete. With the tool it now takes a single planner 15 minutes.

“The tool has changed the way we work and collaborate as a business, it has delivered efficiencies in key areas of our business as well as facilitating new capabilities for our clients. It has been instrumental in our pitches, in retaining and growing our current clients since it launched. We’ve had such great feedback from users – with usage across over 60 markets - and it’s become a unique differentiator for us.”
Rob Marshall – Head of Product Design, Global Product Solutions

By far one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever worked on. There’s nothing quite like joy you get from turning a complex task into a simple interaction.

Campaigns overview - day view
To the list of planned campaigns we added a calendar view inspired by Logic and Garageband, allowing the user to zoom in and out, quickly moving from day-by-day view to seeing everything that’s going on during a whole year.
Audience builder - grouping step 1 Audience builder - grouping step 2
One of the bigger tasks was the audience formula builder, which originally used a bracket-style condition syntax familiar to most developers, and illegible to most non-developers. We created a new visual language to help the users better understand the conditions.
To avoid ending up with static infographics, a set of rules dictating animation behaviour was set up and prototypes for the development team to follow.