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Case study

Smartnumbers Control: Designing an MVP to kickoff Smartnumbers Hub platform


Smartnumbers Control (previously called Voice Continuity Portal) was the first of the web apps I worked on as part of launching the Smartnumbers Hub single platform.

This case study shows the process of how I designed the MVP for Smartnumbers Control, which served as the foundation for the rest of the new platform.

My role

User Research

UX Design

UI Design

The Challenge

Extend the Voice Continuity Portal's lifespan through strategic design enhancements, ensuring its continued relevance and functionality.

With the emergence of new telecoms technologies like SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), the Voice Continuity Portal's relevance was threatened. Customers also couldn't distinguish between BT and Smartnumbers, considering the latter a subsidiary of BT. And our seamless and effective service meant customers were often unaware of any network issues, making it challenging to demonstrate our value. Our main goal was to provide tangible proof of Smartnumbers' indispensable role in safeguarding their communication infrastructure and securing their continued business.


The Voice Continuity Portal

Design Process

User Testing


User research

Internal interviews

I began data gathering by interviewing various internal stakeholders within Smartnumbers' product, sales, account management and customer support departments to gain insight into their frustrations with the Smartnumbers' service, and to hear about any customer concerns they were aware of.

External interviews

I then interviewed existing customers (in-person and remote) to find out first hand what their pain points and motivations were, and what they found useful from the service.

I conducted non-customer interviews through tools like User Interviews and User Testing. Based on the existing user personas, I conducted 5 interviews with telecoms managers and network managers to see what other tools they use and tested which of Smartnumbers' current feature set resonated with them.


I sent out a survey to customer contacts I hadn't interviewed to gather more specific feedback on the service, asking questions targeting the overall usefulness of the VC Portal's features, their motivations for using the app, and a wishlist of features they'd like to see.

Historical data

I looked at historical customer feedback and service reviews gathered over the years to further help identify the problems to tackle first.


Smartnumbers Customer Support Agent


Enterprise Applications / Telecoms Manager

Network / Telecoms Analyst


Affinity mapping

Based on the data I created an affinity map which distilled all of the responses into clusters or categories.  This helped me to identify recurring themes, pain points, desires, and motivations expressed by the users.


Key problems


Customers didn't know what value they were getting from the service


Users hadn't heard about Smartnumbers, they only knew about BT


Customers didn't know when a failure occurred, and so couldn't identify the part of their network to fix


Users wanted better insight into what their inbound calls are doing


Users were contacting Support all the time to make even the smallest changes and activate plans, which was very time consuming


Users wanted a way to activate plans when they don't have access to a computer. Calling the plan activation admin number worked well but was limited and took time


In general users found the product outdated and wanted a product more in line with other SaaS tools


Creative collaboration


I ran a workshop to involve the whole cross-functional team early on in the design process.

My goal was to make sure everyone felt aligned on what we were trying to achieve with this project and to benefit from the diverse ideas of our team members. We did a quick crazy 8's exercise to come up with new ideas about how to tackle the various user problems we had identified. This exercise works well to make team members feel heard and see their contributions from the outset.

Ideas were captured as cards and grouped by feature set.


Establish the MVP


I created an MVP matrix (Impact/Effort) to help prioritise which features to build as part of a first release.


The most feasible feature cards were mapped to the matrix, and the PM and I were able to identify which features would have the biggest impact with the least effort.


The core features identified were:

Call routing table (Import and export)

Plans (Create, edit and change active plan)

Reports & insights (Export)

Audit trail (Export uploaded call routing table)

Impact vs Effort

Information architecture


User flows





Design System


High-fidelity designs

The call routing table is the main feature in Smartnumbers Control. It displays all the numbers in the service as well as all of the different failover routes for each number.


As part of the MVP, the ability to export and import the table meant users could edit their routes in an external spreadsheet programme like Excel and we could worry about building an edit feature later. The user could at least get numbers in, and could just re-import any edited file.

IVRs and announcements as destinations were already a feature in VC Portal, and so it was low effort to visually distinguish them in the table with an audio icon.

I used colour coding to show which routes are available as part of an active plan. The addition of a tertiary failover route gives the customer added piece of mind and makes their network even more resilient against call failures.

I also designed it in line with the new branding, to visually separate Smartnumbers from their primary sales channel BT.

Call routing table
Import summary

Users can still choose to edit their routing table in another program like Excel and then import the .xlsx file. The approval feature was removed as the VC Portal usage analytics actually showed that it was never used by customers, except as part of the editor's final check in their routing table edit process. So the new solution features a summary view at the end of the import process for when users import their routing table.


The Plans feature gives users up to 9 different routing scenarios. The addition of the Tertiary route for automatic rerouting in the event of failure gives even more resilience to a customer's network.

The web app is responsive and optimised for mobile devices so that users can log in and activate plans on the go.

Reports & insights

The Reports & Insights feature provides telecoms / network analysts a detailed view of their inbound call traffic. Customers can identify where they experienced a network issue on their network, and see exactly when Smartnumbers' automatic rerouting feature saved the day so that calls were never missed.

Audit trail

This feature would give the user historical information about what changes have been made to their service and by whom. This is especially useful for maintaining accountability. The download button would allow the user to export the routing service associated with the activity, so that it's easy to roll back to a previous version.



​High-fidelity designs were linked together as functional prototypes ready for user testing.


User Testing

I tested the prototype with active users of the VC Portal as well as users outsourced through User Testing and User Interviews. I also tested the prototype with Smartnumber's customer support agents who maintain customer's routing tables for them.

The tests were moderated tests whereby I gave the user a set of tasks to perform and then monitored their process.

I conducted the following tests:

Remote video call with 4 customer users and 5 outsourced users

In-person with 2 customer users

In-person with 4 Smartnumbers customer support agents

Data was fed back into the design process and I made iterations. Once we were confident with the MVP I worked closely with the PM to create stories for build and launch.

Outcomes & Impact

This was a great project to be involved in and was the stepping stone to creating the feature-rich platform we have today. Many more features have since been added to Smartnumbers Control since the MVP.

Some metrics below highlight the success of the MVP and show how well we addressed the user problems:


Number of customers who re-signed contracts and fully migrated from the legacy platform over to Hub


Reduction in customer churn rate due to improved confidence in the product and perceived benefits

Smartnumbers Control is still being sold and gave us the extended revenue tail we needed to be able to invest in new technologies and build new products.

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