Revising the order overview, that enables to keep track of production processes and activities.
Fully responsible of the UX-UI design of the solution.
January 2021 – April 2021
A short heads up
Since I’m bounded to a nondisclosure agreement, there are no specific client- or team member names mentioned throughout the portfolio and case studies. When names do show, there are additional agreements made with the client/person at hand. Some designs are distorted to meet the agreement.
Sketches, designs and concepts are copyrighted by Linx-IT Solutions bv. All rights reserved.
Thank you for understanding!
Overview to track production activities and orders
Linx is part of a full service company, primarily for marketing communications of retail chains. One of our sister companies focus themselves around the production of those materials.
In the past, an order overview was created. Functioning to track and get all production activities for their clients done, before their deadlines. Back then, the need for such an overview was high and came around the corner rapidly.
Idea exploration and come up with a detailed design
Markets, processes, and needs change over time. The current order overview has fallen out of context since all of these three points have made the shift. Unfortunately, it no longer fits in the process as it currently is established.
Receiving the question from the CEO to tackle the problem, explore possibilities, identify issues related to the project, and finally, come up with a detailed design.
Ensuring recognition and improved user experience
There already is a tool that provides the users assistance with keeping track of production processes. Since the users have integrated the current tool within their daily workflow, despite the fact that it generates multiple pain points, the challenge is to make sure they recognize the tool in a way, with improved UX and a better fit within the current landscape.
Who it’s for
Project managers and production process managers
Overall, for our sister company. The primary users of the eventual tool are their project managers and lead production process trackers. Secondly, DTPers, graphical designers, and everyone else that is involved with, and needs overview of all production processes, are those for which the tool is created for.
My responsibility during this project was to explore and iterate on possibilities. I was in full charge of the user experience and -interface design. In the first stages of the project, I did thorough end-user research and aligned the business needs with those of the users and other relevant stakeholders involved.
The process – part 1
Research and exploring possibilities
How we started of
First iterations, only little constraints
The goals of the first iterations were to explore possibilities, with the idea to eventually replace or revise the current order overview, with generated concepts.
To understand the problems, I consulted the experts, users and stakeholders involved in the current overview. I wanted to gain knowledge on the user- and business goals.
Accessible research opportunities
This was the perfect opportunity for qualitative research. Due to the fact that I had access to our sister company’s employees, I was able to gain insight on the users their experiences, motivations, pain points, and workflow.
Research, empathize, validation
Digital oriented meetings and information gathering sessions
At the beginning of the project I had the chance to talk to both project manager and CEO to understand the scope, question, and gain first insights. The pandemic influenced the contact with users. Primarily, contact was established throughout digital communication, instead of face-to-face.
By the use of qualitative research methods, I was able to gain the insight on the users, and understand their motivations, pain points and experiences better. Personas flow from the translated research results.
Through the gathered info from this point and the created personas, it was time to move on and identify the user-/task flows and user journey map. This to be ahead of potential pain points, and visualize opportunities efficiently.
User journey maps
Ideation starting point
Eventually, once all information was analyzed, synthesized, and mapped out – in order to meet all identified user needs and business goals – I started working on the ideation sessions.
Ideation and sketching
Exploring possibilities and iterating on concepts
With a thorough brainstorm session – inspired by scrum boards and similar software solutions – a clear overview of possible functionalities, that address identified pain points came around the corner. While challenging assumptions, asking questions, and using the research results to strengthen ideas, I started iterating on possible solutions by the use of sketching.
Aiming for contextual control
During the sketching, I guided myself with research results towards a solution, where every user has the maximum, most contextual control over the production process.
UI and visual design
Design inspiration retrieved from scrum entities
By retrieving inspiration out of scrum-like tools, while shaping it to fit the current context and process, we created the first few versiona of the user interface, via visual design.
We used the final visual design iteration to explore possibilities to solve the eventual problem, in an efficient and effective way. Also mainly for the fact that more input will be delivered later during the project. Since we already had a good idea who the users are, we started and created this design solution. During the creation, we stayed open-minded for what the future might bring.
Design and prototype
Project- and task management
This part of the solution was mainly created for solving the pain points regarding the current order overview. We made sure that all users involved, could keep track of all production related activities via this tool. Providing detailed briefings and corrections, in a visual way, strengthened the overall workflow.
The meeting tracker
The meeting tracker was based on research, input, and insights that were discovered a little later. Although the additional information came in later, it enabled me to cover all researched pain points. It also helped me exploring more relevant scenarios where the designed solutions could be of help.
The process – part 2
Creating a valuable solution
Continuing the journey
Channeling earlier gained insights to the perfect fit
By the use of the explored design solutions, we continued our journey. Now that we had a great sense of what can be achieved, while also providing ourselves with detailed, context fitting inspiration, we started additional meet ups and calls, channeling the insights and first final design towards the perfect fit for the question, regarding the production overview.
Empathize and iterate
Consulting previous knowledge and additional information
While insights were channeled, previous created sketches and the designed solution were addressed, I extended the concept to even more context fitting solutions. I continued to talk with stakeholders, users and the CEO. Which ensured me to integrate all the additional gained information in a rapid, effective way.
Empathizing with stakeholders
Since the final design of part 1 of the case was an massive amount of development, we empathized even more with the stakeholders involved. We wanted to use the part 1 design for further iterations, for the current order overview. We reshaped it in a way, where it fits the context, user- and business needs, while being a much lower development time-consuming solution.
Sketching solutions with configurability in mind
Once everything was aligned and mapped out, I started the next session of ideation and sketching. The aim was to create a design that would be as much configurable as possible, since we wanted to keep development times low, to launch the new module quickly. I also focused on maintaining points of recognition, in order to make the transition to the new module more fluent for the users.
UI and visual design
Ensuring a recognizable design and smooth transition
Finalizing the project by designing the user interface. Using previous synthesized research results, in combination with additional insights, helped me to establish a relevant and great user experience, with a recognizable UI. Stronger visual hierarchy, lower visual complexity, and overall much more refreshing to look at.
Conversations and interviews
Consistent contact with all involved stakeholders
All the way through the project, I had conversations and interviews with all stakeholders involved, to ensure needs were aligned and work alongside one another.
Crucial part of strategy
Since the project was spread across a longer timeline, it was crucial for me to take this plan of action. Because needs and information could change over time. It enabled me to include all gained insights. Even when they came in, or were discovered later on.
What I’ve learned
A big challenge
During the exploration of possible outcomes, I had only little constraints. Because of this freedom, I had a few moments during the process where I lost sight of the objective, since every option could be considered.
My biggest challenge
Finding balance and alignment between the 2 primary users of the product order overview. Their needs were rather close to one another in most cases, while in edge-cases, their needs interfered.
A great lesson
How incredibly valuable qualitative interviews are. During the project, the talks with the users, CEO and stakeholders provided so much valuable data. I learned a lot about how people act, work, and think within a production process.
The importance of visual hierarchy and consistent layouts. During review/feedback sessions, I discovered that by good implementation, people in general are able to intuitively navigate and scan through a product.