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Framing

Framing

Framing the problem is essential to creating the correct solution. All of my research, analysis, and design is done in the context of the business, technology and user.

The following posts describe framing:

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Simplification

Simplification

Many companies that build enterprise applications add a lot of features to their product. As the number of features increases the complexity and friction increases. Part of the challenge of designing for these systems is that companies do not desire to remove the features because clients are using or asking for them. However, clients also want their system to be as simple as a mobile phone app. This requires a practical approach to designing new features into the system.

  1. Reduce
  2. Organize
  3. Speed Up
  4. Clarify

I have 20 years of experience working with organizations to design and simplify highly complex systems. With these four ideas in mind, I am able to guide the product team to elegant solutions.

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Customer Experience Analysis

Customer Experience Analysis

Project Customer Experience Analysis
Assess the utility and usability of the online experience for users at online banks, brokerages and retail sites. This is a heuristic analysis done with a domain expert and a user experience expert.
CEA
Provides valuable insight into the design of the overall experience of the website offered by the customer.
Research The customer experience research focused on 3 to 6 tasks selected by the customer, such as opening an account online. For each task a primary and secondary persona were selected. Research was done with an expert from the industry that understood the company’s competition and customer base. Usability analysis was performed from a list of heuristic points.
Analysis The analysis walked through each task in detail. The primary persona’s story was written across each page so the customer can understand the flow through the site. Along each page, call outs were made for each utility or usability item that deserved attention. After each task was analyzed, a general analysis of the findings was combined to highlight issues and challenges.
Deliverable The project was delivered with a presentation to the client team. Four or five 11X17 bound booklets were delivered to be shared among team members.
Clients can use customer experience analysis as a starting point for internal discussions. It is useful to have a 3rd party review and document what they encountered in the specific tasks using the application and website. One client I worked with kept a box full of the documents and whenever someone came to discuss the site she would […]

Goals Vision Workflow
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Personas & Workflow Analysis

Personas & Workflow Analysis

Project Persona and workflow analysis for a new execution management system.
Personas
The persona development was done as part of the research for the design of the next generation execution management system (EMS). The project aimed to cover the list and hedge trader base as well as expand into the institutional block trading space.
Research Research the institutional block trader activities, goals, needs and behaviors to create a summary for the team.
Challenge The institutional block trader was a new trader profile not well covered by the existing set of products. The team was distributed across the US and the globe and required a common understanding of who and what we were trying the achieve. Additionally, information was needed to contrast this trader profile with the more well known traders in the hedge markets and institutional list trading arena.
Solution Product managers were assigned to help connect with current customers who were interested in block trading. Research began with internal traders with experience in the space. These traders walked through the day-in-a-life of a block trader. They described what they did from the time the woke up, moments before the market opened, market open, the day, the time before market close, and after the market closed until he went to sleep. The trader was video taped to share the workspace and environment with those who could not attend. Activities were broken down and the triggering events analyzed to understand why the trader was doing what he was doing. This information was then verified across other traders. Changes were made and variations noted. The profile of […]

HR Compensation
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Product Design Research

Product Design Research

Project Product Design Research for an HR Compensation module
Design a Compensation module that integrates with the HR application and meets the needs of companies with under 20,000 employees.
HR Domain Model
Design a compensation module that allows an organization to follow their workflow and standards with a system that is easy to install and configure.
Research A baseline was set with general research on compensation through documents and books in the industry. Research into competitors by looking for potential partners gave insight into how other vendors approached the compensation problem. Further identification of the main personas and clarification of their roles and tasks helped create a picture for which we were designing the application. Additional research was performed by gathering together a customer advisory board (CAB).  This subset of customers provided onsite interviews and observations to demonstrate how they currently performed the compensation tasks. Additional conference calls and video-conferences were performed to clarify and validate the ideas and designs we were creating.
Analysis The product requirements document was created along with business use cases. I drove the system use cases “personas doing work in the system” to describe at a detailed level what the personas would be doing. This helps identify those things you are designing for and those that are not being done. The explicit delineation of use cases helps clarify the scope and resources needed for the project.
Deliverable The project was being designed to integrate with the existing HR application. I created a business object model to identify the things that exist in the system and their […]

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New Product Design & Scalability

New Product Design & Scalability

Project New Product Design & Scalability
Design a new product for a user that manages more than 100 times the number of accounts than the typical user. The new product will be a module that is added to the legacy application.
New Product
The user needs the ability to manage hundreds of thousands of accounts with multiple sub-accounts that contain hundreds of positions. Like managing other financial accounts, the manager wants to know how these accounts are faring and whether he needs to take action. Looking at tens of millions of positions each day could require an enormous staff, we have one or two managers.
Analysis Understanding the workflows of the managers, and whether they were at an automated or manual processing shop, gave us a clear understanding of how the overall navigation and layout of the application should work. Key to the user’s work was noting when exceptions had occurred across the accounts and the positions held. Exceptions included compliance issues, drift from the models, cash issues, requests from the field, automated processing results, and model changes.
Solution The solution incorporated the key workflows directly in the layout of the workspaces. The exceptions were handled in a navigational dashboard that jumped the user to the appropriate workspace carrying the context needed to fix the exception. Providing views into the exceptions allowed the manager to efficiently move through and keep track of the work that needed to be done.
Deliverable The project was delivered as a storyboard that covered 14 workflows. Each workflow was created with screenshots […]

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Redesign & Simplification

Redesign & Simplification

Project Redesign & Simplification
The firm had an existing software product and was looking to move into a new vertical. The product was designed and built out. There was an interested customer who was ready to move to the new release. The customer wanted the firm to invest heavily in the user experience before they took the release, staffing up with three interaction designers to help where ever needed.
Redesign & Simplification
 Research Usability tests had highlighted a plethora of issues. Through some heuristic analysis and task walk-throughs, we identified the primary needs for redesign.
Deliverable Over a few months we focused on simplifying the overarching and detailed navigation. Working with the product manager, lead developer and the client we drove the process to select the best solution. Through ideation, sketching, prototyping and validation with client we found the optimal design.
We focused on frequent user testing as the solution was prototyped and throughout the  development cycle. Near the end of the cycle, usability tests were performed with new users. All of the problems found in the previous usability tests were gone. The users did not even notice the navigation and moved on to the detail of the task.
Results The project was completed and the client rolled the product out to 4500 users and replaced an old system. There was no training and minimal service calls. This project in the news.
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Participatory Design

Participatory Design

Project Home service oxygen and durable medical equipment delivery
 Home Health Care customers
Design a enterprise performance support system to improve customer service and company profitability for a highly distributed and autonomous franchise company. Design an electronic system to replace a partial electronic and manual paper process. Most of the people using the system were not computer literate and their primary job is to care for terminally ill patients.
Research User research and design was done using participatory design. To enhance the information gathering and to get clarification during the design process, company experts in each role were included in the process. Many techniques were used to gather information including, interviews, observation, using the existing computer system and reviewing training and documentation. Individual experts in each of the roles were recruited and learned how to do research, analysis and design.
Analysis After providing a vision and architecture for the project, analysis and design were performed in short cycles for each task and screen flow. Subject matter experts in each role provided input into the business processes, system processes in place, and functional requirements. Alternatives were brainstormed and the design was driven with input from the experts along the way. Paper prototypes were used to vet the design in the field.