Problem to solve
How do we create a complex software tools that are easy enough for anyone to use?
Working directly with Lead designer and product managers
With a growing list of products and features, the company's key goal was centered around scaling. An interface that allows customers to successfully create and manage their own products is a key stepping stone in that process. Prior to being on the project, there was an initial CMS interface in place but was mostly managed by internal team members. The company wants to change its approach and hopes that clients are able to take ownership of their products. From service-based to product-fueled.
User and business win-win: Design a CMS interface that is intuitive, informative, and enjoyable to use so that internal resources can be relieved and redirected, while customers make updates in a more quick and direct manner.
UNDERSTANDING THE USERS
The users are corporate project managers and content strategists. They work in bigger teams and have approval processes.
Their main goals are centered around quickly producing for tight deadlines, being able to make specific changes to reflect their brand, and directly see results of the product to their end-users.
In many instances, they are adding custom content, redesigning based on new brand guidelines, or creating promotions or ads to display. Auditing the current CMS, I found that the gap between the interface and the intended user (client) is communication.
The goals for building a dashboard are to promote data-driven decisions (client autonomy) and increase CMS engagement.
The approach took into account the different types of users, from admin-level project owners to task-specific content managers. This separation existed for our internal teams as well as the client's.
Separate sections were created to logically organize widgets and fit the different jobs-to-be-done
- My activity for highlighting specific in-progress tasks and promoting completion
- Team activity for seeing a team overview of all updates
- Progress tracker for client-level data (for internal use only)
One of the key features required by both teams was an activity log
Transparency is an important part of the workflow and directly links to our CMS goal of communication.
This allows clients to stay on top of items updated in their product and helps our internal team monitor changes or errors.
From here, we developed a usability pattern for all widgets to expand into a full screen modal. This increases legibility (through text size and spacing) and creates focus around the task at hand - in this case, search and filtering through the log.
The header also adapts to include the date range filter for efficiency.
Defining component states helps keep design consistent and is crucial to development teams for building interactions.
We should remember that one of the personas is in fact based on our own team.
Although the end goal of the product is to promote client engagement, currently an active user of this product is our own team.
By including data for managing the client's progress, our team will be able to increase workflow efficiency (rely on technology to reduce manual tracking) and also serves as a means of feedback for iterations, new products, and better processes.
Overall, the responses and interviews with phase 1 users (the internal team) have been positive. Suggestions on how features functioned best guided many of my iterations throughout the process.
This project is broken down into phases of slowly integrating better UX and usability patterns into the CMS system.
As an ongoing project, the next steps would be to formalize testing to first versions and make iterations based on usability responses around our KPIs: clear communication, trust in the system, and reduced time investment