Graph Authoring Tool. High-volume, standards-compliant graphs.

A reputation for frustration.
Background

This project involved an overhaul of core workflows in an enterprise-wide graph authoring tool.

I came into this project at the start of the design phase. This tool had a wide user base (over 400 users) and had a poor reputation for usability. It was important to get the interaction design right, get buy-in from users and change the negative perception.

The original interface for accessing graphs.

Where to begin.
Approach

This was a functional upgrade, but also an opportunity to overhaul the workflows. This is the high-level process I followed:

  1. Outlined new workflows (with the lead developer) focusing on user goals, minimising clicks and following conventions.
  2. Developed wireframes with Balsamiq.
  3. Produced and presented a summary of changes to 20 users, with a feedback discussion.
  4. Revised the design based on feedback and did a follow-up presentation to show the changes.
  5. Wrote a business-friendly Solution Overview document with changes mapped to requirements.
  6. Presented the design and Solution Overview, and got sign-off for implementation.

Feedback on the process and the end result was very positive.

You can view the Solution Overview document here

Some design mockups for the graphing application

Designing for simplicity.

Problem

One requirement was making an existing “tweak dates” feature more accessible. This is what the feature looked like before:

Original Tweak Dates dialog

Design Proposal

I consulted key users to better understand the requirements, and also suggested moving the help text out of the form. I produced this alternative design:

Date Adjustment wireframe

Implementation

This is the design as implemented. Definitely more accessible than before! Asking the user to complete the sentence makes it very simple to use.

Date adjustment screenshot