This is a real-world project, the steps I took, rationale, and the outcome.
Side-by-side comparison of product and competitors, recording the mood each products UI evokes, in addition to the Pro's and Con's. This identifies opportunities for design as a solution for creating a gap between competitors.
Market analysis simply sets the criteria for leading by design within the set market place. To take it a step further, I looked into current trends within a more general category yet relative to the core functionality of the product. In this case, products providing operational and analytical dashboards...data visualization.
Three perona's were provided as a jump off point for further research into a generalized perception of the end user's lifestyle. My research consisted of; establishing the pay range, back stories (press releases, blogs, etc) and un-earthed images of each user in their work envireonment. Note the Lego Star Wars poster on the wall as it will play into design concepts towards the end of this presentation.
Each mood board was driven by key words intended to set the tone for imagery, UI design examples, fonts, and iconography that I felt would trigger an emotional response that align's with the user's personality..."delight".
With an established visual aide for basing the UI design aesthetic on, styles evolved from the mood boards, beginning to identify the foundation for a design system.
I used a primary page layout from the product I was designing, and plotted color to establish a potential visual hierachy to test if the color builds, and general look-and-feel, would work.
I use wireframes for a handful of purposes, such as; capturing and structuring content on a given page as the basis of the IA, to demo concepts, and to communicate design intent prior to investing time going in a particular direction. Over time they evolve at a level of fidelity that represents an accurate portrayal of design intent and quickly iterate, based on feedback, without investing too much time. Here I am expanding on the intended use of header tags at a level of fidelity that is more tangible to achieve stakeholder sign off, without spending too much time going with a direction not conducive to the product roadmap. I'm using the following wireframe to sell the idea before moving forward.
CARD DESIGN CONCEPTS
Within a relationship map view, cards were used as the primary jump off point for a high level read before drilling in to investigate. I was tasked with solving for three things; a visual representation for 7 alert status', and accessibility. I used pie charts to illustrate the intensity of the alert status which solved for both problems in that the real-estate increases with the intensity to draw the users eye to the the more severe as a clearly established visual hierchy, which also addresses accessibility in that the severity is identifiable via size, in the absence of color. The exploration produced several concepts for addressing these problems, in addition to bucketing actions and relative content (scalability) as well as metaphorical imagery and customization (delight) that ties back to the competitive analysis as way to separate the product from competitors.
To accommodate the zoom levels in the Map View, or to provide the user with options of optimizing their workspace on the Home Page, or wherever else the tile’s would be utilized, the amount of information reduces within each instance. The pie chart becomes the focal point, and primary visual representation of the tiles state, as the tile decreases in size.
THE BIG REVEAL
Displaying supporting/relevant information within a dropdown menu, makes the tile scalable for future enhancements. Meaning, additional information (variables, actions, data viz) associated with each tile, in future development, will have a place, consistent in context (Info, Actions, Metrics), for future development and/or implementation within other products. On each tile, there are three clickable areas; the Metric button, the Actions button, and the pie chart (Info). The Metric button would provide a place for any metrics associated with that thing. The Actions button would provide a menu of available actions (Report, Open in Notebook, Investigate, etc) available for that component (application, server, etc.). Info would be all the available information about what the pie chart is based on and/or information regarding the component that the tile represents.
Feedback is Appreciated
This was my best foot forward. This company allowed me the time and space to accomplish my goal, almost to it's very end. While I was under-taking this assignment, I was also supporting the Dev Team and Product Team's with quick wins and fire drills. I feel as though this was a good effort, but I'm always looking for ways to improve. My question to you is:
Have you gone through an exercise similar to this and, if so, what did you do different and what was the outcome?