UI/UX Designer - May S.
Data Gather's interview configurations, referred to as "forms," presently offer connectivity exclusively with Airtable, limiting the visual appeal and functionality. Enhancements are imperative on two fronts:
Firstly, a cosmetic overhaul is required to elevate the visual representation of the Airtable schema, transforming it from its current unformatted state to a more engaging and user-friendly display.
Secondly, the expansion of compatibility to include Google Sheets is essential. This advancement not only diversifies the platform's data source options but also responds to user preferences, fostering a more dynamic and comprehensive integration of third-party databases within the Data Gather framework.
Confronting challenges head-on, we strategically leveraged user interviews as a solution. Our goal: unravel existing pain points and align user expectations with platform capabilities.
This approach fueled a transformative design process, channeling insights into an enhanced user experience. The result is a refined platform that not only addresses concerns but also propels product functionality.
Data Clinic partners with nonprofits to help further their missions through building data science or engineering solutions.
Data Gather is an open source product by Data Clinic, Two Sigma, that supports highly configurable data collection flows with complex logic, branching, and ability to write back to 3rd party services like Airtable or Google Sheets.
Breaking the Ice 🧊
In our kickoff meeting, I introduced myself to Pablo (the client/developer) and seized the opportunity for a comprehensive walkthrough of the existing platform.
Addressing potential scope ambiguities, we dove into discussions on product functionality, ensuring clarity. The meeting also served as a platform to establish a collaborative cadence for our future interactions, defining meeting frequencies and setting expectations. Furthermore, we outlined the anticipated deliverables by the project's end.
This initial engagement laid a solid foundation for effective communication and a shared understanding, setting the stage for a successful collaboration and streamlined progress throughout the project.
Project Timeline 🗓️
Organizing the project with foresight, I meticulously divided it into four distinct phases: discover, define, develop, and deliver.
Each phase had a precise focus and intended outcome, creating a structured roadmap. The primary objective was to equip myself with the ability to provide the client with clear insights into timelines and expectations for deliverables.
Crucially, this approach also factored in additional buffer time, serving as a contingency plan in case unforeseen challenges emerged. This strategic project scoping not only instilled confidence in meeting client expectations but also ensured adaptability, allowing for a smoother navigation of potential uncertainties.
Setting Up the Interview 📓
To orchestrate seamless user interviews, I harnessed the efficiency of a Notion template, meticulously crafting the structure for each session. A templated script became my guiding tool, ensuring a consistent and engaging setup across all interviews.
Faced with a tight timeframe, I strategically tapped into my network, selecting individuals who loosely matched the persona—admins familiar with nonprofits, adept at grasping data basics, and comfortable navigating digital platforms.
This agile approach allowed me to swiftly assemble a diverse group, maximizing the week to extract valuable insights and perspectives that would ultimately shape the user-centric evolution of our platform.
Conducting the Research 🔬
Juggling the roles of interviewer and note-taker presented an initial challenge, but I embraced it as an opportunity to refine my multitasking skills.
Opting for Loom, I captured both visual cues and transcripts, providing a comprehensive reference. My emphasis on qualitative data allowed users to express their expectations, unraveling valuable insights on tool functionality.
Engaging with users proved not only insightful but also enjoyable, unraveling diverse perspectives on our product. The feedback received became a catalyst for improvement, turning the dual role challenge into a rewarding exploration of user perceptions and a roadmap for refining our tool.
Gathering Insights 📖
With the data in hand, I embarked on extracting insights through affinity mapping, meticulously exploring patterns and connections across the user interviews.
Collating ideas rooted in user feedback, a clear trend emerged—most users demonstrated a solid understanding of the settings' functionality. This revelation became a cornerstone for further refinement, allowing me to pinpoint areas of strength and potential enhancements.
The affinity mapping process not only streamlined the interpretation of research but also provided a strategic roadmap for leveraging user insights to optimize our platform effectively.
Remember the User 🧑🏾💻
Armed with user insights, I transitioned to the drawing board, emphasizing the imperative to keep the user at the forefront of the design process.
Crafting a user persona and meticulously mapping the existing layout's user flow laid the foundation for my design journey. This strategic approach not only ensured a design process rooted in user-centricity but also provided a clear snapshot of our starting point in terms of product layout and functionality.
By continuously remembering the end user throughout, I aimed to create an intuitive and thoughtful design that seamlessly aligned with their needs and expectations.
Drafting Ideas / Visual Audit 👀
Engaging in a heuristic evaluation of the current page layout, I seized the opportunity to translate interview insights into actionable design solutions.
Scribbling down ideas, probing into various features, and carefully noting areas for consolidation, removal, or adjustment became pivotal.
This meticulous process aimed at addressing the initial problem statement—enhancing visual appeal to elevate the overall user experience.
By dissecting the layout through this lens, I navigated a path toward visual refinement that not only addressed aesthetic concerns but also holistically improved the user journey, aligning the platform more closely with the needs and expectations uncovered during the interview phase.
Initial Lo-Fi's 📐
Upon settling on my notes, I delved into drafting potential scenarios for the view. Considering the primary goal of connecting/syncing form data to a third-party app, I presented two options to the client:
- A minimalist view displaying only the connection and its status
- A detailed view featuring a preview of the connected third-party app
Presenting these to the client, we decided on offering users a data preview with the detailed view, enhancing their understanding of the connection status. Collaborating with the developer, we navigated constraints posed by Airtable integrations, working ingeniously to ensure a fluid user experience while accommodating technical limitations and seamlessly integrating the desired functionalities.
Final Prototype 🌟
Skipping medium fidelity mocks, I leaped into high fidelity to swiftly translate my sketches into a polished design.
My focus was precision—ensuring exact card and button sizes, and meticulous color application for enhanced call-to-action elements. The redesigned interface aimed at streamlining user interactions, reducing clicks for data access and integration additions. Introducing reusable components across the tool not only optimized design consistency but also expedited development.
Collaborating closely with the client and developer, we drew inspiration from Tailwind CSS, facilitating a seamless implementation process and ensuring the UI reflected both efficiency and a visually refined user experience.
You can play with the prototype here.
Hōʻike (final presentation day) 🎙️
As my internship concluded, I seized the chance to present my transformative experience collaborating with the client and enhancing the product.
The journey was so impactful that I found myself not just reflecting on it but actively shaping its future. Invited to join the organizing team, I now contribute to refining the program for upcoming interns. I was also featured as as thought leader for the program! Check out the linkedin post here.
If you're curious about my internship adventure, watch this video about the program and to hear firsthand about the growth and real-world insights I gained.
Navigating a steep learning curve, I discovered the exceptional return on investment from the program. Managing projects honed my skills, emphasizing client collaboration, adherence to scope, and consistent communication with our New York-based client across a 6hr time difference.
Revisiting user research, a skill dormant since college, became a highlight. Crafting clear research goals ensured alignment across participants and facilitated the extraction of meaningful insights.
Collaborating with a developer and receiving guidance from my mentor added depth to the experience, offering support in areas that felt overwhelming or perplexing. The journey not only expanded my skills but also fostered a sense of fulfillment and camaraderie.
Learned the importance of designing with the user in mind while having data to back up those decisions.
Conducting consistent research across your interviews is key in collecting insight that is reflective of the general experience of the product.
Passionate about UI/UX, I thrive on interacting with users, solving their problems, and creatively applying visual hierarchy for an enhanced experience.
📈 Long-Term Vision
I would have conducted usability tests with the same users to see if the updates made the process more efficient.
I would have worked with the developer to explore the onboarding flow to ensure that first time users were able to self-onboard with ease.
I would want to refine my research collecting process by creating a clearer research goal and collecting quantitative data for a stronger befre & after story of improvement