Making Data Visualization App Easy to Understand

Cloud VM Management App

Background

Developers needed a way of creating, tracking and passing off virtual images and application flows to QA. The company was trying to decide to stay with the enterprise version of Mule or to switch to Community version. I was brought in to find out what the needs of the groups were to see which tool best could be used.

Problems & Constraints

Because of contractual obligations I could not see any designs or the currently running system and needed to do all wireframes with a “firewall” mentality of being separated from the product in use.

Audience

Personas

Admins cared most about the health of the system. They needed to see the overall big picture.
QA care most about individual paths that one application makes. To test these they needed to be able to swap out each part of the path.
Developers care most about their pieces they are currently developing. If something is broken they need to be able to tell if it is their fault or it was caused by a different computer on the path.

Team Dynamics

6 months

Project Managers-1, Researchers-1, Software Engineers-5, QA-2

Personal Contribution

  • User research: generative & evaluative
  • Synthesis: insights, opportunities, design implications & strategy
  • Iterative design of responsive web-based software: user flows, low and high fidelity wireframes, information architecture diagrams, low and high fidelity prototypes
  • Mentorship of interns

Deliverables
User flows & scenarios, information architecture diagrams, low & high fidelity wireframes, low & high fidelity prototypes, design patterns, design pattern library

Exploratory Research

Personal Contribution

Design Sessions Since this was an internal application I was able to bring users together, split them up into groups to design and defend different contested areas.

  • It helped to come up with possible ideas
  • learn needed details of a complex system
  • Attach the proper vocabulary to systems in use.

Actions

  • Based on the design sessions I was able to break the intended audience into distinct groups and begin sketching out designs.
  • Because the quick deadlines and need to keep developers engaged I changed the normal personas into trimmed down light versions.

Iterative Research

Personal Contribution
Sketches, user flows, wireframes, prototypes
Since I could not build off the existing system I built functional wireframes in Axure and completed user testing of all the required and discovered user tasks. Based on the feedback I was able to revise the wireframes

Actions
Originally I had organized the the app structure on the individual paths apps would take as they hopped from computer to computer. From user testing this proved to too restrictive for users. The redesign of basing information to be displayed on the different container levels which tested much better.

Outcomes

  • Designs were passed off to Product owner.
  • Development was never started past since Product owner used used wireframe sketches to negotiate a lower contract price from vendor.