River – work channel is a communication platform that allows users to manage projects lifecycle based on job duties. It contains a complete record of all company project and a flexibility to transfer job roles without losing institutional knowledge from key employees.
As an independent UX consultant, I conducted several stakeholder interviews to re-define product position and translated clients' abstract business ideas into practical design solution with a high-fidelity prototype. I also played a role of system analyst who produced a 200 page detailed System Requirement Specification (SRS) documentation and communicated between the development team and stakeholders.
My client identified a business opportunity that current project management tools lack the flexibility to adjust job role without losing institutional knowledge. He then decided to start his own business and produced an initial version of the prototype with a junior team. However, before pushing the design into the development team, they realized that there are several problems in initial design because the team didn't have enough experiences in designing a complex system. Hence, they invited me to join this project and to redesign for them.
How I got the insights
The primary stakeholder is the founder of this company who responsible for envisioning the product direction and the secondary stakeholder is the partner who also invests the company and responsible for all regular operation of the company. In the first meeting, I have these goals in mind:
- Find out the questions that clients are trying to answer
- Why it’s important to answer them
- Project current status and problems
- Schedule and available resources (people's time, recruiting and incentive costs, equipment costs, travel costs)
Goal & Questions
- Record the process of projects or building a product. Email is hard to trace.
- Records for employees to review their contribution.
- Easy to use and low learning curves. Except for advanced users, there is no much customization.
- Fit in organizational process and permission management
- Solve the problems of transferring job or changing roles.
How I designed a complex system
Before diving into the design process, I used XMind to do a functional map to break down the design requirement into 14 modules.
- Login Management Module
- Channel Module
- Contacts Module
- Calendar and Activity Module
- Task Module
Since the report was not able to publish, I listed how I structure the report.
Table of Content
- Document Revision History
- Project Introduction: overview, objective, document scope and system Description
- System Development and Interface
- Functional Requirements
- Non-Functional Requirements: languages, device and system's compatibility, user interface, no internet connection, timezone and future plan
- Details of Functional Requirement: by modules
Sample of Functional Requirement
UC003. View All Channels
Use Case Description
Flow of Events
- Typical Course of Events: source of content, number of content, Filters & order
- Alternative or Exceptional Course
Prototype Description & Data Glossary
What I've Learned
- The business models and domain knowledge of an enterprise software.
- Persuasive communication for stakeholder's buy-in
- Work as a communication bridge
- Role transfer: communicate as a consultant, design for users, write documentation for engineers
The most surprising thing
Start as a developing project and then turn into a UX consulting project.
What I would do differently
- Talk to end users.
- Follow up with implementation team.