One of the most attractive and unique aspects of Daptiv’s product is the ability to customize the structure of the data you want to store. As the product’s interface designer, I can attest that this is also one of the most complicated concepts to communicate. As we built increasingly flexible and powerful features that allowed users to customize and configure their data, I was increasingly challenged to come up with UI that accomplished these complicated tasks while upholding the fresh, modern, user-friendly brand that represented the Daptiv product.
Whether we were simply rewiring an existing feature to better meet expectations, or designing a new feature from scratch, my process was the same. I was often involved in the requirements planning and opportunity analysis stages, where I would give input on how a user might expect the system to respond. Once the requirements were in place, I would create a simple user flow, illustrating how a user would set about accomplishing the task at hand, and what elements the system would need to display along the way.
From there, when adding to or redesigning existing features, I would look at any existing UI and analyze how well it allowed the user to accomplish the steps along the ideal flow. Often I would find steps had been combined or concepts had been muddled by developer-centric designs. Putting the user first often makes extra work for developers, and this was a new approach for Daptiv.
I also evaluated how well any existing UI upheld the Daptiv brand. Many parts of the app had yet to be updated to the fresh, new Daptiv look, so I took the opportunity to give any feature I worked on a bit of a facelift whenever I could.
Next I would create sketches, wireframes, or mockups, whatever helped me get to something I could use to visually communicate my design ideas to the team. Negotiations would ensue, where I would explain the user’s point of view and what I’d like to accomplish, always with an eye towards the time it would take to put these concepts into action and actually build it. I often created mockups to illustrate concepts that we would then decide to save for a future time. I’d have to scale back my designs to accommodate the developer’s time frame while always making sure we didn’t compromise the user’s experience in the process.
The existing features we updated to meet user expectations helped the support team close nearly 400 open cases, securing customer renewals and keeping our customers happy. We received compliments from the sales teams as well, saying the new interfaces helped them demonstrate and ultimately sell these features of the product more easily.
The new powerful customization features we built from scratch are still in development at the time of this writing, but will ultimately allow Daptiv to stand out from the competition in the Project Management software space and move into other market areas, expanding its customer base and opportunity for growth.