I could work with the technical nuances of the analytics platform that served as a backbone to the mobile front-end of business intelligence.
But it was my passion for design that led to 7 months of hands-on UX training with my mentors and colleagues. By the time I started consulting clients and designing enterprise applications, I was advocating UX best practices in a way that clients had not seen before.
customer-facing // presentation & pitching, workshopping, participatory design
user research // needs-validation, interviewing, personas
design // wireframing, workflow, hi-fi mockups
development // MicroStrategy platform (web, mobile, desktop), SQL, database schemas
business strategy // I presented the business value of design when consulting clients.
design // I designed hi-fidelity mockups and workflows.
development // I worked on the front-end using the mobile platform.
training // I wrote internal white papers and gave training presentations on best practices for mobile design.
MAKING DATA ACTIONABLE
Over several years, I’ve worked with dozens of companies in industries like finance, healthcare, and retail. This diverse roster of clients had something in common: they stored massive amounts of data in database systems, but used only a fraction of this data. The process was painstaking: some teams managed the raw data; other teams handled the ETL, and still others conducted the analyses to measure business performance. On top of these roles, developers—often without a designer—create dense dashboards in a misguided attempt to maximize information.
It's no wonder analysts still preferred Excel spreadsheets over dashboards, and executives still relied on printed reports on their desks every Monday.
The value of UX in an enterprise company is the power it gives people to visualize data and make more informed business decisions. Though this “value” might seem subjective, UX create measurable ROI. The result: happy, returning clients, faster decision-making, and memorable products.
"Are you here to make it pretty?"
"Give the interface a face-lift."
"Can you make it look slick?"
When enterprise mobile applications first surged in popularity, most clients still believed that UX meant a new look for their apps. Providing a value proposition for user research and iterative design became a routine introduction to new customers. But by discussing user needs with different stakeholders, involving clients in the design process, and rationalizing the reasons behind why we could or couldn’t do something, we could consistently change the client’s mindset and generate additional business.
My approach was simple:
(1) validate user needs
(2) design meaningful data visualizations
(3) earn stakeholder buy-in
Part of making data actionable is presenting it in a digestable manner. I often took wireframes from sales and development teams and developed more aesthetic applications.
Whether I was working on a two-week demo or a two-month design for an app, I always talked to stakeholders for needs-gathering and ideation. I usually onboarded well after a project was underway, and the client simply wanted us to implement their solutions. But by asking stakeholders why they wanted a certain feature or layout, I sussed out the root of their UX and business problems. For instance, I would often remind clients that a mobile app is meant to deliver immediate, actionable alerts quickly—it does not need the robustness of a web-based application. When they heard this, they quickly became much more receptive to additional suggestions.
DESIGNING CUSTOM SOLUTIONS
In BI, it’s easy to recognize patterns and apply UI templates across different companies. This may seem cost and time-efficient, but can become a burden when users realize too late that they need a custom solution. Rather than designing from a template, I treated every client as a unique project with specific use cases. I sketched and wrote personas, then created wireframes, workflows, and high-fidelity mockups. I developed solutions for specific business needs. Often, I also developed the front-end, using the mobile platform. I understood the limitations and workarounds of the program from a developer standpoint, and ensured that my mockups were authentic to the end result.
Though I cannot always discuss specific client or internal projects, below is a sample of some of my work. Please ask for specifics.
Given the context and the device, I argue for simplicity over robustness in an iPhone app.