I am currently designing the interface for the next release of Enkive, a web-based open source e-mail archival and e-discovery product developed by Linux Box.
I began by trying to find out about our users and the product space. I completed a competitive analysis, and did as much background research as I could to learn how e-mail archival works. I investigated every source of customer data we had – everything from the optional user registration information to conversing with nearly all of our paid clients. I looked at web analytics on the product website and demo.
INTERVIEWS & BRAINSTORMING
I then interviewed current and potential users to determine the functionality necessary for the next release. What did they hate? What did they love? What did they need? What workarounds were they using?
The interviews were perfect for learning about these user needs. I conveyed the findings to everyone in the company, and then held a brainstorming session with all the employees who ever interacted with our customers. Together, we wrote down everything we knew or suspected about our users.
I now felt that I had enough information to start designing for the user. The developers helped me define the technical limitations for the web application, and I got to work. I sketched a ton of ideas, and narrowed them down through collaboration and critique with others in the company.
I first created paper prototypes with pen, paper, and post-its:
I then designed a slightly higher fidelity prototype in Axure, which I could use to garner feedback from our users. It had basic functionality and interactions, but was still intentionally low fidelity so they could focus on critiquing functionality rather than the design.
I presented the demo to potential users and focus groups with current users from all over the world. I demo’d the Axure prototype with a carefully prepared script via Google Hangout, and received really valuable feedback from the Enkive open source community.
I am currently in the process of re-testing my design on potential users, and have already begun a Photoshop mockup for the visual design so I can build an HTML and CSS framework for the developers.
- Time Frame
- Sep 2012 – May 2013
- Methods & Skills
- Focus Groups
- User Interface Design
- Google Hangout
- Pen & paper
- Deliverables ↓