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Penn Mutual Advisors' Journey

BACKGROUND

Client: Penn Mutual

Request: Penn Mutual, an insurance and investment provider, wished to update their existing intranet advisors' portal which users claimed to be cluttered and confusing. The request included a wholesale update to the information architecture as well as modernization of the user experience of the site itself.

Challenges: The structure of the existing site had become disorganized after years of poor content management and a dated content management system. Part way through the pre-production phase, we were told that the content of a sister site also had to be included within the update.

Budget: $2M

Timeline: Ongoing

Agency: Levatas, Inc.

 

PROCESS

I was brought onto the project after initial discovery had already occurred. After a knowledge transfer session, it became clear that the initial approach would include a large information architecture pass followed by extensive user flow diagrams based on user stories defined by the UX team. These would become the basis for proceeding into wireframing the interactive experience. We used an agile process with daily scrums and bi-weekly 

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Information Architecture

As the UX strategist, I was tasked with investigating the existing information architecture and proposing a new content hierarchy that would be easier and more intuitive to navigate. This study resulted in an extremely robust but much better organized site map which was updated constantly based on internal and client feedback over several months. 

 
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Personas

The UX team created a set of personas based on findings from the discovery workshop. Building the personas allowed us to gain a better understanding of the potential users and to begin empathizing with their challenges. I designed and drew the characters and helped to build the content for the presentations.

Storyboards

With the personas defined, we created a set of storyboards, based on a common use case, that tied the different personas together to show how they would interact with each other as well as with the new Advisor Journey portal. These helped illustrate our thought processes to the client and allowed us to gain feedback on whether our interpretation of common workflows were accurate.

 

Workflow Diagrams

The storyboards and personas were used to define a set of use cases for various user roles. To define these further, I was tasked with creating detailed workflow diagrams based on role and task. This fleshed out more detail the user stories in more detail than the single-arc storyboard. Though we shared them with the client for feedback, the diagrams were largely used by the internal UX and development teams to help track that the requirements for the portal were being met within the interface design. As with the site map, many iterations and feedback cycles were applied to the workflow diagrams to ensure that our approach would meet the needs of the end users.

 
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Wireframes to Design

Once the user stories and workflows were defined, I was tasked to begin iterations on wireframes. Multiple sketch versions were iterated and reviewed, leading finally to more hard-lined versions created with Sketch. These also met with multiple internal and external review cycles in order to continue refinement of usability and requirements accuracy. They were then handed off to the UI design team to flesh out mockups with actual assets and content.

 

PROCESS

Though I moved on to new employment before completion of the project, the client stakeholders had expressed their satisfaction with the amount of thought, planning, and collaboration that had taken place during production. Through the rapid iterations of pre-production design materials that have been shared with the client, they felt a distinct sense of ownership in the updating such a large scale site map because of the constant request from input at key stages of the process. Additionally, we had taken into account the structure of the site as content shrinks and grows, investing considerable time in ensuring a site structure that was logical, extensible, and easy to understand for content managers in the future.

 

My Role: UX Strategist

Design Team: Magdalena Kabelis (UI), Dave Magdales (UI), Sasha Chaplin (UX) Bradley Hale (UI), Phil Retay (UI)

Project Leads: Adrienne Zarn (PO), Shane McWhorter (UX Director), Andrew Pignato (Design Director), Jaremy DeBoer (Scrum Master), Don Guzdziol (Scrum Master)

Client: Penn Mutual, LTD

Agency: Levatas, inc.

Responsibilities:

  • User Experience Strategy and Consultation
  • Storyboard Illustration
  • Information Architecture
  • Personas
  • Wireframe designs
  • Workflow diagrams

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Dell YourID

BACKGROUND

Client: Dell, Inc.

Request: Dell Enterprise OEM wanted a way for their customers to more easily and intuitively provide the right assets and content Dell needed to customize the branding for OEM enterprise server systems BIOS and startup screens. The current manual process was fraught with mistakes and rework, often requiring hands on support from Dell. 

Challenges: We had very little access to the end users and had a large, very invested team of Dell stakeholders. The discovery period probably could have been lengthier in order to prevent some rework further down the line. 

Budget: $250

 
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User Paths

Prior to design, we took the product requirements and determined the potential user paths for different internal and external stakeholders. I was responsible for parsing through the light user personas in order to determine multiple workflow paths and path overlaps

 
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Customer Interface

We designed an image upload interface that would automatically error check and provide feedback to the user for incorrect formats. We also provided a dynamic preview to show exactly how the logo  would appear in context with the existing template. 

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Project Manager Interface

Project managers needed to capture the information from the customer and begin a process for reviewing the submitted materials. We designed a timeline interface that allowed different Dell team members to track the project and hand off the necessary assets.

 

RESULTS

As usage of the site ramped up in the following months, the client reported seeing immediate results with turnaround times being cut from as high as 6 months down to as low as several weeks or less. Within a few months, they had secured a new budget and re-engaged Somnio for a series of updates to further improve the user interface and user friendliness of the system.

 

My Role: Creative Lead

Design Team: Rusty Kocian, Chrissy Cowdrey, Chris Latham

Client: Dell OEM

Agency: Somnio Solutions

Responsibilities:

  • User Experience Strategy
  • Creative Direction
  • Team Management
  • Requirements Documentation
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PGA Jobfinder Proposal

BACKGROUND

Client: Levatas, Inc.

Request: Levatas, Inc. responded to an RFP from the Pro Golf Association in order to update and customize the PGA career management system and requested UX production support.

Challenges:  Challenges included having limited knowledge of the available technology as well as not having full access to stakeholders. 

Budget: N/A

 

Process

Having worked with Levatas already in the past, I was able to plug into their existing process fairly easily. We discussed the information the sales and UX teams had collected from the PGA, then I was given free reign to study their existing system and provide suggested enhancements through the use of sketches.

 
 

Information Architecture

A study of their site structure revealed a lack of logical organization. The first step was to arrange the page content into a more consistent hierarchy. Because of the depth of content available on the site, a nested menu system was proposed and accepted by the UX team.

Interface Improvements

Calls-to-action on the existing site are not clearly apparent and often buried within lists of other navigation elements on the page. The new layouts organize the supporting content in way that reinforces and gives hierarchy to these navigation elements using size and color to help users decide how to proceed.

 

RESULTS

Levatas was very happy with my work, despite ultimately not winning the RFP.

 

Role: UX Strategist, Illustrator

Client: Professional Golf Association

Agency: Levatas, Inc.

Responsibilities:

  • UX Strategy
  • Conceptual Wireframes Illustrations