Before the project, the team took 2-3 days of 4-5 people’s time to compile all the U.S. regional offices’ and vendors’ status. They had disparate data sets coming from various departments that had to be analyzed. There were many different style charts with lots of colors. The final deck would need a guided tour or the information as it was not easy to digest. (When shown the very complex and dense spreadsheets and the overstuffed charts and graphs accompanied by 16 pages of numbers and explanations I knew that anything I did would help.)
If the quarterly and annual goals were met, some very large monetary grants from the government would be awarded, so this was obviously extremely important to the company’s bottom line. Having an application that could access regional activities at any time, by any level of the team, could head off any bad trends.
Getting to work
I made meetings with representatives of the personas we were designing for to get their individual priorities in addition to the requirements I was given.
My first pass was a set of sketches that roughed out the structure of the levels. The top level had to show a lot of information that could be consumed at a glance. This could then easily be drilled into to find out as much detail as they wanted. My second round included more detail of what was in each screen.
Some of the proposed features
The feature set was simple but compared to the complex, time consuming preparation of the current methods, this was wildly innovative. This was also appropriate for the audience. The information was still complex, but was intuitive on how to discover the more detailed information the user was seeking with just one or two clicks.
The visual design was inspired by some simpler dashboards done previously, but there were no precedents internally, utilizing interactive maps and comparison charts. I followed the branding guidelines closely so that the project could pass through their stringent internal review.
The team still anticipated that the screen captures would be used in presentation slide shows, but my feeling was that once the executives knew that they could have access to this information at any time, they would want to check in themselves.
This was just a Proof of Concept, but already the team was very excited and made sure there was budget in the next quarter to get the work started on the data modeling and final design.
A Proof of Concept for a Data Visualization app, for a group that needed to roll up numbers and stats for their executive sponsor on a monthly basis. The objective was to offer drill downs for the information that might be of interest not only to the executives, but middle managers as well as operations and agents.