Easily the most challenging, and rewarding, work of my career. Robots was the first net-new product addition to the HighBond platform in over 3 years. It represented a monumental shift in our approach to automating and managing the scripting and analysis of client data — we needed to translate a desktop app experience to a fully cloud-based hosted platform that enabled our customers to automate their entire analytics lifecycle. This meant that numerous core users would be interacting with Galvanize in the cloud for the first time since becoming a customer.
The result was a product that opened new market segments, allowing customers to move from on-premise desktop installed software to a cloud-based serverless environment. I succeeded in replacing a code-based script-heavy experience with a visual interface that could be utilized by the most inexperienced of team members.
My work spanned across user interviews, flow diagrams, lo-fi wireframes, illustration, and high fidelity prototypes. I coordinated efforts with product managers, frontend developers, and the content team in weekly design syncs to ensure quality for the shipped product.
Note: NDA's prevent public sharing of detailed product information
- Scope Augment our on-prem analytics product with cloud-based automation
- Timeframe 2018-2019 / 18 months
- Role Lead UX & product designer
Everything begins with pen and paper
I love how writing and sketching helps me to focus on the problem at hand. Words, boxes, and arrows allow me to capture workflows early on and ensure that I don't lose sight of the forest due to the trees. And by trees I mean pixels, colors, fonts, Sketch, Figma, Framer, etc. Rushing for the nearest design tool almost always results in half-baked and less thoughtful concepts.
In the absence of experimentation and exploration, innovation is near impossible IMHO. My writing and sketching naturally evolves into UX solutions, UI sketches, and interaction flows that always produce better results than if I had skipped the process.
The Task Designer
This Robots feature was basically a project within a project. The scope of the Task Designer was very ambitious, with the ability for a user to configure scripts, automate the execution of the task, send notifications to team members, and finally publish analysis results to a separate area of the HighBond platform.
Whew, I'm tired from just typing all that. Functionality and fat were trimmed in order for us to meet production deadlines, but the end result remained true to the original vision and goals.
A place for developers to call their own
We knew that we wanted to keep things simple and clear for everyday users of Robots, but analysis script developers needed a bit more. Robot version control, file diffs, version activation and deactivation were some of the more involved needs for developers - Dev Mode to the rescue. A toggle switch allows a developer to enter into an tailored space to complete their work. Dev Mode is permission-based and access restricted to keep unintended consequences at bay.
Consistent ≠ boring
An ongoing goal for myself, and the entire UX design team, is consistency and low cognitive overhead for users. So we always strived to reuse UI components and patterns wherever possible to promote and ensure that consistent environment. This can lead to a lot of repetition and potential stagnation in the visual UI design of a platform.
I always sought to balance predictable consistency with unexpected delight. I would look for ways to inject personality into my work. These robot icons and "empty state" illustrations are a prime example, and everyone really got a kick out of them.