Award Management

Objective:
To create a solution for researchers to enable them to easily track their expenses against their budgets and proactively manage their awards (grants).

My Work:

  • Lead designer for the Awards Management page
  • Redefined the information architecture and minimized feature creep
  • Used improvised affinity diagramming and white boarding techniques with Product Managers to understand the domain, ensuring the business requirements were met
  • Worked closely with development team to check that the designs could be implemented using available technology

Outcome:

  • Product released in 2014
  • Decrease in user comprehension time

BeforeAfter_awardmanagement

Challenge:
Award management is a tool mainly used by casual users such as professors and researchers. The old designs of the tool had two huge pivot tables with fourteen columns and rows broken into multiple sub categories. This amount of information was too overwhelming for the end users whose primary goal was to just ensure that their expenses were in accordance with their budget and funds allocated. The goal of this project was to minimize the clutter on the page and present the data to the users such that it would empower them to manage their awards.

Solution:
The new solution provides the users a quick overview of how the funds have been distributed across different projects and how they have been utilized. I used the design metaphors such as bank account expenditures to make the UI more friendly for casual users. The information needed by users to help them decide if they need to see the details of a specific expenditure is surfaced at the top. Master detail interaction in the solution enables users to see award usage of one project in context of other projects and helps them decide if they want to move funds between projects.

Project Highlights:
Requirements gathering and objective definition

Used an improvised version of affinity diagramming and white boarding to help PMs articulate target users, requirements and use cases

Whiteboarding

Rapid Iterative Design
Designed high level concepts using metaphors to enable the PMs to understand the information hierarchy from user’s perspective and save the product from falling in to the feature creep trap. Negotiated and sold the idea of a minimalistic solution to the product team.

Rapid Iterative Design

Helped product managers communicate the more important use cases by involving them in my design iterations and having in depth discussion about addressing multiple scenarios.

Award Use Cases Walkthrough

Final Product:
The new design helps researchers get an overview of their awards and prioritize which award projects to look at without forcing them to analyze all the data available to them. The actions menu on the project cards enable them to take actions within context. While the awards pane acts a tool to browse through multiple awards, it can be collapsed if user wants to focus on a single award.

Final Award Management

Only the most important details are surfaced on the page to minimize the clutter. Data which users will seldom need has been hidden using show hide tables. Users can choose to view the entire data in a spreadsheet by clicking on the details icon.

Award Details