As a member of a UX design team within the Microsoft Commercial Stores group, I worked to optimize the management experience of Microsoft’s small business and enterprise customers. The stated goal of this particular project was to improve and consolidate current user flows. Many of the features are as yet unreleased so final visual design and the confidential details are not visible here (Sorry).
What I can say is that in a relatively short period of time, we were able to identify a number of ways in which we could dramatically simplify the tasks that users perform most often using this site and even illustrate a roadmap for how new related features could easily be added without adding the the complexity of the interactions.
The project began with a discovery phase in which I and another designer catalogued the tasks available to admin users in four different portals. From this, we created a matrix containing more than 125 separate tasks and assigned them a grade based on usability best practices. This matrix shed light on where overlaps exist, a potential unified taxonomy, and which user flows were most in need of improvement. We also enlisted the help of UX researchers who conducted a contextual inquiry with a handful of IT administrators about their use of these portals.
As a way to analyze the length and complexity of each task across all the portals, we summarized the tasks in simple flows that show the number of steps being performed as well as the actors performing them. This visual summary of several tasks provided a quick-read comparison of tasks across portals and identified the ones that were unnecessarily complex.
From there, we focused on the tasks that were most commonly performed, and devised new interaction patterns to optimize those experiences. To illustrate these, we created wireframes that illustrated walk-through scenarios.
Anyway, there’s way more to this beast than I can legally show on a public website. I’d be more than happy to dig into this with you in person some time. Just holler.