Hugues Belaib
UX designer
Made with

Introduction

The overall project revolved around :

  • Designing and wireframing a new modular and contextual search tool for their ERP software.

I was these designer working on this short project, at this time as a junior UX designer mentored by a senior designer. Client was taking care of the development internally.

Company: Yu Centrik

Role: Junior UX Designer

Timeline: August 2016

Context

The client is a leading software developer for manufacturing, wholesale, construction, logistics and dealerships companies. Their softwares offer a comprehensive panel of features that handle peculiarities of the manufacturing sector as well as providing companies with a well-rounded product (accounting, inventory, order management, etc.).

Objective

Design a new contextual search tool for their flagship software. This tool needed to cover as much bases as possible in terms of type of searches, yet remaining dead simple.

This search would have to be :

  • Easy-to-use

  • Flexible

  • Mitigate the impact on development (legacy)

The actual search critaeria interface prior to our redesign.

The actual search critaeria interface prior to our redesign.

Think & explore

Research, aka getting as much context of use and user data as possible with the ressources and time at our disposal.

In order to nail down the type of searches and the content people were doing most of the time, we solicited our client's customers through a quick series of 3 guerrilla interviews. We lined up those interviews prior presenting our first mockups to the client, so that we had users' data to back up our design choices.

During these interviews, not only we asked questions about their use and expectations about the search function, but we also prepared quick low-fi mockups in Axure to test our assumptions.

Version 1 of low-fi mockups used during user interviews.

Version 1 of low-fi mockups used during user interviews.

Version 2 of low-fi mockups used during user interviews.

Version 2 of low-fi mockups used during user interviews.

Build

After those interviews, here are the following key findings we learned :

  • Users typically use one type of search or another (simple versus advanced) but don't need the clutter of the advanced criterias to get in the way of their task completion.

  • They mostly use the simple search with the name of the client, the order number, or simply a product number.

With our client, we iterated with 3 quick "design your own interface" workshops on a concept of expandable search that would allow users to get 80% of their searches done with a single search field, while allowing the flexibility to add more criteria to their search, if needed.

We broke down the search into three levels :

  • Simple (using default

  • Medium

  • Advanced

Final wireframes of the simple search.

Final wireframes of the simple search.

Expansion into a medium search with more criterias.

Expansion into a medium search with more criterias.

An editing mode allowing users to sort their medium search criterias.

An editing mode allowing users to sort their medium search criterias.

Complex search, adding criteria.

Complex search, adding criteria.

What I learned

  • Collaboration with your client is paramount for adoption, and to find a solution that meet everyone's expectations and needs.

  • User data is essential to embody the design solution and spark some changes in the right direction, even if those changes won't be tackled in the current iteration.

  • Working on legacy systems is always a challenge, code base is outdated, technologies and platforms are derelict, development opportunities are hard to find, which all constraint the design solution as a whole.