To date, our internal tool at biBERK has largely been built in response to the changing needs, immediate problems and short-term goals that have arisen in the day-to-day throughout its lifespan.
Our users struggle to efficiently use our product due to the lack of cohesive vision for the software. It doesn’t support our users' complex, non-linear workflows and as a result, users are forced to frequently switch between different pages and actions, wait for long loading periods and utilize external tools to complete their work. This results in bloated and tedious workflows that consume our users’ time and make our tool unnecessarily difficult to use.
Unify user requirements with system capabilities by conducting and analyzing user research to understand where our users's needs and the system's structure diverge
Reduce cognitive load by creating guidelines for navigation elements and establishing consistency throughout the interface
Improve workflow speeds by restructuring the underlying information architecture to reflect the actual paths our users take to accomplish their goals
Audit current state of the tool, including all navigation elements and page actions
Define user goals and workflows (using field studies and semi-structured user interviews)
Separate navigation elements and actions into hierarchal categories according to user goals and workflows
Restructure the information architecture
Map the architecture to UI components and design patterns
Design the interface
Leveraging other projects
As this project started, we had a different project already underway that helped significantly: an exploratory research program that involved sitting with participants from all five of our user groups in order to observe their workflows and discover areas of improvement. We used the research from those sessions to outline the key goals of our underwriters and identify our user requirements.
Solving for multiple problems at once
In order for our tool to accommodate a wide variety of user groups, we moved from a chaotic, flat hierarchy with a single plunge, to a role-based, intuitive and deep hierarchy. After culling global navigation and actions, another massive problem emerged:
Our software needed to solve two more very different problems: complex domain computation and task management, but any semblance of the second part of its dual function was buried deep within the hierarchy. Without easy access to the task management component of their workflows, our users were losing significant amounts of time clicking between all of the screens necessary to complete their work. Every move to a new page required reloading information just for them to pass through it to the thing they actually needed.
Our solution? A new workspace that surfaces the task management and communication piece at the global level, and allows the user to see all needed information at once.
At the start of this project, we only had access to two of our three primary user groups. Our initial nav redesign attempted to factor in what we knew of the third group's needs but focused primarily on solving the known issues for groups one and two, knowing that we would need to adjust our solution later on.