Document & Workflow Automation Web Application
Since I joined this small but expanding team in November 2020, the primary goal of my internship has been centred around designing a document and workflow automation application, which helps lawyers to break away from time-consuming documents and focus on deals.
While this project is under NDA and I cannot elaborate too much on the product itself, I can share a few of the responsibilities that I had and what I did to reach my goal.
Three Software Engineers
Nov 2020 - Present
Agile 2-week sprints
Designing and writing copy for the user tour
Creating sketches, low and high fidelity mock-ups for new features
Forming a new design system
Assisting in user research and writing user instructions for closed beta testing
Writing user survey questionnaire for remote unmoderated testing
I began the internship by familiarising myself with all the existing research that had been done by the team. I absorbed as much information as I could about legal terminology and went through existing user personas and user interviews that had already been conducted, in order to understand the users at a deeper level and keep a user-centred approach moving forward.
Shortly after, I began my collaboration with the engineer and product owner and started sketching mock-ups for redesigning some small features of the app, according to the feedback the team had received from A/B testing.
As I started thinking about how to approach the new complex features, we held zoom calls as a team to discuss the best user workflows. Since the product owner used to be a lawyer, we made assumptions that were slightly validated by his past experience until we moved on to testing. After these sessions, I took it upon myself to create the user flow so that everyone in the team was aligned on the way we would move on and we had the same point of reference.
Working alongside the low-fidelity designs, I produced a Figma file documenting all elements to keep the designs as consistent and re-usable as possible. At the same time, I made sure to follow the style of the framework the engineers were using for consistency.
As I progressed with my sketches and designs I started focusing on designing the new main feature of the app and created responsive mock-ups to hand-off to the engineers. It was very satisfying seeing all of my components click in the right place as it felt like solving a small puzzle.
One of the most complex tasks was figuring out the best way for users to save their new documents. Taking inspiration from existing platforms that our users were familiar with and focusing on their needs, I came up with the following design which will soon be tested.
Finally, whilst still designing the main feature we have been working on unmoderated remote closed beta testing, so we can start validating our assumptions and collect feedback.
I wrote the guidelines for the users and outlined the actions which we'd like them to take whilst also encouraging them to be open and speak freely without being afraid of judgment. Finally, I co-created a user survey which included a SUS questionnaire and questions focusing on the usability of the main feature. Before sending the survey to the users, I decided to pilot it with the team to ensure that the questions were understandable and not biased.
My biggest challenge was finding a way to connect research findings that the team had obtained in the past, to new features that would not be tested for a while. I tried to work around that by always keeping the printed user personas in sight, and always asking myself "why" I'm doing something. Moreover, I asked the team to provide more targeted feedback regarding my designs and try to relate it to the users during our informal critique sessions.
I'm still learning how to be a better storyteller when presenting my work, and I understand the value of empathising with teammates positions.
I have gained a lot of confidence as a designer as this has been my first opportunity to design features within a complex software application. The team has given me the valuable feedback that I need to continue moving forward while also provided me with the autonomy to do my own research and iterations. It has been an exciting opportunity to get to collaborate with an engineering team, as they have given me a peek into how feasible designs are and how they get implemented.
Starting a new career path remotely has been a new adventure, and I've been very fortunate that the team made the whole experience special. Overall I've learned a lot of new concepts and skills, gotten guidance where needed, taken on tasks and went out of my comfort zone.
Finally, one of my biggest realisations has been understanding the importance of prioritising research and design tasks. Real-life experiences do not have such a rigid structure as I've been taught during my courses and they depend on the size of the company and resources.