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Putting Life back into Life Sciences

Brief

The Project

As part of the design team at FJORD, we were assigned to develop a cloud-based, collaborative project management platform to empower life science researchers to discover and share scientific insights.

Activities

Interaction design; wireframing and interactive prototyping; epic and user story optimization; information architecture, site maps and process flow development; wireframe annotations

TOOLS

Pen and Paper/Whiteboard, Sketch, InVision, Adobe InDesign


 

ProblemS

The subject matter of the project was incredibly complex and we had limited interactions with scientists or subject matter experts.

There currently is no direct competitor within this market, however there were existing products with similar features, however no all-in-one solution.

Solutions

Through conversations with SMEs, video courses, and extensive Wikipedia reading, we were able to develop a more accurate understanding of the subject matter.

We participated in multiple demos of our client's products and conducted a competitive analysis to narrow down our features and main categories.

 

 

Research

Existing Product evaluation

Mainly through acquisitions, the client has a suite of software products with overlapping functionality. There is little design alignment, and the UX is cumbersome. 

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

As we identified our feature categories, we were also able to bucket our competitive research into those same focus areas.

It became clear that while there are platforms that accomplish certain aspects of our product, there’s no one-stop-shop solution in market right now.

 

 

Plan

Information Architecture

After we created content models, we were able to start structuring the product. We started to categorize content and functionality into the main navigation as well as more utilitarian elements.

Logic Flows and product backlog

With a basic understanding of the structure of the platform, we were then able to dive into the delivery phase and start exploring the ideal user journey through the platform.

We also created a more granular product backlog specifically for the delivery phase in order to capture implied functionality we had discussed with the client.

 

 

Design

Wireframing

Designing for a happy path first helped the team focus on high-level concepts, rather than detailed design. Since we were still in the Definition phase, we had to remind ourselves that we could continue to iterate on these concepts later.

Logic flows were essential for each sprint. It forced us to think again about the user, and it helped outline estimated screens to be designed and developed.

Once logic flows were approved, I worked in conjunction with the UX and Content Teams to create low-fidelity wireframes. Weekly internal reviews allowed the entire team, including design directors, project managers, and visual designers to review wires and offer additional feedback. Finalized wires were then handed off to the visual design team to apply the design language developed during Definition. 

Prototyping

Once visual design created high-fidelity wires of the designed screens, I used InVision to create an interactive prototype. We also put together a presentation and script for our prototypes to allow the client to present our work to their executive leadership. 

Annotating

With the initial low-fidelity wireframes at hand, I created a deck with clear annotations to provide insight in our thought process and design decisions. This set of decks was not just an essential deliverable to our client, and our visual designers and developers, but is also a good source for future team members to gain a deeper understanding of the various interactions.


Lessons Learned

Get a subject matter expert on board early. Even if they aren’t dedicated to the project full-time, having someone (or a few people) who you can reach out to with questions is key.