What was the scope of their involvement?
We needed to do a complete redesign of the entire administrative experience, starting with interviews and observations of how people actually use the tool to configure the software. The project included lots of different touchpoints with users, including workshops, usability testing, interviews, iterative design to dig into the shortcomings of the current experience, and a lot of co-creation exercises with end-users in Pune to iterate different wireframe versions of the application.
I really liked YUJ’s approach because they do what I call “real UX,” which is a blend of research and design. I didn’t want them just to look at the screens and then design something from UX best practices or mobile trends without really understanding what our users need. Many design approaches might not fit an expert audience like ours because the product needs to be fast, be highly flexible, and support bulk and batch entry. This isn’t a standard UX design for a consumer or a casual user, so I think the design principals are different and must rely on a firm understanding of how people are doing their jobs.
YUJ is comfortable and confident in the design realm. They used a variety of UX research techniques to understand real needs are and cut through the impressions of non-users.
I remember the first versions of the screens. I’d looked at their research output, and I understood a lot of the problems that our users were facing. When they drew the first version of the screen, it made perfect sense to me. I saw how their solution was directly addressing issues that we had uncovered. Other stakeholders of the project took a look at those first screens but weren’t connected with the research, so they weren’t as impressed. YUJ was able to push back and explain their reasoning behind each design.
We were assigned 2 resources. One person was leading the project primarily as a researcher and an information architect. He proposed how items should be labeled and organized. The second person was more junior but was learning about the research and project management. His expertise included interaction design. Once you understand what each page has to do, which is the job of the information architect, then you move to the actual screen-level design where you’re laying out the controls in an intuitive way.
I rarely find that combination of research/information architecture and interaction/visual design skills in a single person. Having both skill sets creates a good blend as far as designing an entire product. If you have 1 without the other, you’re either going to have a beautiful product that makes no sense or a functional product that doesn’t look good.
How did you come to work with YUJ Designs?
We were looking for someone in Pune, India. We received several proposals and heard presentations. We really liked YUJ because they provide both research and design, and they were able to walk us through the full UX from various projects on complex domains.
Our work is incredibly complex, and our products take difficult and hard-to-solve problems and make them seem easy. If you don’t have experience with enterprise-level software or complex projects, then many of the paradigms or the design solutions won’t be robust enough. I don’t want someone to cut their teeth on enterprise complexity with us for the first time. YUJ had done similar work in complex spaces like ours, so they seemed like a good option.
How much have you invested with YUJ Designs?
We spent between $50,000 and $200,000 on the project.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with them in 2015, and the project was finished later that year. Because we really liked the results, we extended our contract with the interaction designer for other products. He actually stayed on as a contractor for several months after that, and we were pleased with his work. He acted as a member of a full product team to augment our capacity.