I helped Mission London develop a prototype for a simple document management system for a UK-based PLC.
I was tasked with designing a way to give employees of a UK-based PLC access to common internal company documents via a web-based service.
Historically these documents were stored on internal servers, spread across multiple locations, with the possibility of each location having a subtly different version of the same document.
If employees want to access a document outside of their own office they have to call that office to request someone to email or fax it to them. Or worse still, if no one is present in the office then they will have to wait until they return to the office the next day to access it. In short, a bit of a nightmare.
I firstly looked at the obvious solutions of using cloud-based services such as Dropbox, but the complicating factor was locking down access to files and also integration with the company’s current CMS.
After several rounds of collaboratively sketching with the Mission team, we came up with a very simple user experience using a drill down navigation approach (in the same way as when users browse and play music on iOS).
Users log in, select a business/function and then choose from a list of categories to display a list of documents available for download.
At the same as sketching the user experience the Mission team and I brainstormed different approaches of how to document and communicate the experience to the client.
Due to the multi-device requirement we decided to build a prototype instead of using traditional wireframes. This allowed us to mock up functionality and demonstrate it to the client with minimal need for annotations and/or confusion.
We then subsequently took the prototype that was built using the jQuery mobile framework and used it for the basis of the front end HTML/CSS.
In summary, our approach resulted in the following:
- A clear user experience as a result of collaboration and rapid sketching
- A functional prototype that the client could understand and manipulate
- Minimal amend requests from the client
- A reduction in the time and money spent on developing extra front end code
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