Evolving a Product’s Experience to Accommodate Enterprise Use Cases
Captricity uses “crowd-guided machine learning” to extract handwritten data from paper forms. In the product, users create and define “templates” which are used as references for accurately extracting data from their forms.
The first iteration of Captricity was created to handle simple, single-page templates. As Captricity’s service offerings expanded to accommodate Enterprise use cases with complex, 100+ page templates, the product architecture needed to evolve in kind. The design team developed a product re-architecture strategy and I designed a feature set and UI pattern library worthy of an enterprise product.
UX, UI, and Interaction Design
Defining the Problem
The most challenging part of this project was defining the problem space and narrowing the scope of focus. We knew the workflow and overall user experience would need to undergo a major re-design, but we also needed to develop and release parts of the feature set incrementally so users could start benefitting ASAP.
I started by doing a sweep of all the documentation and user pain point feedback previously recorded, aggregated the relevant pieces, and then conducted a card sorting exercise with the project’s Product Manager. I asked him to sort and prioritize the various micro-problems, talk about how they were related, and clarify desired outcomes. The main project goals were:
- Improving the usability and user experience of template creation, use, and management
- Retrofitting the back-end template models to accommodate more robust use cases
- Layering additional enterprise-ready features on top of the new template models
User Journey Mapping
After clarifying the problem, I created a journey map of the system’s current workflow, noting the various stakeholders and their needs, phases of the system’s processing pipeline, and expected outcomes. We overlaid the journey map with the pain points, which helped us to identify areas of weakness in the end-to-end workflow.
Using the existing 12-month product vision, we determined dependencies and re-designed the workflow to accommodate current use cases and lay the groundwork for enterprise-focused features on the roadmap. We created diagrams to illustrate how the current system architecture would need to evolve to accommodate the breadth of customer use cases we intended to support.
We presented the architecture to the rest of the product team, which spurred meaningful dialogue about long-term product vision and has been used as a reference point for making subsequent product prioritization decisions.
After presenting the new architecture plan, I focused in on designing a specific feature set: re-thinking Template Management. I began an iterative process of concepting, wireframing, prototyping, facilitating usability tests, and designing UI to address the key pain points.
Template Management Feature Set
I designed a solution that allowed both enterprise and SMB users to more gracefully create and manage complex templates.
User Story Mapping
Template Management was the first piece of the new architecture to be developed, so I also worked with Product Management, Project Management and Engineers to develop a system, called a “User Story Map”, that aided implementation.
I created a map of all the necessary interactions in the feature set I could think of, then grouped them by user type and parts of the system to create more manageable “chunks." The benefits were multi-fold:
- Bridged the gap between big ideas and details, allowing the implementation team to context switch more easily
- Allowed the product team to more easily identify dependencies and prioritize work chunks to deliver incremental value
- Improved communication between the product and implementation teams by having a physical artifact that promoted dialogue needed to reach mutual understanding
- Decreased the need for product owners to break down features too much for estimating purposes
- Low-fi format allowed easy editing as priorities and requirements shifted
UI Pattern Library
As part of the Template Management feature set, I worked with front-end engineers to develop a library of reusable UI patterns and interactions for developing all new features and retrofitting existing features over time.