Problem

Kings Court Trust handles over a thousand estate administration cases a year. Our in-house case management software was a legacy system suffering from feature creep. The business felt a fundamental revamp of the system (which we called ‘Moose’) would help the team run cases more efficiently and support customers better.

Project

I led a collaborative effort to develop a vision for a user-centric, efficient and delightful case management system.

Team

Me – Sole product designer and project lead, working as part of an in-house cross-functional product team and with stakeholders and users across the business.

Process

I ran a kickoff workshop. The goals were to uncover and prioritise problems according to stakeholders (most of whom were also users), and to understand requirements and expectations from the business.

Photo from kick-off workshop

User journeys

I produced user journeys to help visualise the workflows of case management users. They helped identify inefficiencies and ways to shorten and improve the journeys, particularly for priority tasks.

Unpicking the many and varied workflows of over 100 staff took time, patience, and lots of pen on paper. I use A3 card and coloured pens to produce fast visualisations and paper prototypes, with help and feedback from users and stakeholders across the company.

Excerpt from user journeys

Above - an example of user flows from one part of the system.

Observations and interviews

A key part of the research phase was watching staff use the existing system. I conducted over 50 in depth interviews and user tests. I recorded, summarised and analysed each one.

Photo of a user test

User test analysis

Analysis

At the end of the research phase I undertook a detailed analysis of findings, and boiled down the data into key issues and priorities. I visualised the research and presented the findings to the business.

User needs analysis

Card sorting

Card sorting is a technique to organise content within a system, to help develop more usable navigation and create better information architecture.

In card-sorting workshops, I ask users to identify and group pages or features and provide a name for each group.

Photo of card sorting workshop

Navigation

Based on card-sorting, user interviews and user testing, I mocked up ideas for the navigation to provide a more usable, streamlined experience, particularly for new users.

Mockup of new navigation

UI design

Following the research phase I conducted an extensive, iterative design process. With continuing input from users, I produced wireframes and then an interactive prototype.

Hi-fi mockups

Hi-fi mockups

Hi-fi mockups

Outcomes

Sadly, I left KCT before the new system launched. From catching up with former colleagues, I understand my designs have been a useful north star and have influenced lots of iterative changes. A reduced team has meant a lot of what we’d hoped to do hasn’t yet materialised.

Reflections

  • The project was too big for me – it needed more than one designer, and someone with the skills to analyse the company’s processes on a more fundamental level
  • I wish I’d pushed more for a fundamental rethink of how we managed cases and our expectations of technology – but I lacked the confidence and skill to try
  • In terms of the UI, my designs relied too heavily on icons – my rationale at the time was that the expert users would know what they meant, but on reflection I could have done more to make the system more usable

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