DocuHub is an enhanced document search function that sits in SharePoint, MFC's intranet platform.
DocuHub is a custom SharePoint application which allows for easy retrieval of documents within MFC's document libraries. Searches can be easily sorted and filtered based on metadata. Permissions set by the departments are reflected in the searches so only the right people have access to any document.
I was responsible for all deliverables of this personal project which was completed remotely as a design sprint over five days.
SharePoint's out of the box design made it difficult for employees to find and retrieve information, sending them on a scavenger hunt for information.
Documents difficult to retrieve
Documents were difficult to retrieve and oftentimes workarounds were needed to find what users are looking for.
No information sharing
The same document could be saved in multiple locations and limited to the department who created it.
No search filters
The existing search functionality did not allow users to easily narrow down searches and results for common keywords would yield hundreds of results.
Misuse of document classification
Documents were not classified properly and each department manages their own permissions so people do not have access to the right information when they need it.
How might we organize documents to make it easy for users to find what they need and share it with stakeholders?
UNDERSTANDING THE USER
MFC's 2,000 employees across 20 department will soon be using SharePoint as their document library solution.
MFC is an investment management company with 2,000 employees. For more than a decade it has used SharePoint for its intranet platform.
Meet Jeanette, my proto-persona
Based on multiple interviews with colleagues across the business, I developed a persona named Jeanette who was the basis for my design decisions. She represented the large set of users in MFC who work with large amounts of documents on a daily basis and need to be able to easily store, share, and retrieve information.
5-Day Design Sprint Timeline
BREAKING DOWN THE PROCESS
DAY 1-2 | RESEARCH
My research showed that challenges with information sharing are often related to usability. When organizations are culturally complex and bureaucratic, the right people cannot retrieve the right information at the right time.
In order to understand the challenges that MFC employees face and better understand the industry landscape, I completed the following:
I conducted interviews with MFC employees and employees in other organizations to learn about their document management tools and search/retrieval mechanisms.
What I learned
Documents are difficult to retrieve and oftentimes workarounds are needed to find what they’re looking for.
Usability is very important given the organizational culture:
Spread across borders
Segregated and siloed
Low level of technical knowledge
Many manual processes
History of weak document management governance
Challenges with management buy-in and roll-out (i.e. more authoritative vs. consensus driven).
I performed competitor analysis to understand the industry landscape, focusing on websites that are largely driven by search functionality and have large volumes of information to search through, such as UK Gov portal, Dubai government portal, Amazon, and Apple Support.
What I learned
I found that the ability to search and retrieve information is simplified when the user can quickly see where on the page they can search and the information/topics is organized intuitively.
By differentiating between the search and storage of documents, I later identified other mainstream products/companies that could provide a baseline for design and functionality that I could incorporate into DocuHub, including GoogleDocs and DropBox.
DAY 3 | DESIGN PROTOTYPE
To validate early design ideas, I created a paper prototype to meet the needs of Jeanette, my proto persona. I tested the prototype and gathered user feedback that lead to crucial changes in the wireframes.
What I learned from my users
Finding Important Documents
Users faced difficulties finding documents they frequently need to access.
Add a Favorites section for users to quickly access documents that are most important to them.
Users often share documents with others to review and the email notifications with the URL get lost in email.
Add a Shared Documents screen so users can quickly see what documents have been shared with them and what they have shared with others.
Filtering Search Results
Users needed to be able to filter their search results based on additional criteria so they could find exactly what they need.
Expand the filter options.
DAY 4 | DISCOVERY
A/B testing on a working prototype lead to a simplified homepage design better aligned to the company brand. I also saw firsthand the impact of UX writing and how it can impact usability and user perceptions.
The feedback from the wireframes and working prototype focused on:
Simplification of homepage
Expanded filtering options in search results
Creativity in communication/language
Search Results Before
Search Results After
DAY 5 | OUTCOMES & NEXT STEPS
The DocuHub design will go through additional iterations to be used when MFC upgrades to SharePoint 2019.
The final prototype and presentation was well received and plans for further development have been initiated. Next steps have been identified in order to expand on DocuHub's capabilities:
Establish filter criteria based on a a firm-wide taxonomy that is useful for Jeanette.
Create Favorites and Shared Documents pages so Jeanette can realize the full benefits of DocuHub.
Add tool tips and visual cues for first time use so Jeanette knows exactly what to do.