Rethinking Sphere's administration dashboard

User Research - Information Architecture - Copywriting - Product Design
Project Overview
Sphere is a small startup I was working for. When big companies hosted an event, they would call us to be in charge of the networking between attendees.
This project is to redesign the administration dashboard.
My Contributions
I helped rethink the dashboard's information architecture.
I also redesigned the UI within the limits of our framework.

"I worked with Martin during his time at Sphere. He is a very nice colleague to work with and his contribution to the project was valuable. He is committed to his work and opened to other's, which make him a good asset for any team."

Sebastien Chambon, former CTO and associate at Sphere.
Computer displaying my dashboard project
Problem statement
Sphere's administration dashboard goal is to automatize our processes when we build an app.
The first version of the admin panel was built around a tweaked dashboard template. The core functions were working, but it was painful to use for the team.

I was given the responsibility to improve the whole experience and reduce the pain while keeping the same technical framework.
Project goals
1
Improve user's productivity
2
Improve readability
3
Improve simplicity
Two sheets of paper full of notes
Making sure all infos are written down. I start every project with notes taking.
User research
The whole company's team were the main users, so it was easy to test and to gain some insight. I reviewed what my colleagues considered their most useful pages/features. It helped me find recurring patterns in each departement's use.

Almost every useful feature was hidden at the end of the hierarchy. This work helped both my teammates and I to set a healthy base for the new information architecture.
Some examples of documents where I structure content
Defining content and hierarchy
Challenges
The biggest challenge was to determine the user flows for both Marketing and Engeneering teams. Both needed to use some shared and some different information. I worked closely with all the team members to understand each other's point of view. The challenge was to find the right fit to please both departments inside a single dashboard interface.

On the technical side, engeneers imposed to use only existing features and a UI they could quickly implement. Time and working forces were lacking to create a completely new framework.
Every screen composing the creation process
A lot of trial and error to find the right flow.
Global Solutions
The most important need for both teams was the ability to create or modify an event. They had to be able to send push notification due to frequent client demands during meetings. We put those features first on the dashboard landing page.

We sorted events by starting date as most modifications occured close to the event. Listing hierarchy was designed to make scanning easy. I made important action available first-hand like modifying events' visibility and password.

I reorganised the full creation form based on my colleagues' use. We started with mandatory info without which we couldn't create an event. We then set the hierarchy of information according to clients delivery. We noticed that clients communicated the links and description early in the process when other info were rarely given.

Finally, on the modification form, we categorized information in a different way. We prioritized the most demanded modifications to put them on the top of the list.
Screens illustrating the solution for engieneers
Visualy translating every use case. Team work helped uncover what I didn't think about.
Specific Solutions:
Engeneering team
Our developers needed to have a visibility on our users and their actions. They were often requested to manage user lists, either for test purposes or troubleshooting. They had an administrator status that wasn't granted for marketing people. Therefore, they needed a section of their own on the homepage.

We determined what information was the most important to show. I added quick action that would increase their productivity like status editing. I put a filtering system to optimize search efficiency.

There were a lot of different use cases and I had to come up with solutions. I worked on custom-made icons to include every state.
New statistics system
Translating graphics into plain langage. Generating a conclusion to accelerate analysis.
Specific Solutions:
Marketing team
Statistics were an important part of the Marketing team's selling strategy. The team needed to analyse and summarize all the stats in the dashboard. I designed statistics summary on the home page to make their process quicker. Everyone had access to this feature.

The previous version was only displaying a list of graphics. I thought it lacked readability so I came up with the idea of displaying a sentence summing up what to conclude. The summaries were composed of premade sentences. For example a green sentence would display: "attendees were very active" if attendees exchanged a lot of messages. That idea was well received by the whole team.
Some components for the material design system
Taking advantage of material design system.
Visual Design
As an intern tool, we didn't feel that deep visual work was needed to accomplish our goal. I decided to follow material design as a system for its quality and its large number of components. Our developers had access to a material design library and supported this choice.
The interface showing applications' development status
Keeping an eye on applications' developpment status.
Results & What I learned
This work was the most successful I made during my work at Sphere. Though it turned out to be a bit difficult to code despite our effort to make it easy. Still, every team member noticed a great improvement in their process and performances. Everyone felt involved in the process and was satisfied with the results.

Unfortunately, my new stats system was not developed. It was the improvement I was the proudest of and I would have loved to see how it turned out. Yet, I could understand this decision due to the work it involved compared to the ressources we had at the time.

I learned the value of taking every party's points of view into account. It represents a deeper and more complex work but the impact and outcomes are all the more rewarding.
Credits
  • Sebastien Chambon - Project manager and back-end develoment.
  • Alexandre Geng - Web development

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