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IT Service Portal

ROLE: UX/UI Designer

TYPE: Commerical

DURATION: March 2023 - July 2023

The Product

My first-ever commercial project. Aware of my UX design aspirations, my boss got me working on a project. Working independently, I had to redesign the company's IT service portal and suggest new features and improvements. Initially daunted by the task due to its' complexity and real-world ramifications, I grabbed it with both hands to challenge myself.

Challenges

1)

2)

Increase the amount of "self-service" through the IT portal

Decrease the amount of tickets the IT service desk have to deal with

Improve UI by reducing clutter and highlighting the path to key user goals

3)

Research

Every UX project begins with research. In contrast to my other design projects, I was not designing something from scratch but rather iterating on a service with an established user base - my fellow employees. Unfortunately, due to security constraints, I could not access any quantitative data about the usage of the current portal, so most of my research had to be done qualitatively. This consisted of user interviews, usability studies and competitive analysis. I began with some research questions:

What do my primary vs secondary users need?

What do my stakeholders need?

What do similar services offer?

What does a typical user journey look like?

What impact have similar services had on their business?

As aforementioned, the 'target demographic' is everyone who works at the company. However, the amount of employees logging incidents/requests directly affects the IT department dealing with those requests. Through a mixture of more formal user interviews and casual 'hallway' chats, I gathered some data about what people thought about the current IT service portal. Here are some choice quotes from users:

"

"

It's just much easier to call in than try to fix it myself.
-  Call centre employee

"

"

It's no surprise no one uses it when there's no guides. - IT support member

"

"

It's an absolute eye-sore. - My boss

It really is...

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It was then organised into an affinity diagram in these themes: Aesthetics, Streamlining, Process, and Business. Recognising the conflicts of interest between each audience allowed me to focus on shaping user goals and how that in turn, will affect stakeholder/business goals.

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Jobs to be Done

As the portal is a multi-faceted service, I felt that using the "Jobs to be done (JTBD)" framework would be the best way to gain actionable insights about user needs. JTBD allows me to target the root cause of people's issues instead of targeting a specific type of user. To reiterate, the portal needs to be used by everyone in the company.

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Competitive Analysis

For obvious reasons, I can't access the internal IT portals for other companies. Instead, I had to find indirect services, namely customer support for various products. While these indirect services do not offer everything this portal will have, the most important need my stakeholders and users require is to receive support with minimal impact on IT resources. I found this case study that exemplifies this need and aimed to find other similar services.

The key differences between my 'competitors' and the current service portal are:

  • A comprehensive knowledge base/articles using clear simple language

  • Placing friendly barriers between the user and an actual support agent

  • Uncluttered interface for easier navigation

Other services on the current portal - like requesting equipment or application access, require approval from a service desk agent or are already automated. Potentially making changes to these workflows fell outside the scope of this project but would require much cross-team communication with security and operations teams. 

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Preparing the journey

This user flow was created to chart the journey of a typical employee on the revised IT portal. Members of the IT department do not interface with the portal directly, as raised tickets get funnelled into a separate workflow dashboard.

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Digital Wireframes

De-cluttering the homepage is a key requirement for my users and stakeholders. Creating pen-and-paper wireframes allowed me to spitball ideas quickly and narrow down a preferred design. I then moved on to digital wireframes to better establish page structure and balance before considering high-level aesthetics.

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Iteration

I used hi-fi mockups to conduct moderated usability tests. Six participants were asked to run through six scenarios and were then prompted to answer a series of questions asking them their thoughts on the process. The scenarios were based on the primary use cases of the portal and additional use cases required by the stakeholders.

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Familiarity

To de-clutter the toolbar, some links were removed. However, users wanted elements of the original toolbar back on the new one for easier access.

Space

Feedback told me to make better use of the space. This is impacted by screen size. The search bar and banner took almost a third of screen real estate, which looks worse on smaller laptops. Changing this meant more useful information can be seen at a glance.

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More options were added to the toolbar to allow greater navigation around the portal enabling users to jump around the user flow from multiple points.

Challenge 1

Promote self-service

Step-by-step knowledge articles, videos, and a new forum feature will allow users to solve their problems and help each other. This will hopefully foster a sense of ownership over their technical issues and boost confidence in less tech-savvy individuals.

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Challenge 2

Reduce agent contact

Reducing actual agent contact will free up more resources for essential projects instead of resetting someone's password for the 100th time. Friendly barriers are put in place to prompt self-service. While some users may resist this, it is central to the needs of shareholders.

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Challenge 3

Cleaning up

Making the portal more inviting will bring in more users who would initially be hesitant to use it. Important services will highlighted to improve the user journey. In addition, features will only be shown to the relevant department. This removes irrelevant options.

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The Future

The implementation of this design had to be halted due to the lack of resources in the company, but it would be good to get some quantitative data about the amount of ticket reductions. As it stands,  the knowledge base is incomplete. Work with the IT department will need to occur to improve the knowledge base for this design to be fully functional. Considering an AI chatbot feature may expedite the process of finding the relevant solution/article.

Takeaways

This was a relatively 'informal' side project done at work whenever I had a spare moment. This project was undertaken quite early in my time at the company, and I began to design without necessarily thinking about the interweaving systems and limitations our workflow software has. In the end, while the designs have not been implemented yet, the complexity of this task opened my eyes to the amount of cross-team communication that needs to be done on a UX project. For example, the IT department would all need to be on the same page regarding the structure of a knowledge article, and the security team may need to be consulted if I were to change the process of application requests.

Let's chat

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