UX Design Lead for a complete redesign of a complex web application that advising staff uses to manage their caseloads, schedule and prepare for appointments, conduct outreach and communicate with students, and document notes during appointments.
The AdRx application began as a place for advisors to save and access contact notes to document appointments with students. At that time, advisors had to access several different data systems in order to obtain necessary student and academic information to prepare for appointments. As AdRx evolved and more features and functionality were added, it was clear that it had transformed into an advising portal and had become much more complex than intended. As a result, many advisors were not utilizing the features because they were difficult to find or use.
In anticipation of a major back-end system upgrade, we took advantage of an opportunity to rearchitect the AdRx application from the ground up using extensive user research and community feedback to identify pain points, desired functionality, and workflow optimizations. At the same time, members of the Indiana University UX community had released the first version of the Rivet Design System, and we were able to redesign the entire application using Rivet components which allowed our teams more time to focus on the user needs and accessibility improvements.
We were lucky enough to have ample time to complete extensive user interviews and surveys on advisors at several campuses to begin our analysis of AdRx. Interviews were conducted in-person and remotely.
After interviews were complete, our UX team analyzed all of the information collected to create personas, understand workflows, and use the information collected to understand the nuances of the unique workflows for different types of advisors. Some of our research artifacts produced included Personas, Affinity Diagrams, and Information Maps.
After we had an understanding of our advising experience based on user research, we were able to visualize the journey maps for the different types of advisors at IU. The journey maps were helpful in concept creation by understanding the different types of tasks advisors juggle during the day and the type of information they need to access during those tasks. The journey maps also documented several pain points and workarounds that advisors had to use to accomplish their tasks while using AdRx.
Once we had concepts sketched and a prototype created, we conducted remote unmoderated usability tests to validate our information architecture and to gather preliminary feedback on our design direction. We also used this opportunity to answer questions that came up during our earlier analysis phase. Our remote tests were conducted using a tool called Loop11. This tool allowed us to collect feedback during a busy time for advisors by providing them a link to complete the test at their convenience. After the test was complete, we used Loop11 to analyze results and generate recommendations for our next phase of design. Loop11 made it extremely quick to do in-depth analysis of task completion and we quickly generated a report that summarized our recommendations.
Once development efforts were prioritized, we worked closely with our agile development teams to iterate on more in-depth wireframes and designs. We crafted designs using Axure and Figma to take advantage of our shared design system component libraries. Using the IU design system allowed us to iterate and complete user stories quickly as more of our team conversations could be centered around the entire UX rather than the design details of each component.
We are currently still in the process of releasing the final features of AdRx and conducting regular usability testing on future iterations. AdRx continues to grow as an advising portal and with COVID-19 the process of advising is rapidly changing, so it is imperative that we continue to speak to our advisors to ensure AdRx is a tool that improves and optimizes their workflow in a constantly changing academic environment.