The Mission Control project was originally focused on assessing large office and commercial buildings for sales and compliance of janitorial equipment – a lucrative business with multimillion-dollar contacts awarded. The process for creating an assessment is for a sales representative to go on site and take photos and notes followed by a presentation of how to improve. The previous app that the client had at the time was so unusable that sales reps would take notes on notepads and then take photos on their cell phones. Afterward, sorting and constructing a meaningful presentation would take between 10-14 hours.
Our general product development process at VisionX remains quite consistent for each project. Followed by the identification of a problem, we always begin with researching to understand the market. We then synthesize our results and carve out an action plan. Next, we prototype & design. There are times when everything seems to be clicking right away and we get to the final product quickly but many a time coming up with a solution takes several attempts as we never compromise on the quality and efficiency of our products. Lastly, we evaluate our prototypes with user tests.
We were hired as outside contractors for the project, so we worked with their internal teams to create interviews and surveys to the sales representatives. We had sessions with the reps where they would walk us through their workflows, what did not work with the old application, and features that we could hold off for a V2.
Out of the four assessments that the sales folks were doing, about 80% of them were all ‘Discovery” assessments: the ones where they would try to win new contracts for the company. Because of the timetable, we decided to just focus on this assessment for the V1. Also, as we assumed, speed was important for the sales representatives. They didn’t have time to add the names of each respective room or indicate the floor as often times they had limited time to walk through these buildings with an escort. However, when it came time to the presentation, it was important for them to be able to organize their photos and notes with filters.
Prototype & Design
We began by doing an audit of the old designs to really understand what did not work. Pretty early on we determined that we were going to discard them all and start fresh. Throughout the interview process, we understood that a timeline-like view of the photos would have enough context for the sales reps to create their presentations afterwards.
We tested many different versions of this assessment process with sales reps to determine what would be the best approach. We tried vertical “chat” style interactions when they would add notes and photos and have it in a vertical timeline for them later in their portal. We tried a detailed approach to see if the loss of some speed would gain in the presentation making process later on. We also tested a camera view which would have a timeline on the top and would allow for quick access to photos to add details when needed like notes and flags. Ultimately, the decision was made to go with option three by the sales representatives with approval from the management.
Ergonomics and accessibility was a big ask for this too, especially with a user base of folks mostly in their 40’s and up. We made sure to cater to all accessibility use cases in a V1 app.
In our final designs, we made sure the app was as simple to use as possible. Our goal was always to have only one option per screen (when possible). When creating a new group or floor, the user would not be asked to name it, to save time. Instead we would just keep it as Group A or Floor B, and allow them to change it – if their workflow complemented it.
For the first version of the portal, the goal for the user was just to find and download the necessary photos for their presentations. Our long-term plan was to include and automatic presentation builder, however, it was just not possible to have it done for this version.
The store behind the portal design was quite interesting. Throughout our testing, our users were very comfortable with the InVision dashboard so we decided to model our dashboard on it. The functionality of selecting, editing, and moving photos worked like the tool they had grown to love of the last few months.
The Mission Control project is still very much ongoing as there are more assessment to create and we would like to fully automate the presentation builder by using machine learning to identify the item a user took a picture of and automatically insert it into the presentation with the better alternative. The current reaction from the client has been extremely positive:
“The work (VisionX) just showed us with is the best I’ve seen from any vendor we’ve worked with in 6 years. Thanks for capturing the vision, looking at it from several different angles and improving it in a dozen ways.”
This was a great project, with a lot of attention on the end users. We are excited to keep improving and optimizing it going forward.