Reports and insights for print environments

Reports in a print management application provide valuable assistance and confirmation of value to the business by providing comparative insights into cost, waste reduction, and security issues. As the initiative’s design lead, I provided end-to-end help in developing a high-quality reporting and insights tool for consumers.

My role
  • Discovery: 4 weeks
  • Ideation & design: 6 weeks
  • Prototyping: 2 weeks
  • User testing: 2 weeks
  • HTML prototype refinement 2 weeks
Team
  • Design Lead (myself), Product lead (Keith), Dev lead (Shalini), Front-end dev (Mat W), and 6 Devs
  • Tools: Miro, Figma, Draw.io, Google Charts
Business goals
  • Increase conversion rate of customers evaluating the product by 10%.
Product goals

Provides customers with detailed, easy-to-understand statistics on their print environment savings, targeting a user satisfaction score of 4.5/5 for the report clarity.

The problem statement

Our product can track every aspect of print activity, yet the provided information is fragmented. As a result, organisational administrators managing print environments fail to spot wasteful aspects or identify opportunities to reduce waste and improve resource utilisation.

How will we measure success?

Discovery: At least one report generated within the first 30 days after signup.

Frequency: At least 2 reports generated within 90 days.

Final outcome

Inception

A series of sessions were conducted with the team to identify what we currently know and what must we learn to achieve our goals.

What we know

Before beginning formal discovery, the trio gathered to assess where we are now by consulting with SMEs, server-based product PMs, channel partners, and the customer support team to determine what is important, what current usage statistics are, and what features are frequently requested and complained about.

Target market

We also determined the initial target markets, with guidance from the strategic team to focus on two specific verticals with the largest number of active customers.

Personas

To expedite the process, I utilised existing personas and user details since the feature was being developed for the current customer base.

What do we need to know

The initial step in organizing a research project is to identify gaps, ensuring all relevant domains are considered. To define the essential topics for the discovery phase, I convened a meeting with key stakeholders and the team. Below is a succinct summary of the primary areas targeted for investigation.

  1. Target users
  2. User jobs, context, outcomes
  3. Pains with current solutions
  4. Competitors analysis
  5. Success metrics
  6. Security and privacy standards
  7. Sharing capabilities
  8. Integration needs
  9. Accessibility compliance
  10. Technical constraints
  11. Scalability potential
  12. Support and training requirements
  13. Feedback channels
  14. Market and tech trends

Discovery

Customers and partner interviews

I picked 8 customers and 4 channel partners to interview in order to identify jobs they perform with reporting in MF (our existing product) and what they want the most from a reporting component for cloud print management.

Job analysis

Job Analysis helps the team “see” what core jobs are users trying to do, and that helped me probe into specific jobs we wanted to target in the first release. 

Creating a job map

Job mapping is one of the critical instruments in jobs-to-be-done that enable the team see and live life of the job executor and study the context in which such jobs are needed, and pains and expected outcomes for every job. This knowledge helps the design team redesign the user-flows and ensure customer jobs are done using least time, effort and errors. Following is an example of typical job-map created during the discovery phase. 

Key insights

Learning from competitors

Competitors operating in the same market and targeting the same audience can reveal much about their perspective and how they approach the problem-solution dynamic. By analyzing competitors and their offerings, you gain insights into how to distinguish your product and avoid blending into the background noise.

During our reports initiative, we examined the approaches and solutions of four competing products, as well as the outcomes they delivered for their customers. This analysis helped us grasp the baseline expectations and identify areas where we needed to excel beyond the standard.

Learning from non-competitors

In our pursuit of excellence, we explored a range of products outside our direct competition to understand the strategies they employed to captivate their user base. This exploration allowed us to identify exemplary user experiences and functionalities that could be translated into our own offering, setting a new standard for customer satisfaction and exceeding expectations in unique and unexpected ways.

Ideation

Ideation and brainstorming sessions

  • How might we make the report generation easier
  • How might we create surprise and delight customers
  • How might we use reports as a learning tool
  • How might we help users use reports as an investigation tool

User flows and information architecture

I crafted several detailed low-fidelity user flows to devise an approach that enables users to locate and create a report within three clicks or fewer. Here are some of the flow variations I produced using Figma.

Design

Design strategy

Design strategy and design principles serve as guiding lights in decision-making. With a clear grasp of customer jobs, context, expected outcomes, and competitor products, it’s imperative to articulate principles shaping the design. While a SaaS product maintains a unified set of design principles, the complexity of a component may warrant additional specific guidelines for that part of the product.

Updating Design Language System (DLS)

The business currently employs a Design Language System (DLS), a system I actively contributed to and developed. This DLS is designed to support various platforms, including web, mobile, and applications on printer touch screens. The implementation of the DLS has significantly accelerated the design process, promoting efficiency, and has also established a standardisation across teams. I benefitted from it and put together a high-fidelity design in Figma fleshing out as much detail as available to us. 

High fidelity design

After careful consideration, I choose a design solution to undergo further refinement. When uncertainty or divided opinions arise, I mature multiple design solutions and conduct A/B testing for informed decision-making.

Individual reports design

Each report design went through a rigorous micro discovery, ideation, and design process to ensure that the defined tasks were completed properly and that consumers got just the essential data in an engaging and actionable format. Below is a breakdown of the steps I used to establish the content of each report.

Design Validation

Figma prototype

Early testing with a Figma click-through prototype is key to spotting and fixing initial issues, informing improvements before development and providing insights on navigation and clarity to confidently advance.

Collecting user feedback

User testing highlighted several improvement areas requiring attention. I implemented a ‘3 flags’ reporting system to pinpoint minor issues and confusing designs needing resolution before moving forward.

What is working

  • Reports as a learning tool: To assist admins, each report preview included a summary explaining its use, becoming a valuable resource for new admins to select appropriate reports for different contexts.
  • Ready-to-download reports: The summary report, highly used in the server-based platform, was well-received as a pre-generated, one-click download.
  • Efficient reports generation: Users valued the pre-selected reporting periods, enabling accurate reports from the start. With just two clicks, users could select, generate, and download reports, an efficiency that garnered appreciation.

What should improve

  • Below the fold navigation: Initial tests revealed usability issues with navigation elements placed below the fold, causing user difficulty in finding them.
  • Download as PDF: Users consistently requested report downloads in PDF format, favoured for record-keeping and interdepartmental sharing, prompting its prioritisation in the next release.
  • Share report via email: Noting a preference for sharing over downloading, we introduced an email sharing feature in the first release and planned future scheduling capabilities, ensuring each update meets user needs and improves experience.

Development

After prototype testing and achieving initial product-design benchmarks, I support the developers to convert the design into HTML prototype which will become a reference and source of truth for design assets and copy.

As the product was being built, I participated in beta-testing to ensure production is as closely aligned with the design as intended and there’s no “design-leakage” in the process.

Behaviour tracking

The true assessment of a product unfolds when a group of users engages with it in an unmoderated setting. Leveraging usage Google Analytics I tracked how users were engaged with the application and areas may require further improvement.

Outcomes and success

Customer engagement
Downloaded reports
Request for new reports
Frequency of usage