Categories: Design & Research
When: March 2013 – December 2013 & October 2014 – Present
Roles & Contributions:
The Lens is a free web based tool for innovation cartography and patent search. I worked on the Lens during my employment at NICTA and Cambia in 2013 and 2014 respectively. My focus was on improving user retention through the establishment of business processes to handle feedback, testing, and site support. I wrote and designed a new support center for the site, working with a wordpress developer to create a solution which was easy to use and maintain. Other work I did included developing user stories for the site, concept designs for patent ‘landscapes’ and UX design work for the site’s transition to a responsive theme. I also worked on data analysis for the Nature Biotechnology paper ‘Transparency Tools in Gene Patenting for Informing Policy and Practice‘ (nbt.2755).
Sample Work: Designing the Support Center
One of the larger design tasks I worked on was the design of the new support center for the website. To approach this task I went back to the underlying problem we were trying to solve: how can we help our users understand our site? After consulting with our team and discussing our collective vision the solution I developed for this question was a four-part support strategy:
- An intuitive and clean UI that is easy to understand and explore.
- Contextual help tips and in-line support for complex features.
- A support center with comprehensive documentation of the site.
- Personal email based support for user questions.
Parts 1 & 4 were already mostly in place on the site and number 2 is something being actively considered moving forward – but the lack of a clear knowledge database for the site was a clear issue. The Lens is a sophisticated search facility that involves complex search syntax and technical language – so the need for clear documentation was obvious.
To design the support center I began by exploring and comparing existing documentation formats and how they were structured. I compared how they worked and the type of information they displayed. In the end we decided to go with a style inspired by Twitter’s help center which neatly categorizes different support pages and which also shows off a useful search bar and FAQ section.
From this point I worked alongside our UI designer and WordPress developer to work through the graphic design of the site. I categorized and wrote the various support pages in a way that allowed users to clearly find the information they were looking for. Simple user testing was conducted to help refine and validate these decisions.