Saved a product from a whole year of stalemate, making it market-ready and paving the way for sales

Company

Sekasoft
‍B2B startup

Type

Real project
Full time
Hybrid

Product

Web-app dashboard
Web design
Branding

Team

One designer (me)
Mentor (brand designer)
Marketing specialist
CTO
Product owner

Problem

Company’s new product cannot be properly and delivered/sold to market for whole year, because of its outdated UI and lack of identity like name, logo and other visual assets necessary to start branding and web to sell it on.

Outcome

Made product sales and return of investment possible through visual update of the document management system and creation of its visual identity.

My contribution and deliverables

Stakeholder interviews

Competitor analysis

Wireframes

High-fidelity UI

Product naming

Moodboard

Visual identity

High-fidelity UI

Web competitor analysis

Web-design

About

I was chosen as one of only 15 young designers nationwide to participate in a project called "Design Wings". Through this project I got my second UI/UX job for 5 months terminated contract.

This company is specializing in making document and processes management tools for workplaces. At that time they were working on document management system based on existing product called "Microsoft SharePoint" and they had a greater demand for UI and visual design rather than UX. While we identified minimal existing user issues, conducting further research unfortunately wasn't a company's priority at the time.

In business, delivering a product to the market, even if it lacks polish, often takes precedence. This company struggled for an entire year to settle on a product name, essential for launch. It became evident they required a professional to propel them forward from this stagnant state.

Constrains
  • Zero budget for user research.
  • Disaligned team.
  • No visual identity or style.
  • No lead or senior designers (except for my mentor giving advice).
  • Usability testing only with stakeholders.

Stakeholder interview

Before getting the job I was informed that my client needs an UI redesign for their new document management system, but of course that was too abstract, so I had to dig deeper.

After digging down deeper I unlocked a whole Pandora box of interesting challenges and goals.

Why?

Outcome:

  • Discovered that their document management system is based on already existing product "Microsoft SharePoint" which has its own constrains and technological limitations.
  • Saved time and money by uncovering technological constraints that guided my decision-making to align the visual UI direction closely with the original SharePoint framework.
  • Assessed situation allowed to come up with a plan and prioritize tasks and scope to meet the deadlines.
  • Made me better understand what is the end user we are creating for which is a Microsoft SharePoint user who is responsible for legal side of their companies and has a need to get signatures for documents from thousands of employees at time.

Product analysis

Because Sekasoft's product is based on SharePoint, I began studying the default SharePoint interface to discern which elements were created by Microsoft and which were customized by Sekasoft in order to learn and understand the current situation, issues, opportunities and challenges deeper before deciding the next step.

Why?

Outcome

  • Saved lots of time for company, because I discovered already existing Microsoft SharePoint UI and FluentWeb UI kits for figma, which allowed me to just drag and drop components instead wasting time picking fonts, colors or coming up with other assets. This not only made my job faster, but also made future maintenance easier, faster and cheaper as well.
  • Gave me necessary understanding of the product's UI and structure to proceed with my work.

Red parts indicating SharePoint components which are hard or risky to customize heavily while the rest of the interface is where companies have relatively more freedom to change

Name creation

Why?

Now that I figured out, that UI has to be based on FluentWeb UI kit the only thing it lacks are brand colors and such. However for that we must create an identity which starts with the name.

The stakeholders of this company attached significant personal importance to the product name, leading to a year-long impasse without a clear decision. This dilemma hindered progress on essential next steps such as logo creation, branding, and website development, crucial for initiating sales and achieving return on investment.

So my mentor and I went to their office and we had a brand strategy session to help the team align of their product and brainstorm name ideas.

Outcomes:

  • It took me four months and over 100 name proposals to address their longstanding pain point of not settling on a product name they liked.

    Finally, I created the name "Prodo" (short for professional digital office), which they absolutely loved. From here we were finally ready to tackle more important challenges.

Wireframing

Although the client needed their product to look more consistent with the rest of SharePoint, they also wanted to make some usability improvements.

The changes they wanted to make were based on regular user complaints from their "beta" version, which they upsold to customers of their other products.

Because the client was confident in the feedback they had received, they didn't want to invest in user research or testing for now. But to find the right solution to the problem users were facing, I had to explore through wireframes

Why?

Outcome:

  • I improved the user experience slightly by addressing minor interface problems, informed by stakeholder insights into their customers' needs, making my client more confident and ready to launch this product.

The "Design Wings" project, as mentioned earlier, mandated all 15 designers to create an Instagram Reel videos showcasing our process approximately three months into the project

Half way there! Take a rest and watch video about the first half :)

Visual identity

At this point I already created a name and we could move on to next steps necessary for product success.

At this stage I dived deeper into visual discovery by creating moodboards and letting the client choose their favorite creative direction.

Why?

Outcome:

  • Visual identity provided a foundation necessary to advertise and sell the product as it was crucial part for marketing and creation of further deliverables crucial for success.
Moodboards

From all three proposed creative directions, client picked the first moodboard which is more playful and modular, and opposite to official and formal.

Logo and social marketing templates

High fidelity

With visual identity done I could finally make our document management system look more custom and beautiful. Final result was fully branded and fully responsive UI, which my client was happy with.

Outcome
  • Final customization of UI made Prodo document management system branded and ready for market and advertising.
Before
After

Website

One final step left to take care of was a platform to sell this product on which is a website.

The final step remaining was to establish a platform for selling the product, namely a website. With only one week remaining in our five-month contract, we opted to develop a simple, few-page website, essentially serving as a temporary solution to advertise and sell the product online.

Outcome:
  • A straightforward yet effective website was developed within only a week, providing the company with the means to showcase and sell their product to potential customers and visitors.

Conclusions

This was my second digital product design job which was definitely different in terms of how broad rather than deep it was. I enjoyed the challenges and learned a ton.

Through 5 months of work not only I pushed the company from their stagnate situation, but also equipped them with everything they need to start marketing and selling their product.

One year later, after our contract had ended, the company reached out to me again, demonstrating their satisfaction with the service and their desire for further assistance 🎉

"Hey, how have you been?
I wanted to ask if you would be interested in designing a mobile application related to our Prodo?"

Ginta
Product owner at Sekasoft
1. Imperfect product which is launched is better than perfect product which is not in the market.

UX research and testing are undoubtedly crucial for ensuring a positive customer experience and satisfaction. However, in reality, businesses may not always have the luxury to prioritize these steps if they're struggling to turn a profit to survive. Through my experiences, I've learned to assess challenges and outcomes not solely based on how much there should be done, but rather on what was achievable within the constraints of current priorities and resources.

2. Investigating and understanding about the problem is better than jumping into solutions right away.

I always conduct stakeholder interviews and analyze their existing situation before planning my next steps. This approach has proven to be very effective as it often helps discover solutions that save the company time and money.