UX Case Study

Creating a UX Project Management System for UX Designers to Analyze and Manage their Stories

A system for UX Designers to start their UX projects correctly using Airtable, an online, collaborative database program

The Problem

Last summer, two UX Designers were added to the large, multi-team web app development project I was working on. As the Sr. UX Interaction Designer, I was charged with making sure their UX work was consistent and aligned with our Design System and UX standards. Through my UX review of their stories, I noticed problems, especially with how their stories were started.

These problems included:

  • UX Designers often jumped into doing their designs with Sketch or Axure without pausing to review the bigger picture or context of their story.
  • UX Designers were often late in deciding which consultations (User, SME, Developers, UI, or UI FED) one of their stories might need.

These problems resulted in stories not having completed or informed UX before the start of sprints.

The Solution

I set out to develop a UX Project Management System for the UX Designers on my team using an online database program. This would be a new process for the UX Designers for how to start their UX stories or projects. Requiring UX Designers to complete an onscreen form in the Project Management System helps them understand their stories in a big picture way. It also helps them make sure they don’t miss any important steps. I set up the database to have many checkbox fields that acted as reminders for the many next steps a UX story might have.

After trying several iterations of the system including using Microsoft Excel in Teams, I decided to use Airtable, an online, collaborative database. From my research, I learned Airtable has many unique benefits. It allows a more visual way to input information into a grid or form view. I used the Airtable database elements including checkboxes, multi-select fields, and scrolling text areas for the system. I configured image fields to store images of UX and existing web app screens within the database records for each story. These saved images served as a useful reference for both the context for a story and to catalog UX drafts and final designs. I also added text description fields for “User Pain Points”, “User Needs/Benefits”, and “Questions for the Grooming Team”.

Outcomes

Completing the Airtable form helped UX designers get more in touch with their stories before they started creating their wireframes. It also helped them see the big picture view and how their stories fit in with other UX/UI. Importantly, UX Designers were also able to identify, early on, which consultations with other team members or users were needed.

Another benefit of Airtable is its ability to archive all of the UX story records. This archive can be a useful tool for all of the UX/UI Team and other members of Development Teams as well. Team members can query using any of the fields. For example, queries could be done to bring up all the UX stories having to do with modals and side panels or grids done in the last year. This UX archive would also enable access to and retrieval of any of the data and images previously saved. An important benefit because it supports team efficiency and consistency.

A screen from Airtable, a collaborative, online database
I developed to create a “UX Project Management System” for my UX/UI team.