My Role: Lead product designer
Team: Front-end developers, Product Owner, Backend developers, myself as the Product Designer
Time: June-July 2023
In the world of business tools, GEMS (event management system), was the backbone of Bowlero, originally housed within Dynamics 365. But within this digital landscape, challenges lurked. Managing user roles and permissions was like navigating a complex maze, leading to inefficiencies and user frustration.
This case study is your backstage pass to the transformation of the user and roles management piece of the product (from Dynamics 365 to this new web application), where the core foundations of the new product were established, that has been driving the rest of the new GEMS product. Discover how we listened to our users, devised practical solutions, and streamlined the design process, resulting in a significant improvement for our Sales Ops users.
Ready to dive in?
It was the onset of a new month and a new project. Sitting in my home office, coffee in hand, I opened up my laptop and dove into the GEMS project. With every sip of my morning brew, I became more immersed in the feedback from the Sales Ops users of the old GEMS that was built in Dynamics 365. They felt lost in a system they should have easily navigated, struggling to manage user roles and permissions effectively.
I thought, “This isn’t just about tweaking a few buttons. This is about rethinking the whole user experience.” The GEMS system was ripe for change.
How might we implement a user roles and permissions system in the new GEMS product to let Sales Ops users efficiently manage user creation, record handling, role assignment, and permissions, all while keeping the experience intuitive?
Another morning, another challenge. In my cozy home office, where inspiration thrives, I wrapped myself in the warmth of a soft blanket as our team embarked on another virtual journey. Through the lens of Zoom, Miro, and FigJam, I dove headfirst into a whiteboarding exercise with the Product Owner. Thanks to her great experience with UX Stategy, this collaboration session once again felt like a breeze.
Our discussion sparked a flood of potential solutions, all aimed at enhancing the user experience within GEMS. Despite the physical distance, the collaborative energy of our remote session made my home office feel like a hub of creativity, a place where innovation thrives, and challenges are met with enthusiasm.
As I settled into my workspace as per usual, I took off on the task of crafting more detailed user flows. These digital pathways, born from our brainstorming and ideation sessions, held the promise of offering our Sales Ops users a more seamless and intuitive journey through the complex landscape of GEMS.
These user flows enabled me and my team to spot potential roadblocks and bottlenecks early in the design process, ultimately saving us valuable time and resources in development.
During the design phase, my primary focus was on the "craft" of transforming imaginative solutions into user-friendly interfaces that not only appealed visually but also seamlessly supported users in accomplishing their tasks. I shouldered the responsibility of ensuring that the final design didn't merely check functional boxes but seamlessly melded with the product's established design identity and brand essence. This comprehensive approach formed the cornerstone of my mission to craft a visually cohesive and user-centric journey within GEMS.
Relying on the user flows as my guiding framework, I dived into designing the high-fidelity wireframes in Figma. Each wireframe felt like an idea coming to life, a significant step closer to our final product.
I initiated design reviews with our Product Owner (PO) to ensure the designs aligned with our goals and met user needs. Her insights were invaluable, helping me refine the wireframes further.
Following that, I facilitated design reviews with our dedicated development team to ensure the designs were not only visually compelling but also feasible and efficient to implement.
Throughout this iterative journey, I engaged in constant feedback sessions, actively listening to suggestions and making necessary adjustments and enhancements. This collaborative approach allowed me to fine-tune our design dynamically in response to real-world considerations.
When addressing the user interface aspect of the wireframes, my primary focus was on maintaining consistency, meeting accessibility standards while enhancing its visual appeal and user-friendliness. Drawing from our design system was key to achieving this goal.
If you're curious to learn more about the design system that shapes GEMS, I invite you to explore the design system case study. It's a valuable resource that reveals how I built a design system from the ground up and integrated it into the GEMS project. It shows how this framework brings consistency and purpose to GEMS, offering a behind-the-scenes look at its visual identity and consistency. Check the design system case study related to GEMS.
By adhering to the principles and patterns set within this phase, I established design standards that would serve as a blueprint for the rest of the product. This consistency in design ensured that as GEMS expanded and evolved, it would continue to provide users with a familiar and intuitive experience, setting the stage for a successful and user-centric product journey.
With the designs nearly finalized, it was time to hear from our primary audience: the Sales Ops users. We organized walkthrough sessions, and the feedback was encouraging. All users appreciated the clean and straightforward layout, with only a few minor adjustments suggested.
The journey to design the new GEMS was challenging yet fulfilling. Each step, from the initial concepts to user feedback, ensured GEMS was going to be a reliable and efficient tool for its users.
The design phase had come to a close, and a sense of eager anticipation filled the room. It was now time to ensure that my designs seamlessly made their way into the hands of the developers, ready to be transformed into a functional product.
Before this hand-off could take place, a critical step had been accomplished: the design had undergone a thorough sign-off process. This sign-off was similar to giving a green light, indicating that the design was well-prepared, thoroughly reviewed, aligned with our project's goals and user needs.
To ensure a smooth transition from design to development, I created a separate development file. This file, once handed over, was meant to remain unchanged, preserving the original design. If changes were needed, I implemented a changelog section within the development file to document and communicate modifications effectively.
The pros of integrating documentation, notes to devs, or specs were notable. These resources offered an in-depth understanding of how specific design elements should be translated into functional features. Whether detailing user interactions, addressing behavioral nuances, considering design aesthetics, or laying out technical prerequisites, these sections made sure that when developers began working on the handed-off designs, they had all the important info they needed to understand it well.
The fusion of user flows and wireframes brought forth a host of advantages. First and foremost, it enhanced the clarity of design intent for both developers and stakeholders. By visually mapping user interactions, developers could more readily grasp intended functionalities, leading to a final product that closely aligns with the envisioned user experience.
As we wrapped up our journey, GEMS' story unfolded. It used to be a confusing maze, but now it's a clear and inviting path. The numbers we looked at, like the stars in the night sky, showed us we not only met our goals but also made GEMS a shining example in user-friendly design.
User satisfaction scores showed a notable boost, increasing by 75%. This was measured through post-implementation surveys and user feedback, highlighting the system's improved usability and efficiency, translating into happier users.
The percentage of users with the correct system access increased significantly by 30%, measured through a before-and-after comparison of user permissions and access logs. This reflected the successful implementation of role-based access control, as users now had access only to what they needed, enhancing security.
As I look back at the journey of transforming GEMS, I'm reminded of the power of empathy, innovation, and collaboration. It all began with a simple cup of morning coffee and a challenge: How can we make GEMS more intuitive and user-friendly for Sales Ops users, shifting it from its legacy Dynamics 365 experience into a completely new and refreshing product?
Throughout this adventure, each chapter unfolded like a new day, revealing fresh insights and solutions. From ideation to wireframing, and from user flows to high-fidelity design, my team and I shaped GEMS to align seamlessly with the needs of our users.