Bill Gates wrote a book called “Business @ The Speed of Thought”. I don’t remember exactly when I read that book, but it did impart me the sense of urgency one needs in business, and in design.
Fast forward to recent times when I was working in an agile software development project. User stories are the holy grail for design & development. People revolved around stories, epics, acceptance criteria and got the work done in sprints.
In one of my projects for a telecom operator, I was designing the reports module. I sketched two explorations of the UI.
Here is how the UI is supposed to work – It is a progressive disclosure (step wise reveal).
1) On the page, only Data Source choice is seen first. User starts with a selection of data source.
2) Report selector is then shown to the user. User chooses a report name.
3) The page shows up the report columns to build the query.
4) The user clicks “Generate Report” button and the report is shown to the user.
Notice the differences in the approach – in Exploration#1 report column selection can be done by drag-n-drop of column names. In Exploration#2, there are additional filters for reports, “Save as Favorite” action to the report, contextual data presented to the user as “related reports”.
Exploration#2 was finally chosen by the development team.
Time to create these two explorations, discuss and select was 1 hour.
Time is the essence.