(Coming soon: examples of recent work on B2B software products…)
Examples of 3Leaf Projects
The ‘Houston Social Services Database’
My team had an opportunity to work on a project that has great potential for positive social impact: a tool that helps people find the social services they need. A reader may be thinking that this tool sounds like something that should already exist. After all, the concept is pretty basic We can already search to find places to eat, watch movies, work or purchase things - so why would social services be any different?
To be fair, it does exist in many ways: for example: there are social workers, non-profit organizations, and humanitarian groups in most cities. There are also resources for finding help, such as public libraries or even just the internet. Amazingly however, it’s surprisingly difficult for people to find the social services they need. Even when people do manage to find a service that meets one need, there’s often no easy way to find resources to help with their other needs. For example: “I found a shelter, but where can I find jobs training?”, or “Is there a food pantry within walking distance of the clinic I located?”. For reasons largely specific to the world of social work, this kind of information easily becomes obsolete. By extension finding reliable data - when it’s needed - is often very difficult.
The talented data scientists and developers at January Advisors built a prototype of a web tool to solve this problem (with the help of another excellent team of subject matter experts who work in the world of social services). After they succeeded in building a tool with impressive functionality they contacted 3Leaf Consulting for expert UX guidance.
The project required an ultra-fast turnaround, so our team focused on delivering a set of basic yet very consequential design improvements. With short timelines like this, we like to apply a condensed version of our 3Leaf method, which results in the same deliverables as normal (strategic UX guidance, design specifications, ad hoc personas and scenarios, styles guides, downloadable visual assets, etc.) yet with a level of rigor scaled down to the appropriate scope. Our solution focused on nailing the key requirement of allowing users to quickly and easily find the social services they need. We also anticipated where the product will likely grow (in terms of functionality) and tailored our designs to have “growing room” in those directions.
The final result was a excited team of developers and data scientists eager to improve their product based on their new UX guidance. The contributors on this 3Leaf project were Valerie Howard (UX architect), Victoria Cooke (visual designer), and myself (Principal). I look forward to seeing where January Advisors take this very exciting project in the future!
Tracts.co Software Refactoring
Our team at 3Leaf had the pleasure of working with a very impressive local startup here in Houston called Tracts. They have a talented team, a great idea, a working product and a growing customer base. The leadership at Tracts was prudent enough to understand that having a strong user experience in their digital products was necessary for maintaining a competitive advantage.
The initial software was built to accomplish some very practical and straight-forward use cases. As the user base expanded to include additional job roles, so grew the need to reconsider the structure of the software. We started with personas. By properly crafting an appropriate cast of personas, we were able to design the software in such a way that every type of user would be able to accomplish their tasks in a way that meets their own specific needs.
We carefully restructured the screen flows and architecture such that the product could easily grow in the right direction. This meant that the 3Leaf team had to acquire a strong understanding about the intended direction of the product. This restructuring was based upon a greater clarity around the mental models of each intended user. In other words: the software presents information in the same way its users think about the information. The guiding mental models were based on the insights we gained while working on the project.
Finally, we provided our client with everything they needed in order to enhance their product according to our designs. Development teams require very specific guidance on many levels (information architecture, visual design patterns, etc.). This collaboration with Tracts resulted in critical enhancements to their already successful software. Sometimes taking your product to the next level requires bold reconsiderations of your existing product, and reimagining the way you present your solution to the your users.