“A freelancer undertakes paid professional projects for multiple clients at a time. Design a
system that helps a freelancer manage different projects at different stages of completion, and track due dates, payment status, and hours worked.”
- Sketched and ideated on an interface design
- Wrote a design pitch
- Produced design specifications
- Created prototype storyboard illustrating key tasks
- Conducted a summative evaluation through consulting usability heuristics
Sketching and Ideation
1. Establish connections between tasks
I wrote down all of the tasks listed in the design brief and used arrows to establish connections. This helped me quickly visualize which information was connected, as well as which screens are necessary.
I established that I needed to build 2 screens: a project dashboard and a project overview.
I also identified key interactions to design for: status update, details update, hours update, project update, and fees update.
2. Engage rapid sketching to visualize ideas
I liked the idea of using overlays to accomplish tasks. The use of overlays can limit the number of details displayed on the dashboard at any given time.
Alternative Freelancer Dashboard apps include DashThis and Bonsai. However, these alternatives focus primarily on financial analytics and invoice features for freelancers. My freelancer dashboard design can better address the need for managing all client information in one easy-to-navigate desktop application so that freelancers can better retrieve company information to contact clients.
Additionally, freelancers take-on projects that contain multiple deliverables and deadlines. It can become overwhelming to keep track of all deadlines for all projects and determine which deadlines overlap, as well as which project stages are presently active. My freelancer dashboard design can better address this need by presenting freelancers with all of their project deadlines on one interface, in addition to the status of each project’s stage. This will help freelancers better organize their hours and accomplish the work they are hired to do.
Design Specs and Prototypes
Project Dashboard Screen Hypotheses
- I believe freelancers will better distinguish the most pressing deadlines using the overdue project section in the dashboard screen leading to improved project deadline organization and timely project delivery.
- I believe freelancers will better distinguish the total number of hours worked on multiple projects using the active project section in the dashboard screen leading to improved time management and distribution of work hours over projects.
Project Overview Screen Hypotheses
- I believe freelancers will better remember client information using the client section in the project overview leading to improved client interactions in the discussions with clients.
I performed a summative evaluation on the desktop user interface through consulting the “10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design” by Jakob Nielsen (1994). I identified where the user interface design of the freelancer project dashboard meets heuristic guidelines, as well as where it misses the mark.
In the next steps of this project, I will prioritize incorporating customizable layout features for users in both the project overview page and the dashboard (home page).
Nielsen, J. (1994, April 24). 10 Heuristics for User Interface Design. Nielson Norman Group. nngroup.com/articles/ten-usability-heuristics/