Do to company privacy policies, I cannot share specifics of this project publicly. Images below are masked versions of the designs produced. Project details and actual designs will be shared upon request.
StrataJazz® is a cloud-based financial planning, analytics and performance software for healthcare systems produced by Strata Decision Technology (Strata). Of all the solutions Strata provides it's clients, Financial Planning is experiencing the greatest growth in new subscriptions. As healthcare systems struggle with dwindling profit margins, they are seeking new tools to gain a better understanding of their expenditure, allocate resources and drive efficiency. The purpose of this project was to design a module in StrataJazz® for Finance Administrators at the corporate and entity levels to complete the annual budget plans for their healthcare systems.
Product Managers at Strata felt confident that they had enough user knowledge to inform initial concepts, but also felt the need to conduct further user research to fill any knowledge gaps and validate assumptions. I recommended conducting user interviews and concept tests with users in the same session to achieve these goals.
I began this project by interviewing Product Managers and Subject Matter Experts to gain domain knowledge and understand their assumptions about users of this product. I asked each of them what they thought the problem statement was. They said:
Finance Administrators are responsible for budgeting at multiple levels in their healthcare systems and commonly perform similar tasks over and over. Finance Administrators need a better way to seamlessly budget at multiple aggregation levels and access configurations for commonly performed tasks as it is difficult to achieve this in the current budgeting planning tool in StrataJazz.
Prior to conducting interviews, I held an ideation session with these stakeholders to come up with initial concepts to test with users.
Product Managers and Subject Matter Experts participate in concept solution design ideation session.
I conducted 10 exploratory interviews with Finance Administrators from various organizations to understand their budget planning process. At the end of the interview, I shared concept solutions that the team developed for feedback. The following are key insights that came out of these interviews and concept feedback sessions.
Budget data analysis and entry
Finance administrators create custom spreadsheets to analyze historical financial data to determine budget numbers. Strata and other financial planning software tools are used for budget data entry and approvals processes. Combining these processes into one consistent workflow would be easier to track and organize.
Widespread updates and changes
Finance administrators go into a large number of individual financial models to apply widespread budget assumptions and changes. They need to conduct these widespread changes in a consolidated manner.
Data measures, time periods and filtering
Finance Administrators look at different combinations of measures, time periods and entity groupings based on the type of analysis they are conducting. They need a way to configure the data in different ways to suit specific activities.
Data relationships and calculations
Finance administrators need to confirm that relationships between measures and calculations of budget values are correct. They need a way to see how values are calculated to troubleshoot and avoid discrepancies.
Access, security and error prevention
Finance administrators restrict access to financial models to avoid user errors that could have system level impacts. They need a way to restrict access and configure security of the budget model for the various types of users.
Uncertainty of process and tool change adoption
The budgeting process at our users' organizations are often rigid and complex. Many Finance Administrators use spreadsheets for budget analysis and have become used to these tools. The rigidity of users' and their organizational processes may present a challenge to innovative approaches.
We refined concepts based on insights gained from interviews and concept testing. The next task was to design information architecture and navigation that would allow the user to navigate between various sections of their budget, configure data views and access tools to complete commonly performed tasks. With these goals in mind, I created mid-fidelity interactive prototypes to test with users. Prototypes were revised and further refined with high-fidelity UI elements during rounds of usability testing. The following is a sample of user validated design elements incorporated in the final design solution.
- Hamburger menu allow users to navigate between sections of their budget.
- Side menu allows users to access section-level tools, menu UI and functionality is consistent in each section
- Hamburger menu overlays screen elements while side menu drawer pushes elements to allow users to view/edit table data while utilizing the panel
Hamburger menu navigation for budget section access and side menu navigation for page level tools.
- Side panel includes Grid Setup to allow users to configure and organize table data
- Row layout allows users to change the hierarchy of nesting in the table
- Grip icon used to signify that user may drag and drop row measures to reorder hierarchy
- Eye icon used to denote that row level data may be hidden or shown as the act of "hiding' data only toggles visibility and does not remove it from the data set
Components and interaction to reorder hierarchy of row data in the displayed data table.
Iconography and States
- Side panel icons designed to access page level tools in drawer panel
- Tested user recognition of icons in rounds of usability testing
- Designed inactive, active and hover states
Side navigation iconography with defined active, inactive and hover states.
Table Value UI
- Designed table value text UI to denote un-editable and editable values
- Designed UI for unselected, selected and hover states
- Selected editable value text color to meet WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Standards) contrast requirements and with consideration of color blind users
- Editable text differentiated with underline to accommodate users that unable to distinguish color according to accessibility best practices
Table cell UI with visual indicators of editable, non-editable and selected cells designed for accessibility.
This product was placed on the backlog of 5 development teams at Strata. Communication was key to this project due to the complexity of the design, the number of teams involved and newness of UX/UI elements. I held multiple sessions with Product Managers, Development Leads and Developers to share designs, user stories and task flows. The purpose of these sessions was to discuss technical feasibility, provide clarifications and capture any additional use cases that we needed to consider.
Development team reviewing feasibility and clarifying uses cases of design prototypes.
Feedback from users during rounds of concept and usability testing of this solution have been immensely positive. Finance Administrators are excited to use a budgeting tool that will allow them to analyze and edit their budget plans with greater efficiency. The ability to access and configure financial data in this module affords the appropriate contextual analysis to make informed budgeting decisions. Furthermore, users were excited to find an updated yet familiar experience to the modules they currently use in StrataJazz.
During the course of this project, I improved my ability to balance enabling complex user activities while maintaining simplicity of design. I achieved this through design and user testing of information architecture, navigation components and UI elements. I frequently referenced and followed accessibility standards while designing the UI of the interface. I created channels for frequent and transparent communication with Product Managers, Developers and other stakeholders for effective implementation of design.