Content Publisher

I designed an in-house product to simplify publishing for the intranet. I designed a workflow for publishing and merged 5 apps into 1 tool.

Case Study & Showcase

Establish governance for intranet redesign

Project Keywords
Timeline

Dec. 2020 - Mar. 2021

Platform

Microsoft O365 Power Platform

My Role

Sr. Product Designer

My Role

As a senior member of the Digital Communications team at ConocoPhillips corporate headquarters, one of the roles I played on the team was digital and employee experience specialist. Our 5-person multi-function working team consisted of IT and communications specialists and functional leadership.

Skills
Research
UX Architect
  • Objective

    Over the 6 previous projects that I worked on with the Digital Communications work teams, confusion and inefficency plagued the workflows and the employee’s experiences because governance and processes were not well documented or researched. So the goal of this project was to capture governance requirements and  define a system to support improved content strategy.

    Research

    Features

    The latest intranet design was the second major redesign in 5 years. The previous project had failed. One of the pain points was that many of the changes to the last redesign had reverted back to previous states of disorder. There were many assumptions about user expectations and behaviors.

    Ethnographic research to identify users

    I served as the analytics manager and intranet content manager. Due to my dual specialist role on the content publishing I was privy to lots of ethnographic data about the whole publishing workflow.

    Result
    User: Employee Content Network

    Skeptical employees who create and manage content as a second role for their function. Frustrated because they just learned how to use the last intranet platform.

    Problem #2

    The team had no accumulated knowledge of the user. On top of that there was no additional resources allocated research.  So I had to establish the image of the user and systems on my own. 

    Workflow Map & Desktop Research

    I used my visual communication skills to build visuals of insights about the users and the systems. The approach earned me buy-in for building a system. 

    Problem #3

    The latest intranet design was the second major redesign in 5 years. The previous project had failed, one of the pain points was that many of the user behaviors from the last intranet strategy had reverted back to previous states of disorder. There were many assumptions about user expectations and adopting new behaviors, so learning about the user was a big insight.

    Defining user needs, challenges and goals

    The foundation of IBM Enterprise framework is usability of for the business, systems and the user. Based on that framework I identified pains that impacted the key actor in the content publishing use case. 

    Intranet Manager

    "My role requires many hats but what makes it most inefficient is how manual the work is. Also finding backup support adds lots of risk if I have to take off."

    • No documentation. Only a couple of team members knew how the workflow works and were capable of exectuting.
      Knowledge Transfer
    • Governance was identified as a gap during intranet audit. 
Roles, standards and task flows were undocumented.
      Knowledge Transfer
    • There was not training, but content authors felt the workflow had a deep learning curve.
      Knowledge Transfer
    • Need for new roles, no additional headcount resources.
      Content management
    • Maintenance and policing new standards.
      Content management
    • Workflow steps are cumbersome and require lot of redundancy.
      User Experience
    • Need for automation. Wearing many hats, lean resources.
      User Experience
    • No platform to support gaps. Requests all coming to personal inbox,
      User Experience

    Desgn Challenge

    Interaction Design

    Designing a new content publishing experience

    I tested features early and fast, and I used recorded interviews to captured user reactions.

    I used Acrobat PDF to make a form prototype and collected feedback. I took the form into interviews for usability testing sessions. Tests helped me identify expectations about features. 

    Result
    Quick and dirty prototype

    PDF Form - MVP

    Approach

    I translated user experience into design requirements with business and tech feasibility in mind. I am able to contribute to designing and building the final output from end to end. design implementation and build interactions from research insights.

    InspirationWireframePresentationFeedback
    Collect patterns & lawsTest design ideas Share design story Iterate finer detail
    I collect reference interaction and design patterns to minimize user learnability and make the build feasible.For each story I build out the components and screens with boxes and lines to test the design. This is a collaborative step.Getting client buy-in is key to selling the approach. I build a storyboard of the design to show how it fits on the users journey. Collaborative communication is key to my approach, I rapidly design several versions and iterations in response to feedback.

    User Research outcomes

    Content Publishing Workflow

    Optimization
    Reduced the complexity of publishing workflow by demonstrating automation.
    Strategy
    I delivered a realistic business case to functional leadership detailing causes and inspiring ideas for solutions.
    Previous slide
    Next slide
  • Objective

    Using the insights and data I collected during interviews and analysis of ethnographic data, I organized the needs and prioritized what I need to design. Design pains impact users in 3 key areas, the business stakeholders, systems and users. I represented the business stakeholders so the design would impact system and users.

    Design priorities and backlog

    System Needs
    system to support governance
    User Needs
    capture user feedback

    Approach

    Architecting on 0365 tools

    Managing multiple stakeholders requirements

    • IT stakeholders- One of the early requirements the system would need to be built on the Microsoft O365 platform.
    • Communication stakeholders - Leadership decided not to add this project to the budget. The first version of the solution would depend on internal resources to build and operate.

    Feature #1

    The previous process had 30-40 distinct tasks, and used 5 different applications. The more intrusive pain points were caused from inconsistency and the whole thing was very manual. A single communication employee made the whole process run which was risky.

    I used Power Platform apps to build an all-in-one system that content owners used to submit content requests to content Publishers. 

    System map for all-in-one content request system
    • Key features
    • Easy Interface for requests
    • Status dashboard
    • Content Archive
    • Tips & guides for content authors
    • Automated notifications & alerts

    Feature #2

    Content author was a cross-functional secondary role of the users of this system. The primary role was engineer, IT specialist, HR professional and media relation professional. Learning to use the intranet and submitting request was the top task that the system needed to solve. The users expectations  was a sensitive topic because of had poor past experiences  with the intranet.

    Interface to inform requests
    Dynamic screen flow for receiving content requests

    I developed a 4 screen flow using Nintex to build a dynamic form and workflow. The request interface seamlessly integrated with the SharePoint list for the backend and the front end SharePoint intranet site.

    Note: High-fidelity design was not in scope for this phase of the project. This version was a proof of concept to show how a system could improve the content publishing experience.

    AttachmentsThumb
    Content Authors prepare & upload content for articles

    In prototyping I learned that producing clear content instructions and a simple content attachment uploader were key pain points for content authors. Request data was lost because it came from many different channels. Poor requests impacted the content strategy and the employee experience on the intranet.

    Content DetailsThumb1
    Intranet manager has to repeatedly content coaching

    In prototyping I learned that the repetitively the added tasks of teaching and policing content request standards added 40% more workload to the content publisher. This job was not supported by user training and also went undone when backups managed publishing if the primary was on PTO.

    Feature #3

    Learning how to user the intranet for publishing and  how to satisfy the publishing standards were key obstacles to improving the user experience. 

    Onscreen Tips & Content Guides

    I guided content authors to meet the content standards  by building the steps into the form validation.

    I created guides to define content standards and terminology, and linked them in to the form screens.

    Content Details_Tools&Tios

    Links to helpful content guides

    form validation error message

    Feature #4

    Status Dashboard

    The interaction of the publishing workflow relied solely on the intranet manager. There were no tools for managing jobs and tickets so managing work was done in email. The messy nature of the chore added redundant tasks and caused many requests to be lost or missed if instructions changed. 

    I created a SharePoint list to manage all of the content request data. This separate tool worked sort of like a “IT Ticket box”. It made it easier for the intranet manager to track requests, changes and find story assets. 

    As a result there were fewer late and missing content requests, and the burden was reduced with Intranet manager went on PTO. 

    I connected the form and the Dashboard with Microsoft Power Automate scripts. There was a "Status request view" for the intranet and a "Content request view" for the content authors.

    Feature #5

    The latest intranet design was the second major redesign in 5 years. The previous project had failed, one of the pain points was that many of the user behaviors from the last intranet strategy had reverted back to previous states of disorder. There were many assumptions about user expectations and adopting new behaviors, so learning about the user was a big insight.

    Automated Notifications & Alerts

    The foundation of IBM Enterprise framework is usability of for the business, systems and the user. Based on that framework I identified pains that impacted the key actor in the content publishing use case. 

    Intranet Manager

    "My role requires many hats but what makes it most inefficient is how manual the work is. Also finding backup support adds lots of risk if I have to take off."

    • No documentation. Only a couple of team members knew how the workflow works and were capable of exectuting.
      Knowledge Transfer
    • Governance was identified as a gap during intranet audit. 
Roles, standards and task flows were undocumented.
      Knowledge Transfer
    • There was not training, but content authors felt the workflow had a deep learning curve.
      Knowledge Transfer
    • Need for new roles, no additional headcount resources.
      Content management
    • Maintenance and policing new standards.
      Content management
    • Workflow steps are cumbersome and require lot of redundancy.
      User Experience
    • Need for automation. Wearing many hats, lean resources.
      User Experience
    • No platform to support gaps. Requests all coming to personal inbox,
      User Experience

    Approach

    I translated user experience into design requirements with business and tech feasibility in mind. I am able to contribute to designing and building the final output from end to end. design implementation and build interactions from research insights.

    InspirationWireframePresentationFeedback
    Collect patterns & lawsTest design ideas Share design story Iterate finer detail
    I collect reference interaction and design patterns to minimize user learnability and make the build feasible.For each story I build out the components and screens with boxes and lines to test the design. This is a collaborative step.Getting client buy-in is key to selling the approach. I build a storyboard of the design to show how it fits on the users journey. Collaborative communication is key to my approach, I rapidly design several versions and iterations in response to feedback.

    Content Publishing App

    A enterprise tool content managers that supports all phases of the publishing workflow.

    Automated tasks for publishing content - reduced workload without additional headcount
    Reduced missed requests by adding a job status dashboard
    Designed and built internally by communications team, with almost no IT dependence

Revised workflow

Screen1_Request-Form

Content Manager

An Internal Digital Communications Manager uses this app to manage all phases of the publishing workflow. The app also trains content authors on governance and collects an archive of your content for analytics and measurement.

Key Outcomes