Good designers do whatever it takes to make good design. Sometimes, it means to pick up field specific knowledge, and understand unfamiliar professional needs in a short time.
web application design, geographic information system
As an interaction design intern at 39 Degrees North, I was involved in the redesigning Monroe County Web Geographic Information System (GIS). This system includes the web GIS application for general public which is available via Monroe County government website, and a suite exclusively for government employees’ professional use. The wide range of user types and specific field knowledge of geographic information system made this project very challenging.
Learning the problems with the old design is always a good starting point of a redesign project. We went to the county government to collect feedback on the old system, and also conducted contextual inquiry and interviews with 5+ departments and roles such as planning department, building department, and highway department. We distilled valuable insights that would inform the design change, and shared them with the design team, project manager, marketing manager, and development lead. At the same time, we were picking up whatever we could about GIS from co-workers and users.We analyzed other GIS web applications, sketched ideas, and made wireframes for internal design critique with stakeholders as well as the evaluations with users. The final design evolved through many rounds of iterations. Together with developers, project manager, and marketing manager, we prioritized features and functions according to the importance and implementation difficulties. Then we wrote interaction specifications to document detailed UI behaviors.
Collaborator: Susan Coleman Morse, Nick Gentile
Methods & Tools: contextual inquiry, interviews, sketching, wireframing, Balsamiq, Photoshop
Timeline: May. 2009 - Jun. 2009