RAFT Product

Senior UX Strategist at Throughline

September 2020-December 2021,
August 2022-February 2022

UI/UX Design

UX Research

Product Design

Branding

Accesibility

Context

The Request for Additional Funding tool (RAFT) is a financial management system that organizes funding requests across different organizations from draft to completion. This allows groups and organizations to better communicate and organize requests, as well as have a historical record and transactional data of their workflow.

My role in this project was primarily to design the UI of this tool, establishing and managing a design system, as well as overseeing how other designers implemented the system and associated visual assets. I also designed branding to go with the tool. In addition to design roles, I assisted with user research, UX design, testing, and overall documentation.

To see details on the design system that was created in tandem with this product, go here.

This tool's main goals were the following:

• Bring more clarity on overall movement of funding requests.
• Localize information in one place that was formerly in email threads.
• Give organizations and agencies a way to better coordinate between each other.

Purpose

Collaborating with a UX strategist, UX researcher, and content strategist, we took a sprint approach to figure out what layouts and screens we needed to design, along with some basic functionality of how a user would navigate the tool.

RAFT Research and persona images

Our task at large was to design a financial tool housed in a Sharepoint environment where administrators and users could manage tasks and requirements for the agency. This is a highly complex IT environment that spanned the globe, connecting offices to each other, tracking workload and progress throughout. Our approach was to make a simple tool that displayed just the right amount of information and wouldn't leave users with questions about what they were agreeing to or interacting with.

Implementation and Delivery

RAFT Mock ups

When nearing completion of the contract, we involved a developer to realize the designs. I worked with the developer to aid with CSS, answering any specific design questions that may arise. The client was given full user flows, over 180 complete mock-ups, prototypes, and a wealth of UX documentation, as well as the design system documentation.

RAFT form entry steps

Branding

Towards the end of designing the UI, we shifted to work on branding. The idea is that this tool would be able to work at a higher level than the section we were working at, applicable to other sections and agencies. With that in mind, our team created 2 logos, one overarching brand and one sub-brand logo. These would be later used for marketing materials as well.

Screenshots of stickies over logo options

We looked to brands which use a system of logos, with reference points to the wealth of print design we've already done for the client. From here the name became TaskDynamics and we developed a logo drawing on components of the RAFT logo that would be used for promotional materials about the tool.

Image of two logos, one that reads TaskDyanmics, the other that reads RAFT

Challenges, Lessons Learned, Impact

Initially, most of the work I did was to organize and pare down elements into a simple, repeatable manner. Things moved very quick, so it was a challenge to keep things tidy and correct. Creating a design system from scratch taught me a lot about organizing and documenting elements for future use within a system.

From a client perspective, the product was received very well. Along the process they were very receptive and excited to use the tool themselves. We were continually praised for the quality of work we did and got a lot of positive feedback to improve and grow the tool.

Further Improvements

After completing the first round of this product, we sought to expand the scope of this tool to include more of the process of other agencies. This includes refining the product as a whole as well as the design system. While conducting interviews, the team identified some new areas of the business process that wasn't accounted for in the tool. The main area existed in inputting data and information into the tool.

I played a few different roles this part of the project, handling high fidelity UI design, contributing to UX research, documenting design details and UX logic, and maintaining the design system throughout. My main focuses of this part of the project were:

• Strengthen the existing design system, finding technical efficiencies of design elements, and maintaining consistency.
• Build upon existing documentation of design and UX logic.
• Solve ways to incorporate a new data object into the system with as few UI changes.
• Contribute and assist UX research conducted by the team.

I kept these goals in mind with new designs and stuck to core design values of the tool.

Exported screens and descriptions of changes to the RAFT tool in a slide format

We started with identifying the new data object as a "requirement" something that comes before an actual concrete request. This allows colleagues to collaborate on a requirement before making a formal request. Previous pages were assessed and new design items were created to display this new data object. After these updates were made, a new form was created to handle requirements. Additional pages and functionality were added to the overall tool to seamlessly have these two separate data objects exist in the same space.

To finish up the second leg of the project, we tested our new designs with users and created materials to go along with the new features, updating any other guides or associated materials with information about the new data object. From there, we sustained the tool with backlog items and continued technical support.

These improvements to the established tool help expand the design system we created, as well as scale the scope of the tool overall, encompassing more users and helping them all get coordinated around their business process.