Hello, my name is Jade and I am a User Experience (UX) designer on the Flashline development team. I’m going to share what the team has been working on in the past four months.
What is Flashline?
Flashline is Kent State’s web portal. It serves students, faculty, advisors, staff and parents by providing access to hundreds (maybe even thousands) of resources through one site. The original Flashline product was designed and implemented over ten years ago. Since then, the layout has become dated and the resources within Flashline have increased drastically. In early 2015, the Platform and Integration Solutions department began the initial phase to redesign Flashline. By late 2015, the first beta site launched and provided students with a premature glimpse into the layout and functionality of the new product.
Changes you’ll notice.
Improved organization of Flashline content along with a search feature allows users to quickly access information and complete tasks more efficiently.
Time sensitive notifications.
The new Flashline sends notifications for time sensitive action items to students, staff and faculty. This helps users accomplish their tasks and stay on track.
The new interface includes a fully customizable dashboard view. This view allows users to reorganize content to their choosing, drag and drop tiles, links and other interface elements to create a personalized view.
Improved interface for mobile.
The new Flashline is being designed responsively; the layout is flexible, resulting in an optimal viewing experience across a full range of devices.
The role of a UX designer.
In my role as a UX designer, I try to learn the needs of the various types of users and balance those with the goals of the stakeholders. I spend my time talking to users, collecting data and feedback, and using this information to design the new Flashline interface. I strive to help create a user-centered Flashline that anticipates needs and provides a delightful experience.
User research is my favorite part of the redesign project, so far. I have conversations about the expectations and experiences users of Flashline have with current Flashline in order to understand what they need from the new product. It’s really helpful to learn about their pain points and of what’s not working very well for them, so that our team can plan for these issues in the new product.
I use the information gathered in the interviews and research to generate concepts for the new interface. I work with the team to think through the concepts and develop ideas. The concepts begin as low-fidelity wireframes, based on typical interface patterns, and eventually evolve into the actual interface design. Then, the development team builds the interface and functionality and it is released to the beta environment.
Eventually, our team will conduct user testing on the new interface. This includes usability testing and other measures to be sure the product we’re creating is what users need. Through user testing we can minimize issues and improve the product before it goes live for all of Kent State.
The newly redesigned and innovative Flashline is coming soon! It’s currently in development and soon you’ll be able to log in and take it for a test drive! I’ll continue to post about the UX happenings as they relate to the new Flashline!