By Lisa Rabideau, Senior Director of User Experience, Deltek
Designing With Deltek Project Nation In Mind
Today, users have high expectations for their software solutions; they want to navigate their business operations with the same simplicity they experience with technology elsewhere in their lives. With this in mind, Deltek's project-based ERP solutions need to be easy to use for individuals and deliver world-class functionality that meets the complex requirements of today's organizations. To accomplish this, our User Experience (UX) team makes sure the voice of our end-users is not only heard but advocated for when developing and improving features in our product portfolio.
Deltek’s UX team works closely with Product Management and Engineering to ensure Deltek Project Nation stays top of mind when delivering our industry-specific solutions. This is done through a set of design principles that establish value statements to align these teams on what is most important when it comes to designing our products.
Our design principles influence how we approach and solve problems when building a product so that as we are making day-to-day decisions, we know how to prioritize, and as a result, deliver a better, more cohesive user experience. These design principles include:
- User Data Drives Decisions: We seek to understand who our user is, how the product fits into their day and the emotional impact of performing the product’s tasks. User research and data drive our decisions.
- The Product is Simple and Familiar: We strive to maintain consistency both stylistically and in terms of how users interact with the product. The product should be learnable and memorable whether the user is new or old, while seamlessly integrating new technology to provide value to the business.
- The Path to Success is Clear: Guidance, feedback and error recovery should help the user feel in control. The product gives the user a clear path through efficient and delightful interactions, focusing on what matters most to the task at hand with confidence.
Transforming Our Product Portfolio
The UX team continuously seeks to better understand our users through research such as interviews, usability tests, and surveys to ensure we have the data needed to make informed design decisions with confidence. Through this research and input from our end-users we are able to design features and functionality that we know Deltek Project Nation needs and wants.
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Here are a few examples of how applying these design principles have transformed our products:
During our Deltek Costpoint research, user feedback revealed how the breadth of the navigation menu was potentially impacting productivity for users who wear multiple hats. Since these individuals do not work within a discrete role, having access to the many features in Costpoint’s all-in-one system was making navigating processes somewhat challenging − particularly when it came to remembering where to go next.
To create a better user experience and increase Costpoint productivity, the team pondered how to better streamline these processes and eliminate the need for manual checklists and memorization of steps. This evolved into a prototype where the concepts were tested and iterated with users until everyone was aligned on the solution.
The release of Costpoint 8 introduced these new visual click paths that users can define based on their company’s requirements for key processes like AP, Project Setup, and Month End Close. This new functionality now provides a familiar, easy-to-navigate path to success for Costpoint users.
Deltek Vantagepoint was designed with a modern user-interface, which emphasized presentation of data. In the original version there were two modes, a presentation mode for viewing data and making minor edits, and an edit mode for larger editing tasks such as initial data entry. As the product evolved, we started seeing some user challenges. For those individuals who routinely edit large data sets, changing between the two modes was burdensome when dealing with complex screens.
In 2018, we started experimenting with different ways to unify the two modes into a single layout. The UX team created interactive prototypes to demonstrate how this would work and tested the concept with customers, to ensure that the design would be efficient to implement and meet performance criteria.
We are excited that after several rounds of user testing and iterations to help fine tune the user experience, this improved functionality will be available in the upcoming release of Vantagepoint 4.5.
Through the evolution of Deltek WorkBook to become the single software solution to manage all of an agency's operations, along came unintentional complexity. Simplification of the product was needed but we were not sure where to start. To better understand how to do this, our UX team led an extensive audit and research effort with existing users to understand how they use WorkBook today, to formulate a hypothesis on needed product changes.
As a result of user feedback, we were able to prioritize design updates and make decisions that reflect our users’ needs, including a more simplified user interface with less icons, standardized menus, and user cues. We are looking forward to sharing these changes in the upcoming release of Workbook that will be highlighted at Virtual Deltek Insight next month.
Engage With Us
Our goal is not to have users adapt how they work to our solutions, but rather deliver solutions that work the way our users do. The Deltek User Experience team has year-round research efforts that are fantastic opportunities for users to share their perspectives through testing proposed features and interviews so we can continue to deliver world-class solutions. User engagement is critical to our success, which is why we encourage users across all roles to sign up for these research efforts.
Virtual Deltek Insight 2021
September 14 & 15
In addition, Virtual Deltek Insight 2021 is right around the corner! Look for opportunities to connect with our team and participate in the virtual UX Lab, where you can get a sneak peek and provide feedback on future product concepts.
About the Author
As Senior Director of Product Strategy, Lisa Rabideau leads the Deltek Global User Experience team. Lisa has 20 years of experience balancing user needs with business goals to solve problems and drive solutions built for project focused businesses. Connect with Lisa Rabideau on LinkedIn.
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