Portfolio Management App
One Facility by SMS Assist
SMS Assist is a facilities maintenance company in downtown Chicago, and in 2022 they wanted to bring their portfolio management tools to a mobile app.
In only a couple months, I performed the discovery, design, testing, and iterating of the mobile app which allows users to efficiently take actions on all work orders in their portfolio.
Lead UX Architect
August 2022 - current
iOS & Android App
The Problem Space
The users for this app are management roles for our commercial clients such as PetSmart and JP Morgan Chase, who oversee the maintenance for their facilities. These users need to monitor their entire portfolio and complete tasks in a timely manner in order to move a workorder forward. The longer a work order sits in a required action state the more money it cost our clients. Previously, the only way to complete actions was on our outdated desktop client portal. This portal does not provide the users with timely notifications and requires them to sit and constantly refresh. Our clients often spend a few days a week doing on sight visits to their facilities and need a mobile tool designed to execute tasks as simply as possible.
Our app was a mobile solution that allowed users to easily see what tasks they had and to complete them efficiently.
When I started this project I had very little knowledge on the portfolio management roles that our clients have. I needed to do extensive research to figure out which tasks were most important and what exactly their needs must be. I conducted 10 user interviews with various roles including VPs, regional managers, and district managers for clients such as Pet Smart and Signet Jewelers. All of these users perform actions such as accepting quotes. After completing the interviews I grouped the responses into like themes.
I learned that users spent anywhere from 1 to 3 days per week on the road visiting stores and currently have to bring their laptop around to complete any tasks.
This validated the need for a mobile app that can be used while on the go.
Users were having to do workarounds on our portal in order to receive the proper notifications.
This told us that we need to ensure that we put extra effort in creating a robust notification system.
Users wanted the screens to be simple and actionable. They did not want to have to sort through "clutter" while trying to complete tasks quickly.
Discovered that with so many different roles and clients it is impossible to make a one size fits all solution. The app needed to be configurable for the user's specific needs and priorities.
Portfolio managers need a digital tool to easily check the health of their locations, view all open work orders and efficiently execute tasks while on the go, in order to effectively manage the maintenance of their locations.
After brainstorming sessions where I got my ideas onto paper through sketches I started to build out the initial wireframes. I had the goal to keep the app very clear and avoid any unnecessary clutter that traditional dashboards might show. I only wanted the users to see what tasks they had and give them an easy path to completion
Home Screen Concept #1
The very first home screen low fidelity mockup was aiming to create a dashboard with a lot of the different actions tied to them. However this doesn't provide much value to the user as there is nothing insightful on this page.
Home Screen Concept #2
The next concept aimed at bringing a lot more information onto the home screen. Allowing users to see the most important work orders and actions that they needed to take care of. The issue was this became very overbearing with too much information which took away from our main goal of a simple and efficient tool for our users.
Home Screen Concept #3
The third and final concept was a bit more of a hybrid of the previous screens. It allows the user to see what they deem highest priority work orders at all time through the watch list. As well as giving them a simple way to navigate in and out of every task they have to do. We learned later in user testing that different clients prioritize the watch list very differently and eventually moved it below the actions so that it wasn't as front and center.
I love user testing. It opens my eyes to different issues and ideas that I never would have thought of myself. Once I had my wireframes I wanted to get them in front of real users as quick as possible. I performed 5 initial user testing sessions with many more later as I kept building upon the app.
Users loved how simple the home page was (concept #3). It allowed them to easily see how many tasks they had at hand and complete one at a time
I found out that users were wondering where the escalations section was. I had added it as a filter option in the work order management section but users showed me that it was high enough priority to have it's own dedicated section.
Users really wanted to be able to compare existing and previous quotes they have received. This lead to a compare quotes tool being built which included the ability to compare to previous quotes.
A big win was users were extremally excited about the premise of receiving push notifications for different actions they needed. Gone are the days of sitting and refreshing the desktop portal.
I knew I needed to spend extra time on notifications, and ended up doing more research and testing solely for notifications. What was left was a robust and customizable notification experience.
Users wanted more information about their locations, including the overall "health" of the store as well as number of open work orders and actions required for that specific location.
After testing and iterating I was able to complete the final prototype with the help of my UI designer Joy Lam. Things were always fluid as I continued to add more flows and tested whenever possible. The app is meant to be an effective tool that extremely busy users can use to easily get an overview of their entire portfolio and efficiently execute actions.
The final home screen has simple cards and the watch list below the actions allowing the user to be undistracted when deciding which action to take.
Locations need attention
Users are able to easily see what locations require their attention, and how many of those are closed due to maintenance. All while still sipping their morning coffee, preparing them for what they will need to accomplish that day.
High Priority Requests
Similar to the locations need attention page, this is an overview of all of your high priority work orders, with the ability to sort by the different types of requests, giving the user the ability to view just one at a time or all if they prefer. Once again allowing the user to be aware of what their portfolio has going on before ever opening a laptop.
Manage Work Orders
Users can view all of their open work orders and use the robust filtering system to customize their experience however they like. Some clients prefer to view certain service categories such as broken glass. Other clients only want to view the work orders in a certain region. We realized that every client is different and we needed to provide them the ability to create the perfect experience for themselves.
Users can see all the information they need in order to make a decision on whether to approve or decline a quote.
Users can view all of their locations in their portfolio. They will be able to see which stores are closed due to maintenance, inactive, and active. They will also see a preview of the location health score which allows the user to get a quick snapshot of how much risk a store has to closing.
Users can view any location in their portfolio and get this detailed report. It will show them their detailed health score and even provide them with recommended actions to improve this health score. They will also see a lot of the same information that they would see on the home page except this time it would be tailored to only that specific location.
I created an extremely configurable notification system since it was unrealistic to create a one size fits all solution for this. Users can choose which type of notifications they receive and change this based on the required action, location, and whether or not the work order is on their watch list. While it is a lot of options users were able to navigate this and preferred the excess of information and options.
This app is finishing development and I am excited to share data on the impact it has in the near future. The promise of the app has been pivotal in securing clients for SMS Assist and will help improve the entire workflow.
Being the lead designer on this project allowed me to make mistakes and learn a lot about how I would tackle this project if I was to start tomorrow.
If you aren't as informed on a topic talk to a user. Nobody knows their true needs more than the user themselves and speaking with them will give you a clear path to take moving forward.
User testing will open your eyes to problems you didn't even consider. Without user testing this app would have fallen way short of it's goals. It is extremely important to have real users give you honest feedback.
Don't cut corners. The design of this app was completed in a couple months. There were times where the process was moving fast and it would have been easy to make assumptions and move forward. If I did this however, it only would have lead to more problems down the road.
Lean on your teammates. I have the luxury of having fantastic coworkers who are always willing to participate in a design review or just talk through initial concepts. This added brainpower goes a long way.
Special thanks to my team! Without them this wouldn't have been possible.
UI Designer: Joy Lam
Product Manager: Dixit Chopra