Information Architecture: Prioritizing the Crucial
Position: UX Designer
Type of Company: Employment Agency
Project: Background Checks Process
Technologies: Field Study, User / Stakeholder Interview, Requirements Gathering, Task Flow Analysis
A user experience researcher is designing experiences based on the context and insight found from users and shareholders. My aim was to create a process relevant to users, easy to use, and have an ROI that reduced the company’s burden on resources. Good user research is key to designing a great user experience, not just a pretty visual. I’ll cover the business objective, how it was met, my research methods, and how I involved users throughout.
This is the original user task flow for a Background Check Agent. (Between 6 to 26 Days)
Business Objective: Decrease time spent processing Background Checks for candidates, approximately 15,000+ processed a month, and taking 1 hour just to enter.
The Background Check site spanned over 800 pages, users entered information in multiple locations, often repeating data, and mistakes could add long delays with vendors. For this case study, I’ll focus on the interviews and task flow analysis portion of this project since they provided the most information.
A meeting was held with data entry employees, managers, legal, and the department director. Understandably, people’s time is expensive, however getting everyone on board from the start meant less time spent getting everyone up to speed. Gaining buy-in early helped demonstrate the bottleneck and what it was costing the company.
I could empathize with users feeling overwhelmed and understand the company’s need to refine the workflow. As Lead UX Designer, I interviewed and shadowed users to create a task flow of each step, reviewed the information architecture of the entire site, and worked with the Development / Web Automation team to discuss internal and 3rd party solutions to speed up the process.
A major obstacle was figuring out where all the information was actually going and which steps were essential to an application's completion. From beginning to end, it was about 18 processes and each employee was not completely aware of the entire process due to upgrades over the past years. As I reviewed the process it became clear that something was wrong, a form no longer what used to generate case numbers.
"Employees were filling out a form that went nowhere"
After informing management, this form was removed and we released an immediate announcement through email, intranet, and workflow documentation. The process had been changed without letting the users know, and they were filling out a form that contributed nothing to the application process. This discovery alone aided in reducing application time but the real win came from process refinement.
This refinement process included mock-ups, testing, and feedback. Listening to both the tenured employees and new hires gave us an outline for a 4 part process that could be completed by one user from beginning to end, or distributed out to specific teams.
This is the final updated process (Between 3.5 & 16 days)
The outcome for this project:
Designed a homepage with a 4 step process
Cut cost with fewer vendors
Reduced processing wait time
Created an alert system prominently at the top of page
Reduced server space and maintenance
Archived 200 pages
Led workshops to demonstrate new process
Implemented additional feedback