David Gee

Interactive Design & Development

Quick Projects

Freemarkets Quick Projects allowed users to easily create simple, fixed-workflow RFx and Reverse Auction sourcing projects.

Adding lots & items to a quick project.
Adding suppliers to a quick project.

The Problem

As a parallel project to the ES redesign, we were tasked with reconfiguring existing functionality to allow for simple, single-stage projects. Designed for full-lifecycle, multi-round sourcing projects, creating a simple RFQ or Reverse Auction in the existing workflow was tedious and counter-intuitive. An existing Freemarkets application existed for simple projects, but it was both technically and visually unrelated to the ES app. Prospective customers wanted one application which could accommodate all project types.

Challenges

As with the ES redesign, we had to account for the existing visual design and internationalization. The largest hurdle to overcome with Quick Projects was technical - this was not a MVC solution, and seperating individual screens out from the codebase proved to be a challenge.

Solutions

We approached the technical limitations as an opportunity to refactor the existing codebase. This tied closely into the redesign, and we conducted an exhaustive inventory of existing screens and forms, whittling down unnecessary cruft and producing a leaner, more easily navigable screenflow which fed directly back into the main app’s redesign. While a wizard-based solution was a requirement, we sidestepped some of the common usability issues by allowing for users to easily navigate non-linearly across steps while providing persistent insight into each step’s state.

Results

Amongst existing ES users, usability results were very enthusiastic. The ability to create a simple project in four simple steps was difficult to find fault with. More surprisingly, users of the simpler QS app, despite major interface differences, rated our redesign better than their existing solution. This opened up the possibility of eventually merging the two applications, a long-standing executive goal.