[Note: This is part three of the Gemini redesign article series, so don’t forget to check out part one and two for more goodies!]
This month, FormAssembly is pulling the curtains off the redesign. Our team has been hard at work on this, with an ultimate goal of making the interface easy to use.
We’ve spoken with the designers and developers behind the redesign, but now it’s time to speak with the UX designer behind the redesign — AKA the person who makes it easier for you to navigate the app.
We had a chat with Katya Ivanova, the team’s lead UX designer, to pick her brain and discuss her thought process throughout the redesign. In this interview, she shares insights on what goes into a redesign, the challenges, and what was most rewarding.
Hannah: What were your main goals for the redesign? What did you hope to accomplish?
Katya: I focused a lot on the redesign of “My Responses” initially, then branched out into other portions of the redesign like connectors, workflows, and onboarding.
My goal was to make FormAssembly a cohesive and unified product. My focus was on the flow and functionality throughout the product. I wanted our users to be able to step into the product and be wowed through the entire process of creating a form, sharing it, and reviewing responses.
I also didn’t want FormAssembly to be just be another app, but instead to have a unique and identifiable voice and character that would make our users smile with delight.
Hannah: What was the inspiration behind the redesign?
Katya: I used inspiration from many sources across the web, but there were a few that I kept coming back to for inspiration:
The second was Mint — I really appreciate the way that Mint has been able to maintain such a consistent feel for such a complex multi-functioning product.
The next was Teradata, which is a product that I worked on as an intern a couple of years ago.
I really kept going back to this design, as the marketing suite is jam packed with features and functions that are unified well. Also, the interactions throughout the site, the flow, and general UX is really top-of-the-line.
Hannah: What usability issues were you able to solve through the new design?
Katya: By specifically focusing on the redesign of “My Responses,” we were able to make a lot of changes that solved usability issues. We brought customization to the reports. Customers can now select which columns and responses they would like to display. They can apply filters to hundreds of responses. They are now able to apply mass actions to selected items.
I think more importantly, the layout of “My Responses” is much more organized and gives our customers the ability to see their responses in a full-width view. The incorporation of material design gives this redesign a cleaner look and feel.
Hannah: What was the biggest challenge in the process?
Katya: The biggest challenge was working within our system’s limitations. The way that our back end system is constructed really limits what can be done on the front end.
However, constraints are a part of design and I am up for the challenge to work with such constraints.
Another challenge was making sure that my work maintained consistent in look, feel, and interactivity as Ben worked on the design elements. This challenge is the reason we started working on the style guide.
Hannah: What tools did you use for design mockups and user testing?
Katya: Oh, boy. I started with pen and paper sketches. Then mocked a few things up in Balsamiq. Then worked a lot in Photoshop and Illustrator. But I have currently developed a great UI kit in Sketch and have been using it for rapid prototyping.
To record the user testing in person, I stick with pen, paper, and QuickTime to record the screen. For remote user testing, I use the Google Hangout screen share. For analysis, I use Microsoft Excel and Word to record the results.
Hannah: Was there anything that surprised you or was unexpected during the redesign process?
Katya: Sure, there were lots of surprises.
Initially, Cedric and I discussed that my designs were geared to fit within our current design and framework. When we then switched to redesigning the entire site, I was surprised and very excited about all of the possibilities and directions we could go.
Hannah: What advice would you give to fellow UX folks who are getting ready to work on a redesign?
Katya: I have three pieces of advice:
1. Iteration is key. I created dozens upon dozens of full designs to small, specific feature designs. The evolution of the design is remarkable, but each iteration brings you closer to a better user experience.
2. Since there are so many possibilities and directions to the design, as the designer, you need to just make a decision and just go with it.
There just isn’t enough time to get feedback on every button and every interaction. And in any case, most people aren’t in the weeds like you thinking about every little detail.
3. Don’t be afraid to make the wrong decision. Usually, mistakes are caught in testing and feedback sessions. They are early enough in the development process that it’s an easy and cheap fix.
The Results and Reaction
Any big design change comes with its own share of risks. So far throughout the beta, we’ve fortunately been getting great feedback from our users. We hope that it’ll further improve the onboarding process, and that our customers will experience success even quicker than before.
So, what do you think?
What do you think of the redesign? We’d love to hear what you think! Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or tweet with us @FormAssembly.