The user interface design was undertaken by myself, a break from the norm where the graphic designers dictate the user interface (UI). This was a request of mine as I hoped to illustrate the importance of considered UI design preceding graphic (aesthetic) design.
CODlite came about through need, the full COD system is cumbersome beast: simple & powerful but slow & too 'clicky'. Account and management staff consistently have 10,20,30 micro-tasks (phone calls, email, meeting) a day, the web interface was so slow to log all these tasks so they simply stopped using it.
Part of my UI planning process included consulting with the clients, in this case, my fellow employees to make sure I was buiding a tool that deliver on their business requirements. But I knew it also helped them to take an interest in the project so the up-take rate would be high.
The primary business requirement of CODlite is speed:
- A no frills UI makes identifying a viewing assigned tasks very easy. Key data is represented with an icon, helping make the 'story' of the task very easy to identify.
- Rapidy add new timesheets: selecting from hundreds of clients/projects is slow so the server side identify the user and only sends back relevant clients and projects to choose from.
- Data entry is completed without a 'submit' button, data is saved in real-time.
- Icons change to represent state: the notes icon (yellow pen) changes to show faint horizontal lines when text has been entered in the collapse-able text field.
- Shortcuts like the lb (lunch break) button help to minimise time-sheet entries.