Working Visually Through Digital Development

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One year ago, we were approached with a challenge: how might we improve the efficiency and impact of a funding request submission process? The environment was complex with a deep level of detail and diverse stakeholder ecosystem. From a Throughline perspective, this challenge was exactly why we created our human-centered design approach. Learn more below about how our team applied that approach to drive over $20 billion in requests through a digital tool designed for and with our client.

Explore: Identifying True Pain Points

In previous newsletters, we discussed the importance of Throughline’s Explore, Envision and Execute methodology. The Explore phase in this project proved to be crucial in identifying the root causes of the client’s pain points: inconsistent coordination, information bottlenecks and unintentional lack of transparency, all of which left stakeholders confused and frustrated. Through hours of research, synthesis and validation, the team discovered that the coordination challenges faced by the organization were systemic, and they were experienced by nearly all actors in the funding request submissions process.

By devoting valuable time to the Explore phase, our team built a reliable research foundation upon which to design an impactful solution.

Envision: Co-Creating Through Visuals

During the Envision phase, the team began their iterative approach to solution ideation, harnessing the insights gathered during Explore to create multiple mockups and wireframes that visually communicated the potential implementation and impact of various solutions. The visualization of these solutions allowed the client to see inside the design process and provide continuous feedback as digital tool development progressed. As described by Senior UX Strategist Derek Whitaker, our experts ensured their detailed and technical decision making was clearly communicated to enable the most productive iterations possible.

“We maintained a weekly tempo with our client through the duration of the project. During these syncs, we would show them a variety of design artifacts from abstract conceptual diagrams to high-fidelity wireframes. These visuals brought an element of concrete simplicity to an otherwise complex funding request process, allowing the team to confirm our understanding with the client and ensuring we were aligned from beginning to end of the design process.” – Derek Whitaker, Creative Lead

Visually representing the complex problem set alongside potential solutions allowed the client to truly understand the design process and quickly provide insight to drive an even better solution.

Execute: Success Before, During and After Launch

The most thoughtfully designed tool in the world will go unused if potential users don’t know it exists. As the design process reached its final stages, our team focused on facilitating the adoption and implementation of the tool in the client space to maximize its impact upon release to the organization’s ecosystem.

“The main problem I was trying to solve was implementing the tool in a diverse community of stakeholders with varying levels of understanding of the funding request process. The team had built a strong product, and my role was focused on creating ‘stakeholder success artifacts’ consisting of guides, reference materials, and hands-on training sessions to help onboard the user community.” – Nick Iacobucci, Senior UX Strategist

This focus on effectively communicating the value of the new tool was key in Throughline’s human-centered approach to this challenge. While our UX and design teams catered to the users while building the solution, they also planned for an impactful rollout to quickly deliver that value where it was needed most. As a result of this approach, the tool successfully processed over $20 billion in its first year and is poised to replicate that success for other legacy processes across the government.

By planning ahead to develop rollout and education materials, our team was able to ensure understand and greater impact of the tool upon launch.

Thoughtful, human-centered design extends beyond the visuals in front of you. With the right approach and creative minds, even the most technical processes can be transformed into user-friendly experiences that deliver beneficial outcomes for all.

What's your tricky challenge? Let us know - we'd love to tackle it together!

Until next time,

The Throughline Team