This is a proprietary desktop tool used to improve/ensure data integrity as it is transported through the production pipeline at Dreamworks Animation. Basic functionality should allow Users to receive work (Tasks), inspect and manipulate details, and send their work (Products) on to various recipients.
In the larger scope, this is one of a suite of tools I was developing for the Studio. The entire suite will ideally capture the actuals from the artist's work through this tool, processing costs from the farm through Production Metrics, and production tracking metrics (scheduling, assignees, task bids, etc. via 3rd-party applications) to create a complete contiguous experience and live accurate analysis of a given production.
- Duration - 3 months
- Team - 1 designer (myself), 6 engineers, 1 EPM
- Context - Desktop
- Tools - Illustrator, cmd line
- Deliverables - Mockups, animation, specs
- Users - Artists, Animators
- Impact - Increase in adoption (80% of artists - from 10%), increase in artist efficiency (3-7%)
DESIGN PROCESS OVERVIEW
- Define the Problem
- Gather requirements
- Research (competitive and user based)
- Design (close loop with users)
- Evaluate + Refine (close loop with users)
Some of the UX issues found in v1.x were:
- Slow performance
- Inability to submit multiple "batches" of Tasks for processing in a single session.
- Confusing submission process
- RSI inducing Task selection mechanisms
- Awkward submission control locations (column headers?!?)
- Limited and constrained Task searching abilities.
ROUGH IDEAS (fig. 2)
We knew that down that road a convergence of various currently existing applications would occur so we had could aim at this loose target (using Launchpad). That said, concept sketches were, as always, part of the process. Unique to this project however, much of the sketch work was focused around controls and manipulation of the Task List instead of larger structural pieces or components (ex. list vs node graph vs images).
FLOWS (fig. 3)
This product quickly became a complicated application so it was important to take time and build User Flow Diagrams. This one illustrates the use of the application's Task filtering, grouping, and sorting functionality.
HI-FI EXAMPLE (fig. 4)
Here I explored the concept of upstream and downstream dependencies and how they might manifest visually to the User. The additional columns that flank the main Task List to contain that dependency content can be revealed by the User.
This mockup was also a visual variation from earlier versions and was and attempt to move from a contemporary language to something slightly more modern/youthful/futuristic through the use of a pastel inspired accent color palette, and electronic (Tron) inspired details.
This version also marked the addition of a "queue" (Comments section at bottom center) where artists can continuously submit groups of Tasks for processing.