Subcontractor Qualification

An App for Qualifying Subcontractors

UX RESEARCH / UX DESIGN

Subcontractor Mock Up.png

Project Summary

The Problem:

No one likes paperwork. 

The existing qualification process for subcontractors requires extensive paperwork on an aged software platform. Contractors who get too frustrated fail to complete the qualification process.

The Solution:

Subbie-Q allows contractors to easily fill out required questions by subject matter and monitor the status of their qualification. Internal users can also search for pending qualifications and submit their own reviews. 

01 Define

At one point, I was responsible for identifying and vetting 3rd-party subcontractors ("Subbies") who could perform construction work. These folks were more interested in managing manpower than filling out surveys. A constant complaint that I heard from both internal and external users was that the qualification process took too long.

So, I took it upon myself to see if I could improve the tool. 

My Role:

UX Researcher and UX Designer

Tools Used:

Adobe Illustrator CC, Invision, Pen and Paper

02 Research

User Interviews

While I had some familiarity with the existing tool, I conducted 18 interviews with contractors and internal functions who review the workflow. Here's what I found:

Recurring Themes

1.   Status of qualification is unclear. Contractors and internal functions alike did not know if a qualification was complete or what sections still needed to be filled out.

2.   Too many emails. The system would send daily or weekly reminders to fill out a workflow. Many folks simply filtered such emails directly into their trash bins.

3.   Wrong person assigned. Many of the requests stayed dormant because the assigned reviewer wasn't familiar with the company or the related project. 

Requested Features

1.   At-A-Glance Information: Allow the user to quickly determine the contractor name, related construction project, actions already taken, and required action, as many open the workflow and don't know what to do next. 

2.   Succinct Emails: Provide the user clear information regarding the specific workflow that primes the user on what actions are expected once the workflow is open. 

3.   Contact Info: Provide the user contact information for the person monitoring the workflow. This will allow the user to request for help if they need to be removed from the qualification. 

03 Analyze

Personas

Based on the interviews conducted, three personas were created - Tyler, Virginia, and Mark. These personas were used to facilitate conversations with stakeholders and ensure that the customer stayed at the center of my designs.

Persona 1 - Tyler Barnes
Persona 1 - Tyler Barnes

Primary Persona used for Subbie-Q. Tyler most closely represented engineering managers who reviewed contractor submissions.

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Persona 2 - Virginia Price
Persona 2 - Virginia Price

Secondary Persona used for Subbie-Q. Virginia was an accumulation of risk managers and internal functions who did not review but pulled reports for qualifications.

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Persona 3 - Mark Schmidt
Persona 3 - Mark Schmidt

Tertiary persona used for Subbie-Q. Mark most closely reflected the sentiments from 3rd-party contractors.

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Persona 1 - Tyler Barnes
Persona 1 - Tyler Barnes

Primary Persona used for Subbie-Q. Tyler most closely represented engineering managers who reviewed contractor submissions.

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Journey Mapping

I created journey maps for each of the personas to ensure that better empathized with each type of user's pain points. This information was then shared with the actual users which helped confirm which design elements to focus on first. 

Journey Map - Tyler Barnes
Journey Map - Tyler Barnes

Primary Journey Map for Subbie-Q. Tyler most closely represented engineering managers who reviewed contractor submissions.

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Journey Map - Virginia
Journey Map - Virginia

Secondary Journey Map used for Subbie-Q. Virginia was an accumulation of risk managers and internal functions who did not review but pulled reports for qualifications.

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Journey Map - Mark
Journey Map - Mark

Tertiary Journey Map used for Subbie-Q. Mark most closely reflected the sentiments from 3rd-party contractors.

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Journey Map - Tyler Barnes
Journey Map - Tyler Barnes

Primary Journey Map for Subbie-Q. Tyler most closely represented engineering managers who reviewed contractor submissions.

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04 Ideate

Wireframes

Using the journey maps as a guide, key pain points for the users were targeted for UX improvement. Wireframes with increasing fidelity are shown below. 

05 Develop

Prototype and Usability Testing

I created a 'medium' fidelity prototype using Invision for usability testing. Usability testing is an incredibly important step to identify frustrations that were addressed and point out further opportunities for improvement. 

Lessons Learned

Communicating with Personas - Creating accurate personas are valuable not only as a reminder for informing design decisions but also as an effective communication tool. Many stakeholders had strong opinions on how other functions should or should not interact with the workflow. Pointing to a persona really helped alleviate tensions about individual stakeholders and allowed for constructive conversations.

Next Steps:

1. Development of prototype to be optimized on mobile and tablet devices. 

2. Integration with Company security and firewall protocol. Allow for external users to access the tool once given proper access without visibility to other users.

3. Migration of existing dataforms into new platform. Dedication of data server to maintain record of new records.