Product Design + User Experience
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TRWA

A web application to track progression, create reports, and generate invoices for government assignments.

 
 
 

Texas Rural Water Association

A web application to track progression of, create reports, and generate invoices for government assignments.

Role: Interaction Designer / UX Designer

Design Team: Solo

Client: Texas Rural Water Association

Tools: Sketch App, InVision, Flinto

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Project Overview

The Texas Rural Water Association (TRWA) provides technical and educational services to water systems across the state of Texas. They receive these assignments from The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the official environmental agency for the state of Texas.

The problem is that TRWA receives more assignments than they can handle. Key deadlines for completion may go by unreported or unseen. Furthermore, in order to fulfill their assignments, TRWA must adhere to a comprehensive list of requirements determined by the TCEQ. I was tasked with designing a web app that unified the TRWA workflow into one easy-to-use system.

 
 
TRWA receives assignments fromTCEQ

TRWA receives assignments fromTCEQ

current software

current software

 
 

 
 

Learning the System

After a kickoff meeting with TRWA, I started my research by digging through the TCEQ contract that governs their work. This contract is a 200+ page account of how TRWA must complete, report, and invoice their assignments. I ran a concept mapping workshop to help me visualize TCEQ procedure. It was important I remain informed about the plausibility of all design decisions before beginning the ideation process. As you can see, this exercise took many forms.

 
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Understanding the Staff

I conducted several interview sessions with TRWA staff, the expert users, to understand what TCEQ procedure actually looked like for them in the day to day. My goal was to take the wants, struggles, and expertise of the staff and the strict guidelines of the contract to discover ways the workflow might be streamlined.

 
Field Guide sample

Field Guide sample

TRWA helping me understand their system

TRWA helping me understand their system

 
 

 
 

Core Experiences

  1. A shared assignment timeline that allows staff to track the progression of assignments from beginning to end.

  2. A calendar dashboard interaction that allows staff to see and understand all open assignments at a glance.

  3. Auto-generated reports and invoices.

 
 

 
 
 

Information Architecture

This design user a more traditional example of a hierarchical structure. User will login and arrive a calendar dashboard landing page. Once there, a top bar allows them to navigate to any of the primary pages of the design.

 
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Assignment Timeline

TRWA assignments have a specific and complicated timeline of events and deadlines that staff must be adhere to as they progress through each assignment. At the moment, these events and deadlines are manually emailed/called-in for each step in the process. What TRWA needed was a centralized location for this timeline. A centralized location that eliminated the need for a long line of emails and kept staff on top of their deadline priorities.

First, I was able to condense the timeline of events from 11 steps down to 7 through my research with the TCEQ contract and with talking to TRWA staff members. I automated responses for certain steps and joined other steps together. (see before and after below) Iteration was the primary means I used to hone in on the eventual interface that ended up in the final timeline. I consulted with TRWA staff every step of the way to validate my progress.

 
 
Iteration was a huge part of the creation progress of the timeline.

Iteration was a huge part of the creation progress of the timeline.

 
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The final assignment timeline is a shared experience between office staff and field staff. Each assignment has one timeline which chronicles its progression from open to close and keeps staff aware of each deadline along the way. It behaves much like a dashboard, but for a single assignment.

 
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Calendar dashboard Interaction

TRWA receives 80-100 assignments from TCEQ per month with signs of growth. A general dashboard for those assignment was one of the first solutions that was needed. Specifically, it needed to provide an at-a glance look at all open assignments and delineate the specific importance of individual assignments.

With iteration, I ended up centering my dashboard design around a calendar, making it the primary tool of interaction. My goal was to keep the status of each assignment in the context of time so TRWA staff could always visualize what their month, week, and day looked like.

 
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Additionally, to lift the weight of 100 potential assignments from the calendar, I integrated a filter interaction into its design. TRWA staff can use this filter to see the calendar through 5 specific metrics. These metrics are important milestones that an assignment goes through. This allows TRWA staff to see explicit facts about the status of their assignments while also viewing them in the context of a month/week/days schedule.

 
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This interactions works even better individually. Field staff can quickly assess their weekly work.

This interactions works even better individually. Field staff can quickly assess their weekly work.

 
 
 

Auto-Generated Deliverables

Right now TRWA deliverables, Assignments, Reports and Invoices are completed one after the other. However, these deliverables truly start to take shape as the work in the assignment is completed. Because reports and invoices can be sourced back to the assignment, I facilitated those deliverables to auto-populate as an assignment progresses.

 
Abstracted example of how assignments, reports, and invoices are completed currently.

Abstracted example of how assignments, reports, and invoices are completed currently.

Example of how assignments, reports, and invoices will be completed in the new design.

Example of how assignments, reports, and invoices will be completed in the new design.

 
 
 

To facilitate auto-generated reports and invoices, I included elements that make up the report and invoice documents in the assignment workflow. (Activity Logs, Travel Logs, Pay Items). These elements start to auto-populate as standardized parameters are met during the assignment.

When the assignment is finally completed, the report and invoice documents are completed as well. This eliminates a huge time commitment for staff all the way around. Additionally, this design makes it easy to create interim invoices in the case that an assignment is not completed before the invoice period ends.

 
 
 
 

 
 

Reflection

This is my favorite project by far. The space for high impact solutions was extremely high and we were able to steadily find those solutions as the project progressed. The end product marked a complete change to TRWA work from open to close and I really enjoyed being able to architect that change.