Enterprise-Software developed for StemCentrx Abbvie Scientists
>> SCIENTISTS WANT TO DO SCIENCE …
But our scientists lacked a centralized tool to navigate the data, inventory and interactions involved with their deliverables. Documentation and deliverables were only accessible by word of mouth or email. The department was encountering lots of human error, frustration and loss of productivity as a result.
>> TEAM AND ROLES
I was solely responsible for the design of the HUB. To ship the application, I worked weekly with our onsite software engineer to review the development and iterate.
Initially, my assignment was to manually transfer inventory backlog from our excel worksheets to an existing in-house database. However, there were obvious benefits of a centralized app that could carry our work flow, data and deliverables. The HUB proposal was granted the green light and a deadline of 2 months to launch.
>> PROCESS OVERVIEW
Understanding the interplay between the team and company's workflow was essential in defining the needs the HUB needed to satisfy. All possible scenarios needed to be considered. Those scenarios determine how that workflow should be represented on the hub.
Data (such as the FACS plots shown below) are a digital part of a physical deliverable and must be paired with each request seamlessly to insure accuracy and quality downstream.
Additional user research was conducted to understand the needs and pain points of BOTH users inside and outside the department – those user flows were later used to improve our prototype.
>> STRATEGY AND GOALS
From the research emerged themes and specific painpoints that we set out to target. The ultimate goal being to empower our scientists to work more on science and less on documentation by building a convenient hub that automated as much of the tedious, repetitive inventory labor as possible.
>> HUB DEVELOPMENT
Wireframes of the HUB were designed with the strategies and goals developed from our research insights in mind. Those wires were reviewed with teammates for usability and understandability as well as additional feature requests.
EXAMPLE USER FLOW: FINDING RELEVANT DATA ON A CELL LINE
During software development, I set up weekly check-ins with the developer to review his progress. At these meetings, each version was assessed to make sure that the HUB supported every departmental process. Monthly check-ins were performed with the Cellular Engineering department to leverage our manager and teammates as user testers. Their feedback was invaluable in catching details that my developer and had missed.
The HUB met our company’s 2016 Interfacing & Collaboration goal. Our handoff request feature meant that scientists from outside the department could quickly acquire the artifacts they wanted with a click of a button. Today 99% of deliverables of our cell line inventory are requested through the HUB – email is reserved solely for special requests and scientific discussion (as it should always have been).
Displaying data & Automating workflow
The HUB is an automated, easily accessible digital portal to all aspects of the Cellular engineering workflow, both public and internal HUB users had our entire inventory, database and point-person at their fingertips. Data is king and now no one needed to wait on emails to get what they needed.
At the end of the day, the HUB was designed to facilitate scientific work and make life easier for the scientists inside and outside the Cellular engineering group. The feedback we received for HUB design was very positive and useful for future improvements.
>> HINDSIGHTS FOR THE FUTURE HUB
LOOK EVEN FURTHER AHEAD
I did not anticipate how complex our workflow would become in the next year. CE workflow has grown beyond the hub and those aspects have been difficult to accommodate. More extensive interviews of leadership should to be undertaken to get a better grasp of our evolving workflow.
SERVICE THE USER, NOT MY IDEA OF THE USER.
I would have asked our internal users what they DID NOT need instead of implementing features I “thought” would be useful. I would have asked for more feedback between each conceptualization of the hub, lead some co-creation sessions with our scientists.
Many of the features I pitched were never approved. My manager had no prior understanding how a well-designed tool could facilitate science. He believed that scientists need only work harder and get more training to get results. With the success of the HUB 1.0, I would have some leverage to be a stronger advocate for developing those features.