Intergraph Smart™ 3D App Navigation

Design Challenge
Many of the features requested by users for Intergraph Smart 3D not easily discoverable even though they exist.

Current Smart 3D Navigation
Process We sourced information by researching internal inventory of customer support tickets, user analytics, stakeholder interviews. This was followed by contextual inquiries with end users. This research helped us capture user frustrations around information architecture, application accessibility and lack of context sensitive user actions. Based on product milestones, technical constraints and competitor research Ribbon Interface was used to implement the commanding interface for Smart 3D.

User base adverse to change
500+ commands to analyze
Graphic model screen real estate was of prime importance to end users

Solution At its core, Ribbon is a hierarchical UI container that utilizes tabs and panels to group similar functionality. Many tools were employed to determine the optimal Ribbon configuration.
Two stage card sorting exercise was conducted. Stage one, we discovered the higher level groups with an open sort. Followed by a closed sort to evaluate how users would bucket the panels of the Ribbon. The card sort was done via software so we could send it out to end users and get more data.

Frequency of command/action usage was also evaluated based on user logs from existing software. Although this information was not the sole driver for the solution. Each item in the Ribbon had a number of parameters that had to be managed and specified: was the button large or small, a split button, what was the command it launched, what property did it set, etc.
Patterns were documented with assistance from visual design team to share design knowledge with interaction designers and developers.

Results Iterative usability tests guided us on where we should make small tweaks to individual panel layouts. Initial tests reported 27% improved results with discoverability issues.

Plan and execute user research (card sorting)
Lead and guide two member design team