In mid 2013 one of my closest friends Lukas Kollmann and I were asked to do the branding of a Webapp that helps creating schedules for a company's staff or teams.
What does the App do?
The key concept is that the staff or team members can actively take part in the process of creating the schedule via the App. They are able to select their shifts, plan their days-off work and exchange with their colleagues. Basically the schedule should be able to build itself, which leads to enormous time savings in comparison to creating those plans manually.
Finding a name
Initially the name of the app was “teamghost” but the founders thought that this needed to be revised before we started with the branding. Thus our first job was to find a new name that suited the concept and on which we later could build our design upon. We came up with „tenato“, which stands for team-navigation-tool.
Connecting the dots
Connectivity was one of the key elements in this project and we tried to reflect that with our logo design. When looking at the graph below it can be seen that we started with single nodes that stand for the team members.
Throughout the iterations it can be seen that in the end all nodes, respectively team members, are connected, which represents the core functionality of the Webapp: To connect with team members and actively help to create an optimal schedule for the whole team.
Finding a visual language
The next step was color and typography. We definitely needed something modern and flexible. To complement the dynamic nature of the App we picked “Brandon Grotesque” as our primary font. With its clean and minimal look it fit well right from the start.
Combined with our main signal color, a tourquoise standing for communication, we found a perfect match with neutral greys that were added to round of the color palette of the App.
Rethinking the Interface
While working on the Corporate Design we quickly realized that the current look of the App was desperately in need of a major overhaul. Lukas and I suggested expanding our branding onto the digital side and redesigning the Interface - needless to say that in 2014 print and digital went hand in hand. Especially if you are a new start-up you need to have a complete design system.
There’s an App for that
So we took accepted the challenge and started with some research. We pointed out two major international competitors but we were not able to find direct competitors in Austria except for a few from Germany. This brought us to the conclusion that there was a certain market that needed to be served and we got a rough overview of what lied ahead of us.
It also gave us a lot of breathing room for design decisions, as there were basically no preconceptions of how a scheduling interface should look like. We collected a lot of valuable data for a long-term strategy concerning feature implementation and development of the app.
After we had analyzed the data we started reworking the current state of the User Interface of the App. Coincidentally we also had a UI-Design Course at University, therefore we proposed to make a seminar work based on the findings we made while working on the App. Together with our professor DI Dr. Konrad Baumann and the founder of “tenato” Jürgen Math we could quickly point out some general flaws within the App. While Mr. Baumann was of great help during this initial phase, he was happy that we were able to bring a real-world project into his course.
Creating the first prototypes
We designed a first prototype that should be implemented quickly to fix some usability and UX issues and another one that should act as major redesign. Most of the problems were structure based and therefore unnecessarily time consuming. We managed to improve the UX by removing some hierarchical elements and we were able to make the scheduling process a lot quicker.
But sometimes it is better not to rush the big decisions. After a summer break we met together to discuss the future of the app. Not only are we going to serve the app on the desktop but also to ship an optimized version for mobile devices. Which is essential key because it adds to the connectivity and the flexibility of the system (and we both get a chance to design another UI. Yay!).
Work in progress
Luckily we could conduct some real world usability tests with prospective clients. The tests were done with the current version of the app before our first redesign iteration to see if there were any fundamental flaws we had not spotted then. And indeed we found some valuable data especially concerning the flexibility of the app depending on the type of company using it.
Currently we are building an inventory of interface elements to be used on both the desktop and the mobile version as well as rethinking the structure of the app. This step is crucial to make the app as coherent as possible while maintaining a universal look and feel.
Right now we are working on the next iteration of the “tenato” interface. So be sure to check back for some updates of the project.