Morneau Shepell

User interface for actuaries

Morneau Shepell, the leader in human resources consulting and technology company in Canada sought the advice and ideas of FFunction to improve the design, user-friendliness and structure of the user interface of their retirement solutions practice’s custom-made valuation program.
  • During our kickoff meeting, the team discussed the main UX irritants to solve:
  • Reduce the application learning curve
  • Reduce the amount of information displayed in a single screen
  • Provide ways to easily compare different presets
  • Provide fast feedback on the effect of a parameter change
We also discussed potential improvements to the help with navigation and consistency:
  • Clearer navigation components
  • Consistent organization of parameters
  • Incorporate help within the application 
The activity model
In order to create solutions that could survive multiple iterations of the application’s features, we started with the core building blocks, the activity model. The activity model is a flowchart of the different use cases that the tool must satisfy. It describes the abstract operations that a user needs to do in order to complete a use case. The iterations on this document also allowed us to increase our comprehension of the tool and how it was used. It was a solid foundation to build our recommendations on, while also helping the product managers and software developers have a shared understanding of the context in which their application operates.
Interface analysis
Using the activity model, we proceeded in selecting the key use cases relevant to the pain points. We reviewed how the existing application UI satisfied these use cases in a interface analysis, detailing what worked and what did not. For each problem identified, we formulated an immediate fix that could easily be applied, as well as long-term solutions that might require some more significant re-working of the application. This ensured that both short term and long term solutions were identified for each problem.
The UI Review report
These insights were compiled in a UI Review document organized around the following aspects:
  • Layout: how content is organized and positioned, ensuring that the visual hierarchy matches the semantic hierarchy;
  • Flow: how different screens, panels and components succeed to each other;
  • Interaction: the different steps a user needs to take to complete a task;
  • Context: the information that is presented to the user at a specific point in time;
  • Labeling: how elements are named and referred to in the interface.
FFunction paired each problem (and interface screenshot) with a proposed solution, including wireframes and references to the latest UX whitepapers. The UI review document concluded with a series of high-level recommendations and principles to inform the development of new features. Overall, this set of documents will not only help reduce or clear irritants on the short term, but considerably reduce the risk of introducing friction to the application by providing high-level guidelines that can be applied to new features.
This was a project under our “UX Clinic Assessment” service which features the following process:This was a project under our “UX Clinic Assessment” service which features the following process:
  • Review user feedback and discuss UI irritants
  • Audit of the user interface by UX experts to identify usability issues
  • Recommendations on how to improve the usability with possible solutions, illustrated with wireframes and references to the latest research
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