Phase 3

  • Role
    UI, UX, Research
  • Client
    Phase 3
  • Industry
    Print & Marketing
  • Category
    Web Application
  • Year
    2017 (3 mo)

Phase 3 Marketing & Communications is an agency initially founded as a small print business, but has since amassed a portfolio of two large print facilities along with operational offices in 5 other states. Many years ago, a proprietary system was built to manage all print jobs. This was no longer sufficient for the large agency to which Phase 3 has grown. This project aims to improve the existing system into a platform that covers the needs of this growing establishment.

  1. Provide a better overview of what’s happening in P3.

  2. Rethink content layout for easier readability.

  3. Reduce the amount of steps needed to complete a task.

  4. Design a smarter, more helpful system.

  5. Create a detailed reporting system that gives insight into
    the company’s revenue.

Meet the Users

Sales Rep
  • Name:

    Michelle Major

  • Age:


  • Time in P3 per day:

    7 - 10 hrs

“I wish entering a job didn’t take as long as it does. There are so many steps involved in what, I think, could be a simpler process”
Agency Services Manager
  • Name:

    Sarah Raver

  • Age:


  • Time in P3 per day:

    8 - 12 hrs

“There is a lot of verification that has to be done before pushing a job to the next stage, but it is a total manual process. I shouldn’t have to trick the system to get things done.”
EVP Sales & Operations
  • Name:

    Jim Walton

  • Age:


  • Time in P3 per day:

    3 - 5 hrs

“I should be able to have a holistic view on how our revenue is being accumulated through the various streams of revenue.”

Understanding the Problems

I conducted 6 in-person interviews with various key user types to better understand them as individuals along with what their pain points were, in and out of the P3 system.

“My eyes hurt whenever I have to select a printer and finishing. There are so many choices.”
“I have to enter multiple line items just to schedule split payment for a single website project.”
“So many hands have touched it that we lost consistency on how things are named.”
“I would be at dinner and need to do something on my phone, but certain actions don’t work.”
“I have to “ship” the design line because P3 thinks like a printing software.”
“I have never used “resolve number” and I’ve just bee trained to ignore it.”

Direct quotes from users are the most powerful insights I gathered. I used an affinity diagram to separate these into groups of tasks (blue) which were further categorized by high level goals for improvement in process, learn-ability, sustainability and efficiency. Understanding the pain points allowed me to determine user goals and how those goals would impact the business goals.

Making sure I’m on the right track

Once sketches and round 1 of wireframes were completed, I had 5 different users walk-through the screens while noting any concerns and observations. This led to another round of wireframing and improved user flow analysis.

An Experimental Question

During the interviews, I asked the question “If P3 were a physical space how would you describe it in it’s current state?” I asked them to describe the space they think it should be. Using those words, I combined a selection of very different images depicting their descriptions and asked them to choose.

They envisioned a space that was clutter free with clear organization, but without it being dull and boring. The results gave me some insight for the UI design.

Challenge 1

Create A Useful Dashboard

At login, the previous system greeted users with a blank screen. To help provide a better initial overview, a dashboard was created. Users would be able to see how many jobs they have in each stage leading up to accounting, as well as quick access to their current clients and upcoming deadlines.

The reporting module is based on the users’ role. The sales team can evaluate their individual goals, while EVPs would see a record of the company’s revenue goals.

Challenge 2

Easily Navigate Job Details

Previously, the details of the line items were difficult to follow because the grid structure became compromised overtime as they tried to adjust it to quickly accommodate their growing needs.

I restructured the layout so the content is more easily read by bringing relevant information to the top as tabs instead of scrolling through line items. As a result, job category is much clearer, as well as the previous and next stages.

Challenge 3

Reduce Steps & Remove Clutter

After observing users as they work, I found that there were a number of unnecessary confirmation screens and save states. Additionally, the wide selection of printers and finishings were cluttered with no education on their uses - leading to increased cognitive load.

I managed to reduce the amount of clicks needed to enter a job by 40% by presenting next steps in a more fluid progression within the same screen. The selection of printers and finishes is now less visually strenuous and users can find more information upon hover. Cognitive load was also reduced by only showing the form data related to selected options.

Challenge 4

A more helpful system

I observed that many users would have more than one browser tab open to different screens needed for quick reference. Due to limitations in relation to server speed and other factors, a tabbing feature was not feasible. Instead, I created a notification panel that doubled as a recent activity listing, so a user can quickly revisit previous actions or screens.

Challenge 5

Better Financial Insights

Executive VPs previously had to piece together stored data to generate a specific report. As the company grew, so did the need for a variety of reports. Interviews with EVPs allowed me to design a reporting dashboard that gave first-glance on overall revenue and all contributing sources.

For those on the move

For users working from home occasionally or those on the go, everything was designed responsively. For the sake of an efficient responsive experience, some functionality was removed.


The redesign of the Phase 3 internal platform proved to be a big win for the company’s leadership team with respect to employee satisfaction. Although still under development, it was exciting for me to see how anxious the users were about the new design.

It was a different experience designing for an internal team that I was part of versus for an external client (B2B or B2C). Having good relationships with my team mates made it easy to truly understand user needs. We were all comfortable in sharing insights and suggestions - a task proven to be difficult when interviewing people you’ve never met.

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