Stephen Zerne

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Digital Design

Smartway

map interface for 511 traffic information

goal

To create a public interface which fulfills the federal initiative (511) to provide the public with roadway condition information.

analysis

We began analysis by researching existing public inquiries and IP searches to find out who was already using the 511 program and how they were using it. We identified three main user groups and use types. First, commuters used the data to find the most efficient routes for their trip. Second, the visually impaired parsed the data as an occupation. Third, news agencies used the data to report on daily traffic conditions. Based on this date, we determined that the interface needed to be easy to use, fast to respond, and ADA compliant.

solutions

For direct use of the common user, we provided a Web application with a map interface. We implemented recognizable UI, responsive design, Google API, Waze API, and integration with regional TDOT traffic operations (traffic operational software I also designed). We contracted with a company to manage video feeds which we provided to local news channels. The video feeds are also available through the Smartway application. We created an ADA compliant portal for the visually impaired.

Recorded from live production.

research and planning

The project presented an interesting challenge. TDOT’s structure did not allow the development team to have direct contact with the user. To overcome this challenge, we created consistent lines of communication through the Product Owner, who did have direct contact with the users. I helped the Product Owner write tasks and features in a way that was meaningful (but not restrictive) to the development team. I also consulted the Product Owner on how to turn user feedback into actionable features. As the Designer and Frontend Developer, I also coded sections of the interface.

I participated in early brainstorming with the Lead Developer and Product Owner. We worked in an Agile framework, with two week sprint cycles. We started with the google maps API and single point mapping for events. Those points identify events and resources that supported our minimum viable product. In later sprints we added county-wide geometry for weather, and lines for events along a section of road.

UI Assets Creation

map icons
weather events

user feedback

Along with essential user testing, the development team receives continual feedback from the app via user emails. Feedback is used to create new user stories and remove user stories that were not practical.

DWR

TDOT construction and maintanence Daily Work Reports

goals

To create an efficient way for hundreds of TDOT inspectors to document roadway construction and maintenance.

analysis

We found that most users had little to no experience with computers. The application needed to work offline while users were in the field. Users needed consistent application updates and data saves that would not interrupt their work. Users also needed to add complex calculations to create TDOT and contractor inventories. The application needed to work on state-issued Dell touchscreen computers. Challenges included: dealing with the technical limitations of the native Dell cameras used on the worksite; encouraging users to synch and update information consistently, and making sure that user calculations were clear to inspectors.

solutions

We built the app as a wrapper app with a Javascript frontend viewed passively through chromium. This allowed the user to see the app in a familiar way, as they would on their desktop. We used Angular and Material Design as a base for the software. This gave us a base for our UI without wasting tax dollars on a new design language.

This design saved hundreds of thousands of dollars for TDOT because users were able to double or triple the amount of worksites they visited in a day. The design won the Improving State Operations award.

Recorded (in Adobe XD) from user testing.

research and user study

The Daily Work Report project was proposed as a result of a Construction and Maintenance merger around 2014 - 2015. This exposed a major overlap in the process of inspecting job sites.

Working with the Product Owner (who was an Engineer for TDOT alongside many of our users), we found that our users were on average late 40's early 50's. A major portion had GED or equivalent education and commonly had a background in construction or as manual day laborers.

planning and workflow

We built the app in phases. Each phase consisted of three to five two-week sprints. The build of the first phase allowed users to navigate to a Work Report via a Calendar interface. Later we added the sections of the work report as feature sets.

rough whiteboarding
workflow planning

prototyping

I chose Adobe UX for its ability to prototype quickly with high fidelity mockups. [ See video above ]

The app significantly streamlined workers’ processes. For example, during testing, we found that users needed to look up similar work items by a unique number rather than through descriptive text. This key information influenced our design. We made this filed easy to see and to use, thus saving the user significant time in looking up materials and calculations.

development

With the support of a strong team, I developed front end components including HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I also finalized and created UI elements. We chose Angular Material (as a UI library) and a template for Material Design because of its strong design framework and CLI.

live testing

I tested the app by asking the subject to perform a short series of tasks while recording the screen. I also asked each person to identify the most difficult part of their job and what would make it easier. I used this feedback to streamline the app.

EDFS

Awarding contracts and Financial processing for the Environmental Division

user brainstorming

EDFS tracks and maintains financial data for TDOT’s Environmental Division. This app invoices contractors, sends them award letters, and tracks work orders . I began designing this app by working with the Product Owner and Lead Developers to collect user requirements. Though total number of direct users is only 7, the app improves communication for hundreds of workers.

live testing

Even though EDFS is has not yet been launched, we have received high praise from users so far. Users noted that they feel heard and empowered, and that the app will make their workflows more efficient.

Thank you for joining me! Have a great day!