The editorial dashboard is the entryway into Chorus. It is the first screen users see when logging in and serves as a hub of active stories along with their status.
However there were many gaps and inefficiencies with the dashboard as it existed in legacy mode. The scope of the new dashboard was to build a single, unified display that housed all necessary requirements and had a buildable foundation to accommodate the vast amount of legacy features that would need to be redesigned and factored in over time.
What was so bad with the legacy version?
A number of things. Aside from the obvious outdated visual styles, there were a lot of items on the page competing for your attention - some of which were barely in use. This required many support challenges such as the search bar which at some point stopped working. It wasn’t very useful for planning which was a growing need of many editorial teams and become more of a chore to sort than it practical.
if dashboards could fly
Determining what stayed, was taken out, and then added to the dashboard required ample user testing. We worked closely with a user researcher who helped gather the qualitative and quantitative information we needed and analyze it to come up with the appropriate product specs. Some of the research questions we prepared included:
How do folks track the progress of a story?
What are the most commonly used functions?
How does dashboard usage vary based on the role of the user (e.g copy editor vs staff writer)?
What are any makeshift solutions teams are using?
What information is missing?
After a series of interviews, surveys, and general research we came up with some key takeaways:
Quickly finding your own story is the most important thing people do on the dashboard.
Finding stories that are not-yet-published (yours or others) is very important to most users.
Quickly seeing what’s scheduled for today, tomorrow, soon; finding gaps in publication schedule; being able to sort by what’s scheduled; seeing what’s been published recently (<1 week).
Many (part-time writers) communicate and publish using email, SMS and off-platform DMs. Many work on Windows machines.
The desire for data and analytics reporting on the dashboard varies by brand.
MVP vs Ideal
After a series of user testing and gathering research we began to determine the scope of the MVP. While users gave us their wish-list ideals, it was necessary to scale the project into what would be included in the first iteration and then later in an ideal state.
Prototyping and Evaluating
There were close to a dozen releases for the dashboard, with each iteration introducing a new feature. Along with designs for desktop and mobile, I wrote documentation for the the greater team walking through each new addition as well as working closely with engineering on VQA.
As Resonance evolved we were able to test and implement it on the later stages of the new dashboard. This introduced a lighter UI while still keeping the existing structure and layout. Since I also worked on the Resonance project, I was able to integrate the new design system efficiently and work around any gaps in components.
Since it’s launch, the Chorus Dashboard has been a success. Given how closely we worked with users on every release and promptly communicating updates, rollouts came as intended and users become comfortable with each change. We continue to collect active feedback through our community team and support channels and iterate on features as needed.
inching towards the ideal
Early in the exploration phase we were able to experiment with ideas that went beyond the basic scope of the dashboard. They included features such as calendars for publishing timelines and inbox approaches to assignments by editors.
In ideal state, we hope to have a dashboard where users can not only view stories but manage their entire editorial workflow. Plans to create a more robust experience are currently underway and will kick off in the future.