MyOrder – Microsoft
Vendor and product procurement, fragmented requisition processes within approval review system
MyOrder is a component of Microsoft's self-service procurement tool for purchase order creation and management for requisition, spend data, real-time oversight, and approval workflows. I was the lead UX designer working with managers in finance and internal tools to realize a better way to request for and buy resources.
Microsoft had developed their purchase order system using siloed teams over several decades, and the result lacked consistency. It was not entirely clear who the stakeholders were at the beginning of this work. While managers are associated with purchase orders, they often have assistants building the documentation with little or no experience. The inconsistent workflow would stall progress until the quirks of each step could be understood and overcome. We captured the complex data constraints in many excel documents.
Content audit with notes and edits
There was limited support for error handling, which could be rather complicated as each step of the process needed to agree with previous actions. Agreement between sections of the purchase order requisition process became a conversation point with assistants who desired situational awareness for long-form workflow. Later in the process, we found similar desires for the approval side of procurement with accountants.
Whiteboard discussion regarding progressive display of information
User interviews revealed that the depth of required information was overwhelming for assistants unfamiliar with a requisition. Our solution was to create a progressive screen to limit advanced awareness.
A stakeholder map was necessary to understand all of the individuals contributing to this project as users and managers. I worked with managers to create a diagram of those users and their involvement. After studying the overall process to know each of the purchase order players and application stages, we decided on a guided workflow to ensure all of the required application details were captured correctly and in agreement. With that established, I began to design prototypes for how that guided workflow could unfold.
Hallway paper prototype of dynamic growing form as sections are completed
Usability test options
Quick and dirty usability test findings
We tested the prototypes with several manager assistants remotely. The stakeholders and a few SMEs agreed that a dynamic form would allow progress while supporting components that would grow according to inputs.
I worked with Finance and HR, including development stakeholders, to understand how error messaging would play a roll in a segmented workflow.
The complexity of line items was apparent early on when efforts to reduce the displayed columns resulted in disagreements between project managers and the finance team. I decided to prototype several options which allowed users to view the long table, toggle on and off details as needed, or consume the table in a full-screen light-box with smaller text to allow full detail at-a-glance. Users understood the challenge pretty quickly and had practical reasons for favoring a light-box UI.
Line Item lightbox UX preferred by finance for at a glance overview of all details
I created a timeline navigation system that would visualize input flaws so that the unfamiliar user would know precisely where problems reside in the workflow. We tested banner-style alerts in each section, but users were disappointed when they scrolled off the screen. We chose a persistent timeline navigation system with sizeable numbers from 1 through 7 or more, depending on the purchase order type. Minimalist error icons hinted at the problems along the timeline. The complexity remained with essential context about location and status.
Whiteboard example of the navigation with inline errors
Production of the navigation with inline errors
As Senior User Experience Designer, I studied the business objectives to modernize and integrate the fragmented experience of MyOrder. While focused on user's disappointments and needs via interviews, surveys, and usability testing, I also kept in mind the needs of those who oversee and approve purchase order requests. I worked with product management to ensure content was groomed and validated. When we needed to communicate information to the developers, I was the humble messenger for the management team. I had daily meetings with the developers to check-in and, as needed, to deep dive on anything causing trouble. I always advocated on behalf of the user when there was conflict. I was the primary quality assurance gatekeeper.