Case Study: DocsUnited redesign

DocsUnited is a tool to manage corporate documents and the data within. Machine learning algorithms automatically extract relevant information out of documents. The purpose of this project was to optimise user workflow and come up with a new design concept for DocsUnited. The motivation behind this design was to reduce user frustration and think of a new customer experience.

Note: These designs are a reinterpretation of the original.

My role

I was part of a cross-functional team and responsible for the user experience strategy and design of new DocsUnited web app. The main goal was to reorganise the content hierarchy to give prominence to critical information and optimise user interactions with the system. Another challenge was to ensure consistency between design elements and their behaviour.

Research process

User-centered design means understanding what your users need, how they think, and how they behave — and incorporating that understanding into every aspect of your process. — Jesse James Garrett

It was crucial to observe users and understand how they interact with the product. User interviews, empathy map, personas, task analysis, and user journeys are just some of the methods used to gain a better understanding of users. In the team, we used design sprints to emphasise rapid sketching, prototyping and user feedback.


To build a successful persona, we needed to have a deep understanding of the user goals, pain points, and behaviour patterns. The combination of interviews and research helped us to identify three potential users. We used personas throughout the project to guide design decisions and create empathy amongst the users and our team.

Finding opportunity: Identifying user pain points

Understanding your users’ pain points is one of the most important steps during product discovery. If we do not understand our users, we might end up building a product that no one wants or needs.

The customer journey map was created to help summarise feedback and help product managers understand whether or not our new features reduce pain points.

Information architecture improvements

Some of the main issues in the current system were content overload, duplicated features, and hidden actions. Users were confused seeing the app for the very first time. It was hard to find what they were searching for. For example, upload progress was hidden, so users would get easily disoriented, wondering where the files which had been uploaded are, and even if they were uploaded at all. Things were even more confusing as no notification messages were shown.

New user flows

User flow diagrams are the fastest way to plan the customer journey path and improve user experience. We checked all crucial user flows, from the first steps to the main goals, in order to optimise ways of interacting. During the research phase, we discovered that users had to do a lot of steps manually, which was causing frustrations. Furthermore, some of the flows would have a “dead end” as it would not be possible to cancel or end a process which is blocked by error message.

Old vs new improved user flow for uploading documents

Final design

Almost every popular product starts from MVP with the key information and becomes more and more cluttered adding new features as it grows. Sometimes we need to take a step back to focus on what actually matters to the user. — Renee Lin

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