EMPLOYEE TIME OFF
Vacation time is one of the best perks of any job. Turner’s best perk is the impressive amount of time off that each employee gets. On top of a wonderful paid time off package, each employee gets additional days off during the summer and holidays if they work in a 24/7 type of environment such as within the broadcast news departments. One of the most frustrated and uninspirational parts of the whole taking time off experience is the internal employee time off website itself. For a fun and innovative company, the time off portal is very uninspiring. I took a stab at refreshing the employee portal by designing a new, improved usability and more in line with the company branding website for it.
The original design is very confusing and hard to figure out what the important elements at first glance. The amount of numbers shown is overwhelming for the User. One of the worst areas in the bottom part of the page are the hours which should be the most prominent and easily seen areas for the User. The website simply makes the user work too much to find out the information, it makes you “think too much” when the information should be a lot easier to digest and distinguish.
My goal for this project was to:
- Expand the experience to be more in line with the brand of Turner
- Improve visibility of important numbers
- Apply the “Don’t Make Me Think” approach and simplify elements
As a user of this website, I had several qualms about its usability and its design myself. But I wanted to find out if everyone else felt the same way or if these things that bothered me about the web portal didn’t bother anyone else. To kick off the project I sent out an online survey questionnaire with Typeform.com to several employees within the company to get their feedback on what they thought about the current website in regards to the usability in the current state.
I also asked each survey taker to say what their main problem with the web portal was (if they had any issues). The responses are below:
- Need manager’s approval to delete. Makes no sense.
- It doesn’t seem to be connected to HR systems. Specifically, when my tenure increased and #PTO days increased, it seemed like it was a manual update.
- I am still “newish” so when I have requested PTO I always forget that it’s a standalone system. Maybe it should link to the employee portal?
- It’s not intuitive. Creating and Saving requests is weird. Adding approval is kinda wonky too.
- why is it a separate website? I always forget the URL. You also can’t modify dates easily. I took PTO for the death of a family member and found out that bereavement exists and couldn’t modify it.
- Not everyone uses it
From the results, I noticed that:
- A majority preferred to see the time off in days rather than hours
- Seeing remainder of PTO displayed prominently is a must, as well as PTO total for the year, and PTO taken
- Request time off is rather difficult to maneuver for a majority of user’s
In addition to the survey, I also spoke to my Mentor at Turner who informed me that her department uses a separate tool that they used a contractor to build for them. The usability of the web portal is a lot easier to understand, plus it also included a feature that I really appreciated which was a calendar with the names of people who are scheduled to be off / unscheduled off/ work travel. I really enjoyed that feature and wanted to incorporate it into the redesign as well.
From the survey, it was clear to see that the usability of the web portal was extremely low. It needed to be readjusted so that the most important elements would be clear for the user to distinguish. I wanted to make the numbers prominent and not tiny as it appears currently. In my low fidelity wireframe mockups, I created fields that would be much larger than the initial look and a not as cluttered.
INITIAL INTERFACE PROGRESS
Originally for the design, I wanted to include imagery of vacation places or even stills of people with their families. However the more I was working on it and thinking I realized that some people do not take time off for things such as vacations only. People take them off for sick days, family need, and other unpleasant events. I decided to stick with the branding of Turner which includes primary colors and a variety of patterns and great typefaces such as the typeface Storyteller. I stayed close to the branding of the company and wanted it to be very clean and easy to use and understand all the data presented. Especially the most important part. As in “How many days do I have off?”.
INTERFACE DIRECTION / WORK IN PROGRESS
The second iteration of the product was a very clean product experience with large numbers that are easy to see and large buttons to click on. The color scheme is bright and fun, but not too happy. It conveys the branding of the company and connects the paid time off web portal to the employee homepage for Turner for a consistent branding experience of the company. From the survey though, I needed to change the elements up a bit and add in the calendar feature that I really liked. 3 things needed to be updated to this version:
- ADL DAYS didn’t need to be this prominent
- CALENDAR feature needed to be folded into the mix
- EASILY modify requests already submitted
I used Marvel to create a functioning prototype for validation testing. You can click through it below within the page or click on the link here for a larger view in a new window.
After making the changes listed above I created a prototype with Marvel to validate the changes I made and tested it out with a few coworkers as users to see if they could do the following:
- Quickly and easily find out how much time off they have for the year / left to use
- Find out if a team member has already requested that day off
- Easily modify/delete requests
During the testing I asked the subjects to tell me how many days they have remaining, how many ADL days they have left, and how many days they have for the year. All of them answered the question within seconds, whereas before they said they needed a calculator to divide the hours by 8 in order to find out the day’s number.
The second part of the test was to see if they could tell me if a coworker had already requested time off during the same day as them. I asked them “How would you find out if a coworker has already requested that day off?”. Again within seconds the users looked at the page, skimmed the page and all of them clicked on CALENDAR in the navigation bar with the same reaction “Ahh, that’s awesome!”. Currently there is no system setup to see if anyone had already taken that day off unless you ask them yourself or if you check the paper prints by the supervisor desk.
The third question I posed to the user was “How would you delete an already submitted requested that you no longer need to take off?”. This one took a bit longer to discover a few user’s where a bit hesitant but all clicked on HISTORY within their second try correctly. Once they were on the HISTORY page they selected MODIFY correctly to take them to the adjustment page. When I asked them how would they delete the request all users said “I would click on this delete button here.”
“It doesn’t matter how many times I have to click, as long as each click is a mindless, unambiguous choice.” – Steve Krug “Don’t Make Me Think”
Through my user testing and validation testing I noticed that the experience of each users was much happier than initially with the original page. Elements were clearer, items didn’t take long to figure out through each request presented to the user. Overall the page is a lot more simplified and easier to navigate than it was before and it aligns a lot more with the brand of the company which makes the user and the company itself alot happier especially when new hires come around and they don’t have to deal with the confusing web portal from before.
I plan on presenting this project within the company to see if there is a way to change the web portal to a more simplified version as I have redesigned here.