Since February 2019 I’ve worked on redesigning the interface of PortaBase, a SaaS software package for managing childminder agencies and daycare organizations. Being developed since 2009 by Atane Software, PortaBase has gained a fair market share of small and medium sized organizations in the childminder software branche.www.portabase.nl
Together with the product owner I started out collecting data by sending questionnaires to users of the system. We wanted to get an image of what the user thinks is in urgent need of improvement and what should absolutely not be changed. Combining these helpful user suggestions and feedback with our own ideas I developed a fully responsive design that takes the generic character of the current UI into account, while introducing innovative and modern UI patterns. This will not only turn the system into more professional and usable software, but will also make it more attractive to potential new customers.
Finding a balance
I mostly work on my designs and prototypes from my home office and present my progress at the office, receive feedback from the product owner, process this feedback and present again the week after together with any new designs. This weekly feedback loop proved very effective, as it enabled me to provide the client with highly satisfying, tailor-made results. Furthermore, I believe it’s crucial to integrate into a team and be part of its culture. So apart from the weekly feedback visits I’ve worked at the Hoorn office at least two days a week, to maintain a healthy relationship with my team mates and not be that freelancer that pops in once and a while and knows absolutely no one in the company.
Creating a design system
Since I was hired as a freelancer and will eventually leave the company, it’s essential that I not only redesign the system, but also create a collection of reusable components and a set of standards guiding the use of those components. This proved quite challenging, however it forced me from the beginning to design highly generic and to create reusable elements wherever possible. Figma, my design and prototyping software of choice, has all the tools available to do so and together with ZeroHeight, software for documenting design systems, I’m currently creating a fully documented design system that can be easily utilized for designing new user interfaces in PortaBase without my help.