A UI/UX Concept in Improved Minutes-of-Meeting System for Engineering and Construction Practices
Meetings are meant to be efficient, concise and straight-to-point, so why not transform table view into card view and use simple gestures to make quick decisions and boost up meeting efficiency?
Meetings are important — a bunch of people are called to gather and discuss things that matter a lot to day-to-day activities in business. However getting everything that has been discussed in a meeting down in a neat and organizable way is not an easy task, especially in this tool-abundant world. There are numerous note taking methods available online and offline. People from various industries may use their preferred approaches to jot down the ideas that came to their mind, and record the actions as a takeaway from the meeting. While I’m a process engineering in construction industry, people tend to use the simplest form of database they can get from pre-installed softwares on their laptop: MS Excel, and the standard Minutes-of-Meeting (abbreviated as “MOM” in the following context) it looks like this:
There’s no doubt that Excel is an excellent tool to hold information like what a database will normally do, and it has a richer visual content to help user navigate and manipulate the data stored within each cell units.
First of all there is a need to know who are the users of such MOM system and what requirements they would probably need to help them achieve their tasks with efficiency. Apparently I am one of the major users, just like others engineers working on the same project, we are holding numerous engineering discussions everyday with clients, vendors, contractors, and even visitors from top management.
I’ve done a brainstorming session with two colleagues on these topics regarding to the current MOM system:
- Necessary components of an task item entry
- Pros and cons on current excel-based MOM system
These findings helped me to identify what directions and features I should be looking at to aim a better MOM system design. Engineers usually prefer fast pacing, efficient way to jot down their thoughts and they should be using as few clicks as possible to get the action updated. Too many clicking around will not only annoying meeting attendees (which was told by our client before), but also making the note taker/moderator lost in his own world of operating the laptop, while missing out the key points being discussed.
The design and feature of Tinder card “decide-and-swipe” had my attention right away when I was thinking about the action items from MOM. It is quite similar that for every discuss item during the meeting, a quick decision will be made: whether it’s approved and closed/logged into logbook, or it’s discussed but needed to be postponed to another date to revisit again. The latter will continue appearing on the open item list till it is resolved in the coming discussions. Based on this I had made my very first low-fidelity prototype:
There are a number of ways to organize the UI for better user experience. Texts can be in different sizes to bring hierarchy of information listed on an action card; and similarly various colors can be used for different categories associated with the task.
With the help of Adobe Experience Design I came up with some high fidelity prototype and built up interactions within these interfaces:
You can view and interact with the prototype in the area below:
Noter should be a cloud based system so that every single entry, pieces of information and updates on each action card will be save spontaneously, without manual save them online or offline (this is also one of the problems addressed during requirement gathering stage). The UI is still a very novel design which requires much future “polish” to ensure all user needs and requirements are captured and designed. Eventually the roadmap of this application will bring in more engagement with users throughout naturalistic observation, surveys, focus groups and interviews.
While the prototype being still rough and preliminary, the idea of improving the current MOM system that me and other engineers are using somehow enlightened me about what we can do as an individual to rethink, re-create and improve something that we already have. After all as long as an object or a product has users to engage with, there’s always room for improvement.
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