01 Introducing Xinhua Zhiyun
Xinhua Zhiyun( hereinafter called ‘XZ’) is a joint ventures of Xinhua News Agency and Alibaba. The one of the important role in XZ is MAGIC. MAGIC serves as a specific platform for journalists to write posts, generate video news in 1 min by automatically generating program, and publish them by administrators to designated platform directly.
CMS is the last step to help administrators screen all manuscripts and publish them to particular news platforms fleetly.
02 My Role
CMS is a part of the product within the large platform- MAGIC where assists journalists creating the news and administrators auditing manuscripts. There are many colleagues in charge of designing other products. I am the only UX designer at this CMS project, I worked on revising user experience to improve journalists’ working efficiency. I worked closely with visual designers, PMs and the developers.
What is the problem of previous version?
How might we provide the efficient CMS for administrators to publish manuscripts fleetly?
Before the project, even though administrators were able to deal with manuscripts roughly, it was still so ineffective to screen and dispense.
- The filter is so scattered to category the videos.
- The pool of Draft, Pending and Photos&Articles is not clear tab for classifying videos.
- The video page lacks some functions, such as the track of video dispensed.
To raise efficiency, many pages have to be updated and new features needed to be built.
3.3 Elements of the project
04 Redesign Process
4.1 Homepage redesign
To assist administrators dealing with manuscripts fleetly, the homepage has to be functional. In the redesign, PM and I focused on enhancing the filter function, the shortcut for each video.
4.2 Start by asking administrators questions to understand their goals
During the homepage iterations, I learned to ask questions immediately and communicate often with the PM and administrators. When I started working on CMS at the beginning, there were couple times when I dived into design too quickly without really understanding PM’s requirements, which resulted in unnecessary designs.
After multiple meetings, I’ve realized that there is nothing more important than understanding the project goals. CMS is a part of the large platform. All the designs and decisions have to be made based on the goals. Therefore, I started by asking questions to truly understand the goal of this feature.
About the CMS
- Why are we building the CMS?
- How does filter screen the manuscripts’ category?
- What are the necessary elements?
About the users
- What do users do when they are using CMS?
- What are they expecting from CMS?
- What kinds of contents will raise users’ efficiency?
4.3 List and categorize the necessary elements
By listing out all the necessary elements and categorizing them, I had a sense of how the CMS should be structured before I went into the actual design. This step turned out to be very helpful.
However, I wish I had spent even more time in this step. While we had a general sense of the structure, we still ended up going back and forth many times with the breakdown of the steps. In the future, I will try to stay in this preparation stage and low fidelity stage for as long as possible, because it will end up saving more time in the long run. It is a lot easier to make changes at this stage than after we go into high-fidelity stage.
This framework does NOT show all functions due to it is company’s classified document. The new CMS is more organized and classified manuscripts more clearly. This version really considers what the administrators’ needs and requirements. What will they use before and after distributing manuscripts? What will they need when they review the manuscripts?
The first design I came up with was put everything in the same page which was quickly eliminated. My initial idea was to raise the efficiency in different approach . However, I quickly realized that it was too colorful to lose the focus.
4.5 Final design
Based on the confidentiality agreement, I had to only display two pages. Through the process of design, I realized that I have to have reasons for every decisions, even if it’s the smallest details. From the whole layout, to a thin divider, there are all endless options. It’s the “why” that makes one option better than the other.
I went through the entire CMS from the phase of UX. In a high-stress project, it takes two weeks from interaction to output(visually). The first phase is to establish a rigorous schedule which requires planning the respective review time with teammates, Product Group and Development Group. Second, during the process of sorting the interaction logic, taking account the various logical details, the relationship between the CMS in the lower and upper levels of the platform, the design specifications of the website, and the interaction habits of the users. Finally, during the development process, the Development Team is expected to have more interaction problems. Before the problem occurs, the CMS should be considered more comprehensive, and minimize any time and cost impacts.