TIMELINE: Architecting a new platform

Designing a NEW platform from scratch in one year is hard work, but by driving design-level thinking methodologies, modern design principles, and guidelines, I was able to ship a platform that is modern, intuitive, and could be a game changer for the IT industry.

Dominic Pouzin – CTO
“Geoffrey is a very talented senior UX designer and would be a huge asset to any company, especially those with a focus on enterprise products. At BitTitan, Geoffrey helped our product UI evolve from “amateurish” to professional / on-par with top SaaS solutions. Geoffrey’s key strength is creation of new UX concepts and high-level look-and-feel experience for enterprise products.

The CEO made a business decision to leverage MigrationWiz (cash cow + huge consumer base) and pivot the company to managed services. A lot of research went into understanding the new business direction. The plan was to leverage 3rd party OEM SaaS platforms to enrich and supplement the current offerings to be an IT SaaS leader. BitTitan’s flagship product MigrationWiz had six-plus years of technology behind it, including multiple types of migrations. It would be too risky for the company to build on the current Migration platform (tech debt) to avoid any service disruptions. The decision was made to build a new platform using modern tech.

After multiple requirement meetings, presentations, and wireframes, I designed the base platform UI model to support all of the features the Dev team was going to build using the new ember.js framework. The wireframe below shows the high-level breakdown on how two platforms could co-exist and needed to seamlessly scale. The Vision was to support 100’s 3rd party SaaS (API-First) services/partners integrated into the platform.

The system had to scale for new services while supporting hooks from MigrationWiz, DeploymentPro, Email Archive, and Data Encryption, Entity Management, plus additional features such as SSO (Rbac), App switching, Notifications, Task launcher, Purchasing, and most important onboard new 3rd party OEM SaaS solutions in a consistent intuitive way.

Once the platform MVP framework was in place, it was time to start integrating services and alpha testing the platform.

One challenge was designing in an old UI kit. I knew I had to modernize the platform to help BitTitan serve as a trusting SaaS application.

It was time to start splitting up the workload, I owned 8 epic features. I interviewed and hired 2 designers to collaborate in a shared vision to digitally transform the platform into something much more contemporary. I made it a company commitment to drive a modern UI Kit–the existing dark grey nav and overall site felt like a typical Seattle day to me. I always knew the future of the site would need to be something a little more modern.

4. BETA LAUNCH:  10/2016
This screen shows the first private customer beta launch. The dashboard was still very rough around the edges. The plan was to ship fast / fail fast and start dog fooding to get real customer feedback while shipping in two week sprints. This was an exciting time for the company, throughout my career this is the only fast paced highly efficient team I’ve been part of. The team collaboration fostered solutions for the greater company interests. Their motto: “Get Shit Done!”

6. PUBLIC LAUNCH:  4/2017
Once the new UI kit was implemented the platform started to come to life. The kit helped to speed up delivery time, since common controls and UI elements were all components. Among the improvements were: Service center, Activity feed, Subscription billing, Delivery Center, Cost reporting and around 20 new service solutions were implemented. I also made layout changes to simplify the experience by introducing the detail panels for fly-outs and inline accordions.

As the lead designer, I owned key platform features an once the UI Models (MVP) were in place I started handing off the designs to my peers for further refinement and design polish. Then I turned my attention to polishing the Dashboard, Delivery center, Entity management, Activity feed, subscription billing, and 3rd party OEM task workflows.