PROJECT OVERVIEW
RequestAPI is a digital system designed to simplify the process of gathering relevant and accurate information from a variety of NYU data sources, facilitating the community’s ability to build and publish targeted and customized mobile and web applications. The primary goal of the API/Data Portal is to empower NYU developers to deploy apps quickly, in a repeatable way, providing the community with innovative and improved user experiences, operational efficiency, and better access to timely information. Below are the project details. 
Role: Product Designer, User Experience Designer   |    Team: 1 Designer, 2 Developer, 1 Project manager   |   Duration: 4 months  |    Keywords: UX Research, User Interface Design, Accessibility Testing  
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The Problem?
In order to request data, the users (data requesters) had to go through a long unintuitive form in the old system. Not only was it a pain to fill this form out, but user's often complained that once they submitted a request, there was no way to track status of their request or to know if and why their request got rejected. 
The current system was leading to poor management of data, lacked appropriate input options, was not smart to pre-populate obvious data and lacked any options to filter data as per priorityThere were also some usability issues with the form as reported by current users documented below.
Sneak peak of current form

Current form

The Users
After the initial client meeting, I conducted informal interviews with 5+ users and made fly-on-the wall observations. With this part of the process, I was in a much better position to be able to empathize with the exact role of users of this product and their pain points.   
High-level process workflow
Here's what one request process cycle looks like for an API consumer.
Key Insights
Research conducted so far helped me identify the key problems that needed a solution.
Redesigning the system 
In order to get a deeper understanding of the system, I created a workflow mapping all the stakeholders with different touch points of the system design with some recommendations to make the process efficient.    
Early concepts

Information chunking (above)

Low - medium fidelity wireframes (below) 

Final prototype
Usability testing

Documentation of feedback for usability testing session

There were minor design and front-end changes in the form that were identified through this session which we took care of while development of the form. I further designed other deliverables of this system. An important user need that was identified through the usability testing session was for them to be able to get timely communication about the status of their request and be able to track their requests.
Other design deliverables

Key features of the new emailers were messages in plain language, ability to view status and who approved/rejected a request and a note with the reason why a request was rejected. (*Illustration credits to SketchApp resources)

Takeaway's
As lead designer of this project, I had the opportunity to directly interface with the client which was a very valuable experience for me. An important learning was to not judge the exact scope of a project from initial design brief. The client first came to us with a 'form redesign project'. On further research, we were able to identify that there was a need to redesign the system at various touch points to better solve user problems.     
This was the first project where I conducted accessibility testing. We tested for tabbing, images/alt text, color contrast and voice over. There were so many interactions that were accessibility unfriendly, which I had to eventually redesign. But I now have a good understanding of what to not do for future projects.

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