After a beta period with a few hundred users, the Charles River Labs online studies platform needed to scale to over 5x the number of internal users, almost 10x the number of clients, and 25x the number of studies as well as introduce a new managerial user type that would need a broader view of studies. A redesigned Study List view and an updated Study Card view gave all users the ability to quickly filter and sort to find the studies they need.
Charles River Labs
Lead Product Designer
Product Owner, Multiple Engineers, Design Director
6 weeks plus development time
The study view designed for the MVP was targeted at study monitors and study directors, the individuals in charge of monitoring and running specific studies. These users were generally only interested in tracking at a handful of active studies or a specific compound they were assigned to, and previous user testing had shown this view to be effective. When I took over as the designer for this module of the platform, however, we began to expand outside our initial beta users and introduced a new managerial user type that needed to be able to view a larger number of studies. I had a number of conversations with internal subject matter experts to better grasp how the tool was being used and what options had been considered in the past. Conversations with our internal client reps and study directors pointed towards some type of sortable list view encompassing studies in various planning stages, so based on their feedback I mocked up several different list views with different groupings for initial testing.
I led over a dozen research sessions with individuals and groups of users in both study monitor, study director, and managerial roles to get feedback on the mockups and learn more about our users' needs and preferences. We encountered lots of surprises on how users preferred to search for studies and data and quickly realized that we would likely need two different view types. The study monitors and the study directors were really only interested in active studies or studies involving the compounds they were testing and unanimously preferred the Study Card view as opposed to the list concepts, while the managerial personnel wanted to see a bigger picture view of studies on various compounds in any stage of the process.
Based on our customer feedback and discussions with our product managers I created a brand new view that we termed the Study List view. This view gave these new managerial users the ability to see a big picture view of all their company's studies in various planning, active, or completed stages across any of their compounds. Based on their feedback I added a favorites feature to make it easy to quickly save and jump to specific studies that a user might want to track, as well as a study number search and the ability to filter by any parameter to quickly find a specific study or group of studies. A view toggle was also added to the page so a user could flip between the Study List view and the Study Card view depending on their preference, and future personalization was planned to allow users to set their preferred view type and filters for the Studies page.
While our study monitors and study directors did really like the existing Study Card view, our research revealed some shortcomings that I was able to improve on. While the original version prioritized the study name, I found out that users normally looked for the Charles River study number before checking the study day and status. They also wanted to see the physical study location and the names of personnel involved in the study.
I moved the study number to the top left corner to make that information more easily scannable with the day and status directly underneath on a high contrast background. I also added the favorites feature along with personnel names and the study location to the card and included that in the right section of less important study details. Filters were added to make it easy for a user to narrow down the available studies by any number of parameters.
User interviews conducted after launch were very positive and both our individual contributors as well as our management users were very happy with the new Study List and Study Card view options. I left my role at CRL before the full rollout of the product to our entire customer base, but the company did hit their end of year goals for scaling up customers and studies to bring all users and all existing and new studies onto the new online study platform.