In addition to designing the Argos website and print collateral, I was also tasked with re-designing the UI for Sepialine’s flagship enterprise software, Argos. Argos is dedicated, print and copy-tracking software that offers users integration with various accounting packages, like Deltek, BST & Oracle and works with all major printer manufacturers.
Redesigning an Established Product
Argos had been an established brand, and certainly number one in the print tracking category for years before I joined the team at Sepialine. This kind of total overhaul is always a difficult process to manage, and requires a delicate touch. As much as stakeholders and users sense there is a need for an update, folks can very resistant to change. I've had to execute dramatic whole product and brand overhauls a few times prior to the Argos overhaul and had learned some invaluable lessons, along the way.
Before anything else, remembering that most of the difficulties in this process stem from our resistance to change–not because of the change itself–but due to our fear of making mistakes, is very helpful. Longtime users and even stakeholders can resist change regardless of the circumstances–and that’s normal. Second, it reminds us that a self-aware persistence (knowing we might have made UX or UI mistakes along the way and listening to constructive feedback addressing those) will eventually get us through.
"People do not want something wholly new, they want what is familiar done in a different way."
Our user base was a mixed bag of skills, in one location we'll have a highly trained IT employee who uses our software on a daily basis, would love to discuss the code with us, and goes home at night to work on his side project of Linux. In another location, we've got an entry-level accounting worker who uses Argos every day and gets very flustered if he clicks on the wrong button.
In situations where I am tasked with addressing the needs of fragmented or conflicting personas, I often use techniques like the Kano Model. As a Creative Director, it helps me prioritize which feedback from users is valuable, and helps me understand critical aspects of the design process and what kind of team may need to be assembled.
Argos looked outdated. And over the years, it had grown some redundancies, had inconsistent icons, and was often far from intuitive. Knowing this change could not be done incrementally made me a little nervous. This was going to be a large visual upgrade for users. I needed it to still be intuitive for our accounting user (who likely complains loudly when Facebook introduces minor UI changes), and yet I really wanted the respect of the IT user for a much better UI.
A Unique UI that Looks Very Familiar
I examined the visual vernacular of our users to pinpoint any overlap in patterns. What I found, was insanely obvious–our users are already quite familiar with Windows, Android, MS Office, and of course, Argos. So I borrowed approaches from all of them and created a look that would be completely different, yet already have a very familiar organizational structure for our users.
By borrowing certain design principals from Material Design and following some of the basic structural rules introduced by Microsoft, I was able to completely transform the entire experience with a unique design system that would seamlessly fit into a Windows environment.
The Style Guide
Not a whole lot of CDs will say this, but I boldly admit that I love creating style guides. I love the detail. It forces me to think beyond conceptual layouts and broad strokes—that comes from creating a style guide. I love creating a tool that is used by both designers and engineers, and something that everyone can refer to when a question comes up about the UI.