A few months into my time at Catalant, the engineering team decided to rebuild the platform to improve site performance and build a more flexible architecture to accommodate the upcoming roadmap. Many of our larger enterprise customers were starting to request additional custom functionality, and the existing platform was built in a way that was simply too rigid to accommodate many different forks.
The design team and I took this opportunity to address a number of problems we had recently observed.
The process started with a stakeholder discussion to understand the problems with the existing platform.
In my first few months, I had the opportunity to setup several phone calls with both supply users (consultants available for hire) and demand users (enterprise clients) to learn about their past experiences on the platform, what went well, and where the platform fell short of their expectations. Several challenges became apparent:
The decision to not only rebuild the platform but to also redesign the platform was made late. The engineering team was already well on their way to setting up and thinking through the architecture of the new application. Our process was rushed as we worked to get a design skeleton in place that would accommodate the anticipated enterprise customization, address the challenges we had observed, and give the engineering team enough guidance to start to build in the right direction.
Through some early wireframing, we came up with a layout that might work.
Early in the process, we landed on a framework that would include an in-project experience and an out-of-project experience with navigational components based on that context, for each of our three user types: clients, consultants, and internal associates.
The driving assumption was that when a user is working on a project - either as a client who is evaluating candidates, or as a candidate who is drafting a proposal - they are intensely focused on that project. Removing the global navigation from view and replacing it with navigational components to help reinforce their focus and drive the project forward. This opened up real estate on the interface to put important tools more front and center.
The in-project experience used a multi-column layout. For clients, the three column layout included a left-hand secondary navigation, allowing them to easily jump between candidate workspaces. The candidate workspace, which took up the remainder of the space, allowed clients to review the candidate’s profile or proposal side-by-side next to the discussion with that candidate. This candidate workspace was also armed with a flexible call scheduling tool, allowing the client to naturally define their own hiring process.
Comparison of the original project workspace vs. the redesigned workspace.
The role of the internal associate was still unclear, and this lack of clarity manifested itself in the platform in a way that continued to create confusion and friction. I believe there is an opportunity to position this internal role as a value-add for both sides of the marketplace, and to put this concierge-like service front and center in the platform. Unfortunately, I moved on from Catalant before getting the opportunity to lead a design process to bring clarity to this role.