Integrated Service Center Website

Homepage of the Integrated Service Center showing three people walking, framed by content

The Problem

The UW’s transition to a new HR and Payroll system afforded an opportunity to overhaul the way employees accessed HR and Payroll information. The information was distributed (read: unfindable) across several disparate-yet-strangely-overlapping departments and written in that strange dialect you tend to see on (and only on) HR intranets. The situation was ripe for change: a Wordpress-based, UW-themed, self-help website for any and all HR and Payroll information.

The Process

“A WordPress-based, UW-themed, self-help website for any and all HR and Payroll information.” That’s a lot of solution right up front, but that’s what brought the stakeholders to the table. And it sounds straightforward enough, but … not so much. Large stakeholder groups made and a corpus of relevant information scattered across 5 major HR websites, a dozen minor ones, and countless shadow systems made for quite a challenge.

The team I was part of (UW’s excellent Academic Experience Design and Delivery group, housed with in UW IT) used an iterative fidelity model to design the site. At each step – from user flows to wireframes to visual design – we built it out with an agile, validated-assumption approach. We brainstormed until we got something that felt right, then tested with users and adjusted.

Here’s a small selection of some of the documents me (and my team) used to get through the process.

A flow chart depicting how someone might go about answering a complicated question
An example user flow
A spreadsheet showing user tasks, questions that might relate to those tasks, and where the answers live for various personas
Snippet of a spreadsheet inventorying content based on user tasks and various personas
A table showing which elements would appear on which pages
Analysis of which elements should live on which pages
Previous version of homepage with centralized search bar and different treatments
The homepage a few iterations before visual design was finalized

The information architecture of the site was by far the most challenging part. It needed to both encapsulate and inform the content the client would write. It was a real challenge to blend mountains of information together in a such a way that was agreeable to stakeholders (who were used to that strange corporate-HR dialect) and was also more beneficial for UW employees than previous options.

The Product

Though the final decisions drifted rather far afield of our well-researched recommendations, we were able to verify with users that the end product is a significant improvement over other HR and Payroll related portals on campus. The Integrated Service Center website is now live and serving UW employees.