Project Shipping label management application
Room for Improvement
The biggest lesson learned from this project was how important project planning and user testing is. We have a small team of in-house users to collaborate with so we tend to develop and design on the fly. Fortunately we're in a position where it's realistic to work this way (we can rapidly deploy bug and quality-of-life fixes as soon as the users alert us to a problem or difficulty). That said, we can always strive to do better for the next project.
Defining project goals and having useful documentation are essential to development. Often our developers work alone, so it's natural to approach a project in a more cerebral way (nothing written down, containing all the details in one's head). In teams, however, this makes it harder to on board new team members, and I had retread a lot of ground that may have come up months prior. Documentation is a useful resource for tracking project progress, setting and meeting deadlines, and keeping track of changes and decision making.
Showing the users a prototype that was essentially a few animated mockups and emulated interactions was a good start, but ultimately it's still better to have user testing that actually tests task completion. With data entry there are a lot of pieces and odd scenarios that we missed when our testers just passively looked at a series of images. We would have gained a lot of insight if we had a tool that could simulate the interface and let users actually tab through it and enter data. Unfortunately products like Axure were outside our budget, but I could have whipped up a quick web version that would have been near identical experience.