Using Design Thinking to Simplify Complex Data.

The Design Challenge!

To create a new B.I dashboard that monitors the manufacturing, finance and sales departments for data analysts to make key decisions that drives each line of business, reduce human errors, provide valuable insights and increase profits.

The Background

MediaTek Inc., positioned as the world’s fourth-largest microchip manufacturer, specializes in producing chips for wireless communications, televisions, mobile devices, and automated driving. Notably, in 2014, MediaTek reached a significant milestone by shipping over 1 billion chipsets. With a commitment to advancing their business operations, MediaTek identified the need to implement an analytical tool. This tool aimed to empower key stakeholders by providing extensive insights across business, manufacturing, and finance domains.

My Role

As the lead designer heading a team that included a project manager and a junior designer, my responsibility was to grasp MediaTek’s requirements and devise a design strategy aligned with their business objectives. This encompassed leading all research and design phases, shaping the user experience, crafting the user interface, developing the visual design language, and guiding a junior designer through the entire process.

Gathering Business Goals

MediaTek is structured into three primary divisions or business units, each playing a pivotal role in overseeing the entire spectrum of manufacturing, inventory management, and revenue generation for all microchips produced and sold by the company. To gauge the performance of each business line, key stakeholders are tasked with collecting data from multiple hubs and meticulously processing it to generate comprehensive reports. These reports are instrumental in enabling business analysts to assess the performance of individual business units and understand the broader impact on MediaTek.

The primary challenge in this process lies in the substantial time investment required by users to manually collect, process, and compile the necessary data for reporting. Manual processing introduces the risk of errors, potentially leading to a distorted overview of the business unit’s performance. This inefficiency has significant consequences, resulting in missed revenue opportunities that can cost MediaTek millions.

Here’s an example of several strategic goals and market dynamics that MediaTek needs to monitor:

Strategy

  • Create a single source of truth
  • Merge MediaTek’s data
  • Dashboard specific solution per B.U
  • Optimized workflows

Market Dynamics

  • Fluctuating supply & demand
  • Operational cost
  • International shipping & taxation
  • Raw material sourcing

Quantitative Research Study

Prior to my engagement with MediaTek, I collaborated closely with their business operations, analysts, and IT managers. This collaboration aimed to gain a comprehensive understanding of how users were creating reports and the specific data required for meaningful analysis. Working alongside these key stakeholders provided valuable insights into the types of data utilized, the time-intensive nature of data gathering for report creation, and a nuanced understanding of the essential key performance indicators (KPIs) needed to monitor each business unit effectively. Here are a few examples of the key indicators identified for each department:

Manufacturing

  • Chip production
  • Production time
  • Quality control
  • Materials cost

Finance

  • Production cost
  • Shipping cost
  • Operations cost
  • Material forecasting

Sales

  • Product sales
  • Customer sales
  • Industry sales
  • Forecasting
  • Benchmarking

Qualitative Research: Gathering Needs

As part of my research study, I partnered with MediaTek’s business operations, analysts, and IT managers before my on-site visit. This collaborative effort aimed to unravel the intricacies of the report creation process and ascertain the specific data required for in-depth analysis. Working closely with these stakeholders provided valuable perspectives on the types of data in use, the time-intensive nature of data gathering for report creation, and the identification of key performance metrics crucial for monitoring each business unit. The subsequent section outlines a selection of key indicators needed for each department based on this collaborative exploration.

Knowing Our Users

The three primary stakeholders emerged as invaluable sources of information, shedding light on the day-to-day intricacies of business processes at MediaTek. Their insights revealed a common challenge faced by typical analysts—the slowdown caused by manual processes in handling fundamental information. Each stakeholder expressed a shared need for a tool that not only facilitated uniform access to the same data but also empowered users to delve into specific business units, accessing all relevant data seamlessly.

In conducting 15 in-person user interviews, held in the users’ offices to closely observe their work environment, each session spanned 45 minutes. The interview format involved probing into their workflow, uncovering the significant hurdles they encountered with their existing processes, and ultimately exploring their desires and requirements. The recurring theme that surfaced during these interviews emphasized the essential need for a real-time analytical tool. This tool would seamlessly integrate various data sources, eliminating the manual processing burden. The envisioned tool would present users with a screen featuring different business units, allowing them to click into specific units, uncovering insights, and offering the flexibility to filter data according to their needs. The following outlines the primary stakeholders, representing the distinct needs and jobs-to-be-done for each business unit:

Jenny

Jenny, the manufacturing analyst, dedicates a significant portion of her day—2-4 hours—to processing data from diverse sources. This time-consuming task, crucial for ensuring quota achievement and timely product production, underscores the need for a more streamlined solution. The aim is to free up Jenny’s time, enabling her to focus on strategic decision-making and efficient oversight of manufacturing operations.

Thomas

Thomas, the sales analyst, spends 4-5 hours daily processing data and creating reports. His key responsibility involves understanding the impact of actual chip sales compared to forecasted rates. The need for a more efficient solution is evident, aiming to streamline data processing and allow Thomas to dedicate more time to insightful analysis and strategic forecasting for MediaTek’s sales performance.

Danny

Danny, the finance analyst, spends his day overseeing the production cost of a microchip family, particularly focusing on material costs. His tasks involve examining costs across various data sources and creating reports detailing the business’s impact. The need for a streamlined solution is evident, aiming to optimize Danny’s efficiency and allocate more time to strategic financial analysis and decision-making.

Our Persona, The Data Analyst

The persona here represents the typical user within MediaTek and gives a in-depth view of my user’s behavior patterns, goals, skills, attitudes, problems, and background information. The persona allows me to understand my target audience and humanize my research to create a understandable representation of what my user’s want and need.

User Journey Of A Business Analyst

Below is the user journey of a data analyst based upon 10 user interviews. Each step is broken into 5 different categories. Each category represents a series of tasks needed in their current workflow to build a report. Analysts from each department of MediaTek undergoes these process each day to view and monitor the daily needs of each department.

Step 1

Monitor Performnce

  • Checks daily performance
  • B.U. meetings
  • Meet with leads
  • Check past performance

Step 2

Data Gathering Different D.Bs

  • Performance
  • Specific areas
  • Past performance
  • Forecasting

Step 3

Data Cleaning

  • Clean data manually
  • Correct inaccurate records

Step 4

Report Creation

  • Copy/past data to run performance

Step 5

Sharing Results

  • Process data in excel create data visualizations

The MediaTek Design Workshop

The workshop brought together the entire line of business, I.T., managers and end-users to focus on one common goal. The beginning of the workshop outlined the overview of an intensive user research study consisting of surveys, questionnaires and walk-alongs. The user research survey served as the staring point of the workshop and allowed Mediatek to understand the problem at hand. Once we established the ground work of user pain-points, the workshop was geared towards designing for needs. During the workshop, we focused heavily on what users needed day-to-day. The focus therefore was on the types of data needed and how data can be used to make informative real-time decisions. In the workshop, we found that different units looked at similar indicators and therefore were related to corresponding units. As part of the workshop, we created exercises that allowed Mediatek to layout a new information architecture that all the business units can use to its fullest. Along with understanding the data, the workshop produced journey maps, user-personas, empathy maps, to-be processes and storyboards outlining their ideal new solution and process.

The Pain Points

In the workshop with MediaTek, we identified key issues plaguing both the business and users when creating a report and understanding the performance of each business unit. The major pain points identified are:

Pain points in journey

  • No holistic view of performance of the business
  • Long lead time to generate a report
  • Manually gathering of data
  • Cleaning data manually
  • Human errors in reports

The Problem Statement

In the workshop, I validated both the user journey and the pain points and I developed a problem statement to focus our design goals.

Problem Statement

Data analysts do not have a tool allowing them to gather real-time insights to view and monitor performance and business needs.

Developing a How Might We Statement

I created a How Might We statement to focus the design efforts into a question to be solved, this turns the problems into opportunities for generative thinking on how to best solve the problem discovered during my user research. 

How Might We…

Allow analysts to have a holistic view of business needs and performance to empower others to make important business decisions through reporting?

Designing Around Our Areas Of Opportunities & H.M.W

After reviewing the analyst’s journey, and the pain points as a group we then identified the key opportunities we want to solve for in our design phase.

Opportunity #1

Provide a holistic view of business needs and performance.

Opportunity #2

Allow each business unit to have it’s own unique view.

Opportunity #3

Break large data sets into key performance indicators.

Opportunity #4

Provide detailed analytics of each key performance indicator.

Drawing The Experience Together

During the last 2 days of the workshop, we focused on drawing the new experience. Each person in the workshop had the opportunity to have his and her voice heard. Teams worked both individually on their ideas while other teams created their solution as one team. Towards the end of the workshop, Mediatek produced an entire end-to-end experience in a sketch format.

User explaining his sketches.

A team creating their ideal solution.

A user sharing her ideas.

A look at Mediatek’s senior leadership seeing the holistic view of all the sketches.

Linking User Needs To The Experience

Mediatek expressed lots of interest in redesigning the way their users accessed and engaged with data. During my research phase, it became clear that users expressed many pinpoints with how the data was structured within Mediatek. As a designer, it was my duty to understand the needs of the users and understand the painpoints of the data from the users point-of-view. Below are a set of matrixes of the types of data needed from each unit and why they needed it. After having 10 matrix sheets of structured data laid out in front of us that myself and Mediatek understood the holistic view of data everyone needed and why. This is the first time that senior management and end-user saw this holistic view. Below is a few examples of the key indicators needed to track and maintain each department.

The Workshop Outcome

Because the workshop focused on the needs of the user and based on user research, Mediatek was able to understand holistically the issues at hand. By knowing and confronting the pain points head on, the result was a solution that allowed users to use their expertise into sketches. The sketches below represent the workable outcome of the workshop. The sketches serve as a major pivoting point and allowed me as the lead product designer to understand the needs of Mediatek from a different perspective. Below are just a few examples of the user experience drawn in the workshop.

The design phase…where everything comes together!

After the workshop, I collected the sketches from the group and began the design phase. The sketches in the workshop serve as a starting point for creating the final user experience. With MediaTek, I co-created the basic structure of a dashboard as well as, identified the data needed to be in the user experience. For this design phase, I began by wire framing the end-to-end experience, establish a system for the design and used MediaTek’s design language for the final look and feel. 

Whiteboarding The User Experience

My first step in my design process is thinking systematically about the entire user experience and I began by whiteboarding the experience. The whiteboard allows me to try ideas with ease and allows me to see the entire use interface as a system and not as individual parts.

In total, there are 27 info tiles that give MediaTek’s users the ability to view and monitor key insights into all business units. The dashboard is the launching point in which users select which area of the business they need and see detailed information about that line of business. Users have the ability to filter, compare and drill into specific areas of data to understand what is happening within the business unit.

Defining The Information Tiles

The information tiles server 2 purposes, allows users to monitor a key matrix of a business unit and allow for deeper insight into that key matrix. Each info tile is unique and is calculated based on certain thresholds and parameters that are specific to that matrix. Some info tiles indicate a performance rate, while others give details of a line of business.

Creating The Dashboard Experience

The dashboard is the area where users are able to quickly see and make decisions about each business unit. Prior to the dashboard users had to collect data from different sources to understand what is happening with a line of business. The dashboard aggregates the data they need into one area for the entire company to see.

Defining Deeper Insights

Once an info tile is clicked, the user is able to see all the relevant data to that tile. The data within this internal page can display charts and graphs about a measured rate or have tabular data about an entire line of shipping supply of a family of microprocessors.

Designing The Wireframes

The solution is made of a dashboard with KPI tiles allowing the user’s within Mediatek to see an overview of performance. The KPIs allows the user’s within Mediatek to see where areas of the business needs to be improved and allow the users to know why certain things are happening. Once a KPI tile is clicked, the user is able to see every detail of that department, which gives users great flexibility to make realtime decisions.

Designs Using MediaTek's Branding

For the final visual design of the user experience, MediaTek express interest in having it as part of their branding. At the time that I engaged with MediaTek, they rebranded themselves as being a new fun and easy going company that makes great products for it customers. The image below is an example of MediaTek’s brand and represents a fun and bright company ready to create awesome products. 

MediaTek’s Branding Guidelines

Here is an example of MediaTek’s branding guidelines used in the final creation of the dashboard experience. From this guideline I was able to use the fonts, colors and layout structure to create a dashboard that represents the core value of MediaTek. 

The Solution

The All New Sisense For Cloud Data Teams

Sisense for Cloud Data Teams allows businesses to connect to any cloud data source to explore their data and build powerful analysis quickly.

Understanding Forecasting

The new MediaTek dashboard allows a holistic view of the performance at a glance. Analysts now can have quick access to any business unit and understand key insights and create reports with just 1 click. 

Getting Deeper Insights

Access to deep insights have never been easier, with a single click analysts can view how each business unit is performing and monitor its performance in realtime. 

Want to learn more about this case study or others projects?

For details on my design process or interested in collaborating together, feel free to reach out.