Visual Analytics and Interface Design for BI Platform




Ajaz Hussain, Project Supervisor

Feng Yuan, Visual Designer

Tyson Moll, Front-end Developer


User Experience

Data Analytics

Data Visualization

Interface Design

Design for the enterprise.

Our client is a collaborative platform for accessing procurement opportunities and analyzing the economic impact of organizations in the domestic and international defence, aerospace, oil & gas, mining, automotive and construction industries, and in other complex global supply chains. 

As a researcher and designer at VAL, I worked on improving and innovating the experience of program and project analyzing, program and project managing and funding disctribution tracking.


At a glance, improving UX seemed easy. The UI is outdated. The workflows could be simplified. Everything could be improved substantially. However, what soon got dugout is what is crucial: As a designer, I'm nowhere close to a user. My assumptions might not even be relevant. I need a deep product understanding with thorough research to have an opinion.


As none of our team was familiar with the contract lifecycle management, the team started with learning CLM from the client's major competitors, including Icertis, Apttus, ASC, SpringCM, Determine, Model N, CobbelStone, Contractlogix, Zycus, Basware, and SAP Ariba

Once we grasped the basic terms and rationale,  we started to research the end-users. We conducted an interview with the client and prepared a set of questions:​

  • What kinds of data are provided by this platform?

  • How does the enterprise user work on this data?

  • How does the enterprise user consider visual analytics as an analyzing tool? 

  • Especially regarding the program and project sections, what is the user flow across these two sections?


Once we had enough information, we drew a flow model to understand the people and the systems involved and to identify the merging and breaking points. This helped us to gain a better understanding of the entire process. 

We found that as an enterprise product, this platform provides powerful features through rather complex workflows that were built for diverse roles.  For example, the admin user has full access to each program and project, but the program owner only has access to his program and the projects under this specific program. We found the complex workflows often achieve the same goal. Focus on mapping out critical user journey is a key to simplification.


What's the catch there between those enterprise users vs. consumers?

To make sure the whole team is on the same page in terms of whom we are designing for, we made persona to discover the difference between the enterprise user and the customer.


Horizontal Version: Representing the program/project data with the alluvium diagram which emphasizes representing the funding/value flow of the project among nodes.

Left and Right Version: Representing the program/project data with the sunburst diagram.


© Feng Yuan 2020

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