Reinventing the way project teams work together

The Future is Freelance

Ever since industrialization and the rise of the service economy, working a salaried job at a single company for the entirety of a career has been considered the norm. However, over the past decade, a culture shift powered through advances in technology has emerged, where people are pursuing freelance opportunities for the freedom and flexibility they provide.

Companies now rely on freelancers to quickly fill gaps in their project delivery teams with innovative and dynamic experts. However, transitioning from a traditional industry model to contract teams carries the challenge of matching complementary skills and personalities of freelancers, while maintaining transparent communication with the client.

OpenGravity is on the forefront of facilitating independent work. Blackcreek and OpenGravity are designing the future of work by helping organizations build, work with, and manage distributed teams, without losing the transparency and accountability of in-house talent. Together we are reinventing the way project teams work together through data, analytics, and AI.

what we did

User Experience Design, Creative & Visual Design, Database Architecture, Web Development

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The story

Design Thinking and personal creation

From the outset we identified three different personas: Freelancers who want new opportunities working in a friendly, enclosed setting for monitored projects, Clients who want to take the stress out of finding a team while having a one-stop hub to easily access everything they need to know about a project, and Administrators who want to navigate freely amongst clients, freelancers and everything else. We now had to tie all three personas into a cohesive, and friendly user interface.

The approach

Developing an efficient and powerful workflow behind the scenes

Since we had taken over the project from another agency, we were working off an existing code base and design assets. The first step for our team was to consolidate all existing documentation to make sure we had a clear understanding of the current status of the project and could effectively build on top of the set foundation.

Part of that exercise was making sure our design team and developers worked closely together to determine feasibility for each new feature we would build out. Working off an inherited codebase meant that designs should be conducive to leveraging existing components, instead of rewriting everything from scratch.

Tightly coupling our design and development teams is something we practice at Blackcreek for all projects, and OpenGravity is yet another example of how a good working relationship between developers and designers is necessary to meet deadlines and create amazing products.

the discovery

Innovating the on-boarding User Experience

To develop a more efficient on-boarding system for a freelancer, research was done to find sites that were able to successfully guide the user through questions with ease such as Calm and Nike Health. They all focused on personalizing the questions while showing you a clear progress bar and breaking up the survey. With this, we lightened up each page and created lots of space around the question allowing the user to focus only on what’s needed: their progress and their current question.

Design Thinking

Creating a centralized hub for administrators

A major pain point was the sheer amount of tasks that an admin had the option of doing. We mapped out the ideal workflow where an admin would have easy access to their frequent tasks in the dashboard, allowing them to skip clicks and immediately get to the most important actions they would take in that session. Working closely with OpenGravity proved invaluable as they were able to lend us information about their users, and even work directly with administrators to get their immediate feedback on our ideas. Building specific sets of behaviours for each modal and component was a huge help to both our end users and our developers.

Creative & UI

Creativity & Consistency

Creating a holistic experience can be linked back to a project’s overall design choices. With OpenGravity, an emphasis was placed on space with light colours. Any time darker or solid colours were used, they were to indicate importance or actions, creating a natural visual hierarchy on the page. The logo’s mix of purple and blue was our primary inspiration here and led us to build the brand guide off of it. We also made sure that all sharp edges were rounded consistently throughout the application, keeping in line with the friendly and light overall brand.

The technology

Move Quickly and Fix things

The initial build of the platform was done as a minimum viable product and had significant tech debt. We worked with OpenGravity to audit the inherited codebase and identify problematic areas that required refactoring. By managing the technical debt in parallel to building out new features, we made sure that the personality insights and predictive analytics features we were developing were not impacted by underlying bugs or unexpected behaviour. We also implemented 100% unit test coverage for all new features, helping mitigate technical debt from accumulating in the future and ensuring a robust final product.

To expand on OpenGravity’s use of data science for insights and analytics into team psychology, we utilized Google Cloud Platform to strategically map their data models and data pipelines. By using third party predictive analytics services while doing R&D on unique data science approaches to skills & personalities, we were able to provide immediate value to OpenGravity users without sacrificing our long term goals.

Design placed on an ipad
the takeaways

What we learned along the way

Looking back on the project, there's a few important takeaways to note:

1. Consistency and organization at the beginning of a project go a long way to save time at the end.

2. A client’s wants and needs are often different; sometimes the answer they’re looking for doesn’t even come from a question they asked.

3. Not to be afraid to shake things up sometimes with new ideas or fresh takes. The worst thing someone can say is no.

4. When faced with a tough decision, ask yourself: “does this decision improve the end user’s experience”

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