Hamburg Sud

Evaluating employees is always a challenge, specially if you are in a big company. Thinking about that, Hamburg Sud wanted to create a fair evaluation system, based on goals and skills during the year.

Photo of a big Hamburg Sud ship

Source: Wikipedia

the challenge
Basically, our objective was creating a system with many complex rules and steps, on the simplest way possible.
On the first stages of the project, we realized that the most difficult part of this process would be memorizing all of this content before creating the information architecture and the wireframes.
The system was, basically, a platform where Hamburg Sud's employees could be evaluated and evaluate their bosses. Obviously, it was much more complex than just it.
We had just a month to do the whole project and, without testing it with the employees it was almost impossible to know if we were going through the right direction.
THE PROCESS / my role
In order to solve the complexitity of this project, a person on the team was focused on the documentation during the whole project. She was actively participating from another steps of the project, too.
I worked as an UX/UI Designer. I participated on the whole project, from the first sketches to the follow up with the DEV team.
Information architecture of the platform.

The first version of the information architecture, made by the UX Lead. We changed it a lot during the project.

how to remember?
There were many rules. So many that the team had to create a complete documentation about the system with lots of pages.
On this documentation, all the rules were explained with details. We used it during all the project, as a guide when we had any doubt.
Photo from the documentation, with a pen above it.

The documentation, our partner during the project.

Because of it, to create the wireframes I spent a week with the person of the team responsible for the documentation. We created it together. It was fun, because she had a totally different vision from mine about how the system should look like. Probably those different visions were what made it possible for us to create a great flow.
After sketching the wireframes into paper, trying to remember all the rules (my luck that she has a great memory), we started to show it to the other team members.
Just a few re-sketches and we had it done in one week.
Photo from the paper wireframes.

Paper, pencil and a lot of patience.

A fresh look to an evaluating system
With the wireframes on hand, I could start to work on the interface. The visual concept was not difficult to be approved and, from one meeting to another, we just had to redo some little things from what we draw. The client helped us with some specific rules that we forgot, but everything was fine, because the main structure was done right.
To the visual, we tried to be the as cleanest as we could. We wanted to focus on the content: it was very important that the objective was clear enough for all the employees.
Image from four screens of the final user interface from the platform.

Using colors just to fit our needs. No need to astonishing interactions here.

Did it work?
I don't know. It is a project that I trully believed (or it wouldn't be on my portfolio), but, well, things not always go the way we are expecting. After we finished it, the company was sold and the new owner already had a evaluation system. We couldn't learn where we were right or wrong about our assumptions with the real users.
I think it's an exercise of learning and improving even if you are surprised with something different on the path. And that's just ok.
Lessons learned
The most exciting thing about this project was the power of joining different thoughts about a problem and organize them into a solution that we believed.
And, after that, seeing the solution not being tested was very frustrating, because we thought that it could work really well. But it is important to understand the context of the things happening. There are always the next project ;)
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