This case study covers the evolution of one of Uniblue's core products Powersuite, over the course of three major releases between 2010 and 2012. The 2012 market version promotes Powersuite as "the ultimate PC performance solution which manages and maintains your PC for improved performance". It combines features from different Uniblue products in one powerful solution. However, the product was not always well-integrated. The 2010 version consisted of a single dashboard linking to three separate applications, each launching a different application.
Powersuite 2010 offered RegistryBooster, SpeedUpMyPC and DriverScanner as the three major features or utilities within the application. To really interact with and benefit from these features the user had to launch each application in a separate window. This resulted in a fragmented, broken user experience. Moreover, an update to one of the standalone products forced an update to the entire product.
On my first day at Uniblue Systems Ltd, my UX/UI team was tasked with the redesign of Powersuite:
- To integrate all features from standalone products into one combined product;
- To update the user interface to a more modern look; and
- To support possible feature expansion.
Refining the information architecture and user journey
We used card sorting to identify various patterns to organise and group features together and refine the information architecture. The goal was to offer the user the ability to optimise settings and resources, maintain his/her hard disk and update drivers. This was done by creating more intuitive performance improvement categories. User interface solutions were sketched, wireframed and prototyped to test usability. We had one week to do this before presenting to the Key Stakeholders (Senior Management in this case).
Low-fidelity prototype in Axure
High-fidelity prototypes in Axure
After the initial Stakeholder presentation we iterated a few times before getting overall approval. Some of the interesting challenges we faced were Key Stakeholders who could not ‘visually digest’ a wireframe, but preferred to see colours and final visual design. I believe these type of challenges are often faced by UX Designers. Due to the iterative nature of our work we need to keep our artwork as light as possible (sketches, wireframes and low fidelity mockups). However, these are not always easy to understand for non-designers and Executives.
The next step was to complete the final visual design while the Engineers started the implementation phase. The first release in 2012 showcased the new, integrated standalone application. It also featured a new System Performance Indicator to visualise the state of the user's computer at the time of the scan. Other features included Windows 8 compatibility, a resizable GUI that could be maximised to full screen for easier readability, and localisation into 13 languages.
Through a series of usability tests we collected user feedback and based our second iteration on these findings. We tasked ourselves with improving the scan process by adding multiple scan options. Furthermore, the Stakeholders felt that including all the features on the Overview screen would communicate a greater sense of value to the customer. This posed a difficult design challenge to us and was also not something the UX Designers agreed with. We preferred to keep the user experience as simple as possible and were cautious of presenting the user with an overload of information (feature bloat). However, we navigated our way through the challenges and met the targets for the second iteration.