Expert Institute

Expert scheduling made easy

Timeframe
June 2023, 2 days
Company Name
Expert Institute
My Role
Research, UX Design, Protoyping
Overview

Expert Institute is a legal expert consulting and insights platform connecting litigators with top industry experts through their SaaS platform, Expert iQ. I designed an optimized alternative to their current expert conference call scheduling workflow. 

In June 2023, the Head of Product announced there would be a hackathon and this time, anyone in the company could participate. We would have 2 days to address any problem we wanted to solve. As an aspiring UX designer, this was my chance to finally flex my design muscle and throw my hat into the ring.

For this project, I researched, designed, and prototyped the expert conference call scheduler. My role at the company was Customer Success Specialist, so having a direct relationship with attorney clients came in handy.

After my presentation, I handed the designs to the company's product designer for further iteration to be shipped. 

For a plaintiff attorney, retaining qualified and reliable experts is essential to their business.

One reason attorneys enjoy the expert search service is because they can have 15 minute preliminary conference calls with potential experts before deciding to retain them. This allows them to get a feel for the experts credentials, presentation, and get an overall sense of their fit for the case.

The Problem
A time consuming scheduling process

Back in May 2023, I visited a client at his office in Philly. Let’s call him Arnold. We had a 20 minute conversation about his caseload, how his firm was doing financially, and how great our services were. Feedback was flowing freely and he gave the company raving reviews. His one critique was that scheduling calls with experts in Expert iQ was time consuming. He disliked that he had to submit a scheduling request for each expert individually.

I knew this was a big deal because Arnold was a fan of the Expert Search service, and an early adopter and consistent user of the platform. What good was using Expert iQ if it made processes more complicated rather than save time?

The Solution
Less is more

In two days, I created a simpler workflow that would allow users to requests the calls in an efficient way. With this update, user would be able to:

1.  Request call with multiple experts at once
2. Input their availability one time
3. Submit a request without leaving the page, saving time and clicks
Discover
Getting under the hood

The first thing I did was investigate the current workflow for requesting calls with experts. Everything Arnold said was spot on. If he only wanted to schedule a call with one expert, the process was fairly simple.

However, when he wanted to schedule a call with multiple experts at once for a given case, the number of steps required to complete the process increased by five for every additional request.

Requesting a call with one expert
Requesting a call with two experts
Requesting a call with three experts
Comparing and contrasting

I ran some of my thoughts by our graphic designer, and he suggested I use a modal to achieve a simpler flow. I loved the idea, so I quickly performed a competitive analysis with the scheduling tool we used internally, Google Calendar, for inspiration and guidance.

There were multiple elements to the Google Calendar scheduling tool that I wanted to bring into my design.

1. A side panel with meeting preferences

All the meeting details could be entered in this panel, avoiding the need for a second page of steps.

2. A separate calendar panel

Again, keeping everything in one page allowed a user to input their availability and make edits to the meeting information while staying on the same page

3. The ability to add multiple guests to a call

The ability to add multiple guests to a call would save a user from needing to create individual invites for every guest they wanted at the meeting.

Utilizing existing customer insights

In my role as a Customer Success Specialist, I had a direct relationship with the attorneys and paralegals that used Expert iQ.  With a limited amount of time to come up with a solution, I had to rely on the information I gathered from my conversation with Arnold, my previous interactions with other attorney clients, and my findings from my initial investigation. Here is what I knew:

  • The amount of steps in the current scheduling workflow was excessive
  • Scheduling calls outside the platform lead to long email chains with the expert search team or phone calls from CS to coordinate the calls
  • Attorney availability for calls did not change based on the expert they were scheduling with
  • For attorneys, time is in high demand, but low supply
Define
A simple approach with a major impact

My challenge wasn't a total overhaul, but rather an optimization. So I asked, how might we make requesting conference calls with experts simpler and more time efficient?

Based on what I learned during the discovery phase, the answer wasn't to change the workflow, but cut out the unnecessary steps caused by submitting requests for each individual expert. By incorporating the workflow into a modal that allowed users to request calls with multiple experts at once, the number of steps required to complete this task would be cut in half.

Develop
Sketching and wireframing

I didn’t want to get rid of the original elements of the scheduler, so I used what I identified in Google Calendar to help organize them within the modal.

1. Video conference preferences

For users to request a call with or without video

2. Availability calendar

For users to provide availability for the calls

3. Expert selector

The list of shared experts for the user to choose from for call requests

4. Confirm & cancel buttons

I made a few more layout changes after UI application.

5. Expert search state

An original element, the expert search state allows users to see how far along a search is in the expert search process. This state would change to "cc requested" once a call request was submitted

6. Availability strength bar

Another original element I chose to keep. This bar indicates if the user provided an adequate amount of availability

7. Video conference preferences

I relocated this element to make room for the availability strength bar and to make it the final step before confirming the request.

8. Schedule conference call button

This button originally lived under each expert listing. I placed it in the top right to indicate that calls no longer needed to be requested individually.

9. Request state change

I added state changes to the call requests so the user could see who they requested calls with. There would be an additional state change when a call was scheduled and again when a call was completed.

Deliver
Prototype

I created the prototype of the scheduler using Figma.

Outcome
An honorable mention is a win, right?

I presented my design to the executive and product teams and they loved the idea. Though I didn't win the hackathon, I did get an honorable mention. I also received positive feedback and kudos from a few folks in the company.

Feedback from the Senior Vice President and Head of Product & Technology
Feedback from the Associate Director, Product Design
Feedback from the Senior Vice President, Customer Success
Reflection
What went well
Established UI

With a design system already in place, designing and prototyping was fairly easy because I didn’t need to start from scratch. I was able to easily transform my low fidelity wireframes to prototype ready wireframes within the allotted time.

Support for the scheduler

I got amazing feedback from the team, and I learned that they were going to move forward with my project. I met with our product designer after the hackathon to handoff the designs, talk more in depth about my process, and get some more feedback. She also gave me some insight into how the product team took ideas from design through development.

What could have been improved
Conducting additional interviews

I learned about the hackathon about 2 weeks before it started. Knowing what I know now, it would have been beneficial to call a few clients that I knew used the scheduling tool to gain additional insights before the hackathon started.

Conducting user tests

On a related note, one of my biggest uncertainties was around the relocation of the "schedule a call" button. I had a few different placements in mind, but I had no way to know if the change would make sense to the user. If I had planned better, I could have made time to conduct at least one or two user tests before the presentation.

What I learned
A little planning can go a long way

Though the hackathon itself was only two days long, I had a couple of weeks to think through how I was going to approach this project. My role as a CS rep was fast paced and often consumed my day, but there were definitely some opportunities to talk to clients about the scheduling workflow that I did not take advantage of. Next time, I would be more intentional about using my direct relationships with clients as a resource. 

There is no small idea

I was self conscious about using this idea for the hackathon because I knew I’d be up against developers that were building some cool and novel features using AI. I actually presented two ideas just in case this one was too small on its own. In the end, this was the idea that was selected to be put into production because it had the most direct and positive impact on the client’s experience.

My experience is valid

Like a lot of people these days, I experienced some imposter syndrome. I was a CS rep about to stand in front of the entire product team to tell them “hey, I found something broken and I think I know how to fix it!” Even though I was a little intimidated, I knew the design experience I had meant something and I wanted to show it off. Getting positive feedback from the team was incredibly rewarding and validating.