Designing a Tool for Improved Decision Documentation in Collaborative Projects
Abstract: When working in collaborative projects with team members with different expertises, often from different companies, communicative and collaborative challenges that obstructs decision-making can arise due to team members having different objectives. In order to avoid problems and conflicts, good documentation of decision related information is required. The project was performed at Yolean AB, a company that provides a digital tool for visual planning which is used by many companies within the construction industry, and the project was carried out with a human-centered design approach. The decision-making process during the design phase of construction projects was explored through both observations and interviews, investigating what challenges and needs existed regarding the handling of decisions in collaborative projects. The user study findings showed that even though there are specific decision-making meetings, decisions are also made during other meetings such as focus meetings, creating a gap in cohesive and proper documentation of the decisions made. The decision-making meetings are often ineffective since not all decisions are properly prepared, and time consuming discussions arise during the decision-making meetings. Through three iterations, a feature in Yolean, the digital tool for visual planning, was designed and evaluated, to meet the needs and requirements found during the user study. The aim of the design was to facilitate the documentation of both the decision-making meetings and the focus meetings, and the final design includes two different kinds of meeting pages in Yolean, one for decision-making meetings and one for focus meetings. Both types of meetings are thereby documented within Yolean, which will give the design manager better control over all decisions made throughout the construction projects. The project resulted in an interactive prototype that was designed and tested through scenario-based testing on both design managers, which are the potential users, and on users without previous experience of Yolean. Both the user studies and the user tests had to be adapted to be performed remote over video calls. The tests showed that the design was easily understandable and had good usability, and would both make decisions better documented and easier to find, and the meetings more effective.
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