A rethinking of work scheduling and timesheet platforms to actually care about the workers, inspired by Justworks, and other cool platforms.
✎  Project Type: Case Study
⏱  Project Duration: 3 months
☺  Responsibilities: User Research (Interviews), User Journey Maps, Competitive Research, Wireframe, Prototype, Usability Study
Working as a staff in a newly open independent local bookstore in Lower East Side, New York, I deeply understand how much extra stress it is to create an efficient and considerate working schedule for everyone. Struggling with communication and gathering information, the store's staff and manager find it very difficult to make a collective effort in ensuring a balanced staff schedule while accommodating the store's operational needs.

Product Overview

Based on what we already use in the store to track work hours and scheduling shifts (such as Justworks, Google Sheet), I designed a worker-centric and collaborative platform to help our staffs and managers with planning shifts, anticipating workload and making the communications on availabilities and preferences easier.

Nobody wants to work, but the goal for
Timetable is to make sure that the process of work scheduling and hour tracking is at least stress-less, caring and collaborative. Ultimately it is to help workers improve their work-life balance.

Check out my prototype here,and Slide deck here
The Solution
How Might We
create a collaborative schedule-making process that helps those who are actually working (for example, the staff) to have a better work-life balance?
The Proccess
Define Research & Challenges
User interview, Empathy mapping, Pain Points, Competitive Audit
Ideate  Wireframes
Task Flow, User Journey, Sketches
Prototype  Validate✻
Prototypes, Usability Tests
Synthesis ✻
Affinity Maps
1. Define Research & Challenges ✻
Interview Findings
Local store staffs
who want to have more control over their boundaries and work-life balance.
Who are the users?
I conducted 4 interviews in the local bookstore with staffs and managers to learn about them and their needs, and here is what I found:
Local store managers
who want have a more collaborative platform to make schedules work for their staff and efficient for the store operations.
What are the user problems?
Lack of collaboration in the schedule making process
2  ∗
Changes of workload each week in the scheduling (such as event hours)
Hard to balance everyone’s hour expectation, availability or work preferences
Challenges from short staffing and shift switching

Notable Quotes:

❝ (I want that) it ‘s easy to let people know about my scheduling limitation.❞
❝ Accommodation is important, I can get burnt out.❞
❝ I don't dream about working, a job is just a job.❞
❝ Sometimes I do a second job, which leads to 6-7 days of work a week. I want to make sure I always have time to relax. I believe in doing nothing.❞

See interview notes here.

Empathy Map Highlights
After analyzing my interviews, I concluded 3 pain points that the store is currently expierencing while making schedules
☹ pain point 3 ☹
Staffs are worried about not having a say in the schedule making process, and losing boundaries for having their personal plans, while the managers are worried about unexpected short staffing.
☹ pain point 1 ☹
While making the schedule, both staffs and managers find it difficult to know about everyone’s hour expectation and preferences, as well as other factors that will affect workloads in order to schedule shifts accordingly.
☹ pain point 2 ☹
Due to lack of quick communication, staffs find it hard to have consistency in schedule, or to avoid unexpected shift changes.
Through my competitive analysis, I learned that most of these platforms provide complex scheduling features for the managers, but they are lacking of an approachable and welcoming experience for the staffs to contribute to the scheduling making process, therefore this would be what I wanted to focus on in my design.

Before starting my design process, I did a round of competitive audit to learn about the current work scheduling tool options: What are they doing well and not well? What kind of experiences are they (not) offering to both the staff and the managers?
User Journey Map
To understand what some important concerns are in the process of planning a work schedule collaboratively for the users, I created a User Journey Map centered around the staff perspective.
2. Ideate wireframes ✻
a confirmation message that their availability is being considered
Through the User Journey Map, I brain-stormed some main features that will help with the staff's needs during the process of making a schedules:
an option to sync personal and work calendars
an overall calendar that only shows the user's own shifts
a transparent display of potential shifts and shift trading options
Wireframe Skectching Process:
To determine if users can complete core tasks with the prototype of Timetable, and if it is difficult to use, I conducted 5 unmoderated usability studies.
3&4. Prototype Validate  & Synthesis
Analyzing the usability studies, I used Affinity Maps to find out what are some common difficulties and needs for changes.
Through Affinity Maps, I summarized these 4 adjustments to improve Timetable:

Final Product

staff view
➊ Homepage
capture all the things you need to know at one glance!
✻ plus managing your requests and timesheet ✻
manager view
staff view
manager view
➋ Calendar
Share inputs and coorperate on a selected date with the individualized calendar!
✻ trading shifts, giving up shifts, and submitting availability ✻
manager view
staff view
➌ Pick Up a Shift
✻ as a staff ✻
Create a Shift
✻ as a manager ✻
get a transparent view of available shifts and decide how much you would like to work

Visual System


This was my first ever UX design project. Coming from a fine art/photography background, through this project I have learned a lot of new things about user research and design. Although similar to my art practice, which is always centered around human subject and human affect, this design experience allowed me to learn how to respond to my subject's needs in a more direct and efficient way.

I started out the whole project somewhat freehand and went with my creative instinct sometimes, which I later realized made it difficult to organize and keep track on my design and thought process. Fortunately with the help of the Google UX Design Professional Certificate I learned to build a design system as well as a strategic plan to conduct research, testings and iterations more scientifically.

After all, it was a great experience for me to not only gain design and research skills, but also learn how to be creative in the realm of scientific methods and rigorous systems.