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I am working on a web application. To put it mildly it has issues. I have performed my stakeholder interviews and am towards the end of the contextual inquiry.

I have two different user types. The first are internal users and the second is external. For this question we can disregard the external. They are filling out a form and submitting it. It's only one form, 10 pages, but one form.

I'm getting to the questions.

The form, once it's submitted, can be placed into a bunch of different queues based on the answers to the question. There are also a large number of state laws that can vary the path of the form and the way it's handled.

The admins main role is not to use the system, but to correct the errors in the systems logic. So the queues I mentioned are lists of forms that the systems logic could not handle. These logic errors can be based on the geographical state rules or the company rules. This happens often enough to the point where there is about 20 lists. The geographical state laws change often enough to where new lists have to be created about 2-3 times a year.

I have been tasked with automating/upgrading this system from a UX standpoint. The solution I've come up with is to create a system that can change it's logic. So the rules are controlled by settings or preferences. So rather than create a list for errors, just make it so the user can fix the logic errors.

So finally, here's my question. How do I pull it off? Just trying to picture it gives me a headache.

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Changing the system logic seems like a better approach than dealing with forms that have errors. It's a bit hard to tell where to start without knowing the details but I would suggest starting with just listing all of the rules, settings so that you fully understand the scope of the problem. Once you know all of the components you could run a card sorting exercise with your internal users. Card sorting results could dictate how you will organize all of the settings/logic in preferences. If it is unavoidable that there will errors in the form and there is no chance for the settings to cover all of the exceptions, you could consider giving admins controls to update logic right when they go through the errors. For example, admin sees a form with an error in a field X, admin can quickly jump to field X in preferences and update it. To understand and organize information I sometimes use MindNode. It's useful to review it with others to brainstorm and make sure your system covered all of the components and their interactions.

  • Hi Anna. Thank you for your answer. I may have been unclear, the forms themselves don't have errors. It's the systems logic for processing the forms that contains the errors. However, I guess these aren't really errors as they are exceptions to the rules based on geographic state. The system currently has no way to deal with these exceptions and they change on a regular basis. So to fix the logic for today would only fix the system on a short term basis. – Johnny UX Sep 24 '14 at 20:51

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