Research of a Misunderstood Feature

A desktop computer uses label design software to create and print a warning label.

Design Ops

This project is part of a larger desktop software design epic.

(2 weeks)


Users wanted a way to make lots of documents with consistent formatting. Strangely, most users did not grasp the concept of using a template (in any software).

  • As a workaround, many users developed the habit of overwriting previous files with new content.
  • Furthermore, to prevent formatting changes, some of our customers were restricting software access to certain users.
One customer resorted to locking up computer hardware inside metal cabinets to prevent users from modifying file formatting.


Discover why the existing templates feature is not being used.


First, I did heuristic analysis of the existing feature. I found that:

  • The workflow for using the template editor was unnecessarily complex.
  • The template editor was visually similar to the document editor.
  • Template files had to be opened in a third editor to be used, and the UI was not intuitive.
User flow illustration of the current implementation.
Using templates in the existing system involved a complex user flow.
Screenshot of label template software.
Template editor
Screenshot of label design software.
Document editor

Then, I benchmarked the existing feature’s workflow with a usability test. I had participants score the existing product using the System Usability Scale (SUS). I also developed a color-coded chart that converted the score into a letter grade.

Unsurprisingly, the existing design scored 45.17% (F).

System Usability Scale Scoring Curve
I devised this chart to match a System Usability Score (SUS) with a letter grade.


I presented my findings in a stakeholder design studio. We determined:

  1. The existing template feature was unusable and unsalvageable.
  2. To fit the mental model of our users, the feature would have to redesigned such that documents and templates are synonymous.
  3. Any redesigned feature would need to accommodate workflows for both solo users and teams.

See my Document Editor Redesign case study for the final solution.

Stakeholder workshop whiteboard, saved from Miro.
Design studio notes, diagrams, and decisions were captured in realtime using Miro.