ParagonERP

Summary

I was the sole UX Designer of ParagonERP for 2 years while working at Jonar, in Montreal.  ParagonERP is a web-based Enterprise Resource Planning software, primarily serving small manufacturers and retailers. I used a wide range of processes to design and improve the software, including: wireframing, usability testing, card sorting, first-click testing and more. 

What’s an ERP? 

Enterprise Resource Planning applications are a category of software that help companies keep track of what’s happening at their business. Most ERPs provide features to keep track of accounting, human resources, manufacturing, warehousing and other needs depending on the type of business. 

Ever heard of SAP? When this was written in April 2020, they were the 3rd biggest software company in existence – mainly from selling ERP solutions.

My work on ParagonERP 

ParagonERP had already been designed and developed somewhat when I was hired at Jonar by a previous designer. I picked up the work, and continued designing new features, collaborating with the Managing Director, developers, testers and everyone else at the company. 

I brought a focus on UX research to Jonar, shifting the focus to decision making based on user research. 

Some of the features that I designed for ParagonERP include: 

  • A workflow automation tool ( e.g. build custom invoice behaviour) 
  • Data importing and exporting features 
  • A tool for designing custom data types 
  • New business documents ( e.g. for processing returns, orders etc). 
  • An accounting calendar 

I also made many improvements to existing features including: 

  • Business documents like invoices and billing 
  • Settings 
  • The general interface (primarily accessibility issues

Processes used 

I used a lot of different UX processes to design and improve ParagonERP. 

Some of these included: 

  • Wireframing 
  • Paper prototyping 
  • Affinity mapping 
  • Card sorting 
  • Analytics 
  • First-click testing 
  • Usability testing 
  • Designing with Sketch 

Typical design cycle 

While working at Jonar, we had an extremely agile process and developed features extremely rapidly. We often took in feature requests and had a developed solution within a matter of 2 weeks. Most features went through a design cycle similar to the following. However, it was quite flexible depending on what level of testing we needed.  

  • The Managing Director and I would discuss the need for a feature, based on the product roadmap or a feature request 
  • Depending on the complexity, we would either research possible solutions or start wireframing. 
  • Paper prototyping might be used to do some informal “hallway testing”. 
  • If the feature was larger, I’d do more thorough testing 
  • I’d make the design in Sketch and discuss it in feature meetings with developers and the Managing Director 
  • Adjustments would be made depending on requirements and feasibility 
  • The features would then be scoped and developed 
  • Improvements were added if any later usability problems emerged. 
An example of a wireframe that emerged from a meeting

Example screenshots