To comply with my confidentiality agreement I have omitted and appropriated confidential information. The information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of Excelar Technology and the BC Tech Association. The designs are a reinterpretation of the original.
BCTechBase is an interactive database of over 3,000 companies and investors from across the province of British Columbia. It integrates all public information related to the local technology industry into a single platform, providing key data insights.
It was created to showcase the progress of local tech companies and improve their ability to attract global capital and talent. By bringing together the BC Tech community to share data openly, the BC Tech Association aims to help startups grow into anchor companies and amplify the BC tech community's profile globally.
I worked collaboratively with the talented team at Excelar Technologies, including the project manager and developers. I acted as the UX consultant and UI Designer, providing all the deliverables related to the first phase of this project.
One of the biggest challenges with any data analytics is maintaining accurate and up-to-date datasets. With thousands of members, from start-ups to tech giants, the BC Tech Association has an abundance of datasets, but they are often fragmented, conflicting, outdated, or stored in different formats. As a result, the association called for a channel to consolidate and interpret these datasets into meaningful information that the technology community can leverage.
Collected data and insights are only useful if they are easily accessible. The tech association is in need of something that allows the community to quickly browse, search, and filter information, data, or insights with ease.
This project was divided into 2 phrases. As our team was given about 2 months to complete the first phase of this project, I was tasked to deliver a high-fidelity mockup in 2 weeks' time. Since this was a freelance project I took on in addition to my full-time job, a tight 2-week timeline meant I needed to get the experience right from the start. Before we could begin designing, we needed to identify the users and their needs.
While the BC Tech Association can provide member datasets, how can they become meaningful information? Our team approached the local tech community for answers. We gathered feedback by talking directly to companies, from start-ups and mid-sizes to tech giants. We also talked to investors, tech talents, service providers, and policy-makers.
The results we gathered from the community allowed us to identify the users and their goals for using the platform.
BC has cultivated one of the most thriving tech startup communities in the world. To realize the full potential as a truly competitive top ten player, the community needs data and insights to guide them – to track the progress of companies, attract global capital and talent, and benchmark versus other leading companies and ecosystems. By bringing together the BC Tech community to share data openly, we can raise the game of the companies and amplify the community's profile globally.
With the users and goals set, we outlined the features necessary to be included in the platform. Due to a tight deadline, the 1st phrase of the project would only focus on Dashboard and Directory.
See aggregate high-level trends of companies including: top BC companies, recent financings and acquisitions, and average revenue and employee growth.
Search for companies and people, and apply filters to find exactly what and who you are looking for.
View the profiles of companies, people and investors to connect to. Search employees, social media links to easily connect.
Pull a range of insightful reports including employee size, revenue range, financings, sector, and age.
A place to help users connect with tech professionals by facilitating mentorship. Users can filter their mentor search to find the most suitable mentor and connect via the provided LinkedIn contact.
Continuous funding is necessary for ongoing maintenance, support, and developing new features. BC Tech members can subscribe to a premium service offering exclusive features.
The available datasets on their own were scattered and fragmented. Our team used a top-down approach to focus on classifying them into categories and subcategories.
We then mapped the data into possible tables, charts, and graphs to determine if they would provide valuable insights to user needs.
With extremely limited time, we decided to quickly explore different layouts suitable for a data-intensive platform on a whiteboard. We mainly focused on the Dashboard and Directory features to get started.
Our team used Axure RP to create an interactive concept, allowing us to demonstrate user scenarios to gain feedback and approval from the client early on in the project. It also let our team promptly begin the initial round of usability testing.
Through usability testing using the interactive concept, we identified and consolidated user flows. I then began working on the high-fidelity mockups, while our developers began development of the prototype at the same time.
I designed a set of detailed mockups to define the typography, colors, icons, and styling of elements for our developers to implement into a prototype. These mockups also helped us showcase the platform to the client before an interactive prototype was completed.
I worked collaboratively with our development team to consistently review and provide suggestions for the prototype, to ensure it was on par with the expectations that had been set with earlier concepts presented to the client previously.
Building the BCTechBase also created a solid foundation for later projects such as TECNABase and AZTechBase. These projects were an extension of the original project, aiming to introduce the platform to other provinces or states in North America, and possibly to other parts of the world.