Create and send social monitoring report easily

If you are a consultant or if you simply send frequently reports to clients or managers, then you know how difficult and time consuming it is to create nice and effective reports. Send is a web based application that made it easy to create and share monitoring reports with clients. I designed it for the consulting and monitoring team of a company I used to work for.

Among other things, the company watches online conversations, publications and articles for its clients. As part of their mission, consultants sends daily, weekly and monthly reports to its customers.

Understanding consultants workflow and painpoints

I designed Send to ease the process of creating, sending and reading monitoring reports. The first part of the project was to understand how consultants and the team in charge of monitoring both work.

The first part of the project was to conduct interviews with the consulting and monitoring team. It allowed me to understand their work, their process and to identify the painpoints they encounter on a daily basis

Get rid of unecessary tools

Both teams were using a myriad of tools (more than 8) to gather data, create report assets (graphs, pictures etc.) and then send monitoring reports. So many tools made the process over complicated and time consuming. I mapped out all the tools used to determine which ones were essential. I wanted to simplify the report process and to underline the features the new tool should have.

Here are some screenshot of tools used to create a monitoring report (from Adobe PDF to social analytics tools).

A tedious and overcomplicated process

I was struck by the number and diversity of tools used in the creation of a report. They used simultaneously three or more social media analytics tool such as Talkwalker, Sysomos, and Mentions to ensure a good coverage of sources. The monitoring team then used excel to generate graphs and play with the figures. Then they had to screenshot their screen to use these in the powerpoint report etc. What a tedious process!

Defining clear objectives and scope

The research phase made it easier to define a scope for the project. Here are the main objectives of Send :

  1. diminish the use of different tools (excel, ppt, paint, etc.)
  2. automate and computerize as much as possible the process to reduce manual entries
  3. keep and save figures in time for later use or macro analysis
  4. ease interfacing process with social monitoring tools

These objectives implied naturally to make the process of creating and sending report less tedious and therefore more fun.

Designing the foundations for a usable interface

Ensuring consultant could achieve task easily

As soon as we were all at the same page concerning the objectives, I started working on userflows and how to achieve tasks in the tool. I worked on different directions which I validated or invalidated with the teams. Here are some frequent tasks consultant and monitoting team can do in Send :

  • Create clients profile
  • Update a client settings
  • Create new reports
  • Edit and write a report
  • Import data source in report
  • Generate a test report
  • Send a final report
  • ...

Update a client settings

When a client is setup in Send, you can still edit its settings easily. These include preferences such as colors for the graph, criterias to determine if a social source is influent or not, if the report should include specific measure etc.

Userflow to update a client parameter

Create and save a new report

This is the main feature of the tool. It should be evident and easy to do as well as very accessible. Each report is attached to a client and has a specific date range ( a day, a week etc.) Without these parameters the report cannot be created. Then the user enter the edition interface and can add text, graph, image, data sources, links, topics analysis etc...

User flow to create a new report

Sketching the interface and modules

Once we validated navigation principles with teams and managers and we were satisfied with the workflows, I started to work on the user interface itself. I love to start with a low fidelity sketch and then refine it to communicate with teams and provide a common understanding. I quickly jumped onto Axure to create an interactive prototype in order to test dynamically the tool and validate all the principles.

Making Send accessible
and desirable

With the skeleton and the prototype validated and tested, I worked on the User Interface. I wanted to keep the interface simple and minimal, yet colorful as well as playful and attractive. Colors quickly inform the user what he/she can interact with and where the important pieces of information can be found.

A card based interface for a quick overview

The homepage lists all the reports as cards. They are chronologically ordered starting with the last one created and still in edition mode. Each card has the clients name, the report title and some metadata. As reports title can be the same for different clients ("Weekly social monitoring" for instance), the client name is treated as the most distinguishable information.

A powerful and delightful report editor

Here is the main interface, where teams spend most of their time creating the report. I worked on drag and drop interaction which seems the most evident and easy way to handle online report composition. The report is build as a succession of modules (graph, text, image, topics etc.). Thanks to the drag and drop, the edition is less tedious and more fun.

Importing csv file from data monitoring software

Social monitoring reports includes topics and conversation analysis. To ease the process of selecting and including links of tweet, articles, status etc into the report, we worked on csv upload feature. Teams can import a csv file from monitoring tools such as Talkwalker and choose which links to display - directly in Send.

When it's manual, it should be fun

Obviously, everything can’t be automated and sometimes users have to manually enter data, or copy and paste some text. As it can’t be avoided, I created an interface which make it easy and pleasant to add information. My overall goal was to make an application which is both esthetically pleasant and practically useful.

The end

Thanks for your reading