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Case Study: Settings Alignment

UI/UX Design

When I first started designing Sync, the intent was that it would be an app used by individual presenter users as a way to add more engagement to their individual presentations. Once we started working with Freeman and providing Sync to events, it was now supporting hundreds of presenters and presentations. Necessary updates have been made to accommodate the change and with proper training, Sync can currently meet the needs of a large-scale events . However, from my perspective, Sync's admin UI is still trying to catch up to the change in intended use of the application.


There are actually two problems that I would love to solve with this update. 1) On-site Technicians are changing settings that they're not supposed to during a live Event. 2) If a setting has been changed for an individual Session or Sub-session, there's no communication in place to alert the appropriate user(s).


Clearly and quickly communicate to all Sync users which individual Session's or Sub-session's settings are out of alignment with the Event's default settings.

Event Settings = Default Settings

In Sync, The Event is created first. Therefore, it sets the default settings for all Sessions and Sub-sessions created within that Event. If a setting is changed at the Event-level, then (after confirmation by the user) that setting is updated accordingly for all Sessions and Sub-Sessions within the Event. As an example, if the client initially wanted Chat turned on for all Sessions within their Event, but halfway through the Event they were receiving too many complaints about it being distracting, they could then turn off Chat for all remaining Sessions within that Event.

So, how can we better communicate to the user the current state of their Event's settings? I like the idea of displaying an alert directly below the setting that is out of alignment. This alert should include the count of Sessions/Sub-sessions that are currently out of alignment with the default state.

Session/Sub-session Settings

In addition to the alert message being displayed at the Event-level, a similar alert message is to be displayed alongside the corresponding individual Session/Sub-session setting that is out of alignment.

Connect the Dots

Displaying alert text is a nice step in the right direction for communicating current states to users, but if a user doesn't need to directly access specific settings, then they'll not see the alert. So in addition to the alert text, small red dots are to be placed on list items and on tabs to draw the attention of the user and lead them to the appropriate settings page so that they can, at least, see the issue. The red dots would remain in place as long as the setting(s) is out of alignment.

Sync Red Dots Example

Yet another victim of the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly shifted the priorities of the development team and this was moved to the back burner. However, I'm very glad to have had the opportunity to explore Sync's admin in this way.

Copyright © 2020, Jeremy Billups