Collaborative Community Platform for Developers: Empowering Nokia Developers to generate content and share knowledge seamlessly.

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My Role:
Project Overview
During my time at Nokia with the Network Infrastructure team, I led a key design project to improve user experience and developer collaboration. I redesigned the community section of Nokia's Developer Portal Website, addressing engagement and collaboration challenges. Restricted by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), I am unable to disclose detailed information about the project.
The community section had a lengthy page of feature updates and code examples, but wasn't a space for developers to engage in a community setting. A community section is generally a platform that allows people to connect with each other, share information and ideas, and collaborate on projects. However, this community section did not serve that purpose.
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Constraints I had to account for
1. Had a tight deadline of 6 weeks to design, develop, test and implement: Aligning my design roadmap with the development roadmap was crucial. Negotiations with the developer and product manager were necessary to ensure a solution that meets both user goals and business requirements and is implemented within the six-week timeframe.
2. Align the new design to the existing visual design standards: While I was creating a completely different information architechture, I had to create something that was consistent with the rest of the site.
3. Limited access to end-users: I met with users at the start to understand their pain points, but couldn't test the final solution due to time limits. Instead, I based my decisions on thorough external research, heuristic analysis, and team input.
Discovery + Feature Ideation
I began my research by talking to a few end users to grasp how they use the community platform. They mentioned visiting the community section to discover useful code examples posted by fellow developers but often struggle to find relevant information due to a lack of search options. Additionally, they find it challenging to engage with fellow developers for discussions and queries.
My next step was to conduct a competitive analysis to identify how the big tech companies like Apple, Google, Meta, Oracle, Microsoft, etc., design their developer community platforms.
Next, I combined insights from my research and listed a range of potential features that aimed to enhance collaboration and improve the overall user experience of the community platform.
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After conducting a detailed analysis with the UX design team, product managers, and developers, we narrowed down our focus to two main ideas. The first idea is to create a blog-style hub for knowledge sharing, and the second is to develop a discussion forum to increase developer engagement. While integrating gamification features seemed promising, it would have required more time than we had available. Rapidly implementing them might not have brought significant value to the platform. As a result, we decided to prioritize the blog-style hub and discussion forum as it was feasible within our project's timeframe.
Adding 'User Stories' as a feature
I added a feature called "User Stories," which works like posts on Reddit or Stack Overflow. Developers can interact with these stories by liking, commenting, replying, and saving them. This feature directly addresses the issue mentioned by end users during the initial stages of my design process, where they found it challenging to engage with fellow developers for discussions and queries. By providing a platform for these interactions, "User Stories" makes it easier for developers to share knowledge, ask questions, and collaborate effectively. Here is the information architechture I formulated for this new feature-
After careful consideration, I concluded that starting with a blog-style hub coupled with a discussion forum would initiate engagement effectively. By creating this hub, developers could easily share insights, improving knowledge exchange and fostering stronger collaboration. h
Decision 1: Two-Column Layout
To start, the web page had a clear two-column setup that helped make the content balanced and the overall web page easier to use. This layout provides users with an organized and easy-to-understand design that suits how they look for information, making their tasks quicker. One major reason for this change was to create a clear hierarchy and spotlight important parts, guiding users to what matters most. Another reason was to give flexibility to future designers so they can arrange content freely without being tied to a basic layout. h
Decision 2: Cards for enhanced content division
The second design decision centred around crafting cards that offer ample whitespace and encompass all the necessary information crucial for developers. Rather than placing two cards in a single row, I opted for a layout where each row features just one card. This strategy was chosen to provide developers with a clear and uncluttered visual experience, ensuring that they can readily access all the essential details they require. h
Decision 3: Tri-fold searching approach
This approach was implemented to facilitate precise content discovery. Firstly, an adjacent search bar was integrated, complemented by filtering alternatives, and finally, sorting options positioned at the top. This combination of searching tools works better for finding content compared to just using a search bar. It's also a widely recognized and commonly used technique in the industry for efficient content searching, therefore it is a more intuitive method, making the website easy to use. h
What Did I Learn?
1. Collaboration in a large team: I gained insight into the design process in a large company like Nokia. This experience equipped me with the ability to engage in productive teamwork, effectively assimilating constructive input from various individuals and integrating it into my design work.
2. Negotiation: I honed my negotiation skills, delving into the intricacies of my designs, estimating implementation timelines for release schedules.
3. Communication: I refined my communication proficiency, adeptly conveying concepts by incorporating detailed annotations, thereby minimising any potential ambiguity for my target audience during presentations.