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BMO Learning Solutions
The desktop publishing group for BMO Learning Solutions needed an simple means of managing and disseminating thousands of training related documents. Where existing tools failed was in using a visual or thumb-nail based browsing metaphor as the primary means of locating files, which was irrelevant for text heavy training documents.
The desktop publishing group had no existing means of managing the files they developed for internal training programs. What they wanted was a flexible means of organizing information about the files (these included source files, graphics, pre-press files and final PDF files) that the different designers could easily locate and update. They also wanted a means of making final course-ware available to the people responsible for organizing training throughout the organization. Some of the addition issues they wished to address with the project were standardised file names, cross-platform compatible naming conventions, and remote access to information for offsite designers and customers.
I was first asked to analyse existing asset management tools and to determine which if any met the basic requirements gathered from key stakeholders. I delivered a report which outlined the available offerings, their strengths, weakenesses, and estimated cost to implement (factoring in multiple user licenses and information server set-up). It was decided that the best option available in terms of cost and functionality was a custom solution using FileMaker, consumer relational database software with an integrated web server. The custom solution had two interfaces to the data – through a desktop application and a custom web-based application.
I based the information design around the structure of the learning programs, which where organized first by program, then section, and finally by module which contained the files. In addition files were classified by a number of attributes which allowed for different groupings.
The primary functional requirements were to be able to browse and search by program, section, module or file attribute in addition to managing the attributes (create, edit or delete) of these entities. I developed user profiles to help determine user goals and the functionality each user type would require. So for example, where a designer’s primary goal was to manage information about files, their customer’s primary goal was to access specific files for use.