JasperReports Server – Project process

Discovery phase – UX review & stakeholder interviews

As this was a well-established product, I conducted a ‘first impressions’ UX review to increase my familiarity and to exploit my initially ‘naïve’ perspective. I also made some initial recommendations.

I then conducted a series of insight-gathering interviews with stakeholders to identify known issues and priorities. These were recorded with Zoom and supported with note-taking.

Observations were prioritised according to frequency. Those that were raised with some consistency were clustered with affinity diagrams into themes.

Existing user interviews

It became apparent that the team had some existing user testing data that might be relevant. I listened to this material and re-analysed it in order to supplement the user insights we had. General observations, pain points and so on were clustered and prioritised with an affinity diagram.

Workflow through the product had been highlighted as an area of concern, so the workflows that users described were mapped in order to validate our assumptions about how people were using the product.

Competitor analysis

Stakeholders helped me to identify several key competitors, all of who were seen as having a superior user experience. These were Tableau, PowerBI and Sysense. I mapped the primary user flow through these products and compared them with our product.

Task analysis

I analysed tasks performed by each persona and the broader domain and customer context (goals for each persona and their business).


Key discoveries included:

  • Users were not presented with a clear and consistent mental model of what the application does and what steps to take when in order to achieve goals
  • The model was excessively complex: the separate creation of ‘Ad hoc views’ and ‘Reports’ was confusing and unnecessary
  • There was a lack of signposts and ‘accelerators’ for moving efficiently through the product, forcing users to return to the home screen and rely on memory
  • The dependency of some resources on others was not apparent

Stakeholder engagement

I reported the identified issues and observations back to the stakeholders, including some preliminary recommendations, identified which issues I could help with and highlighted the next steps I would take. I requested and gained their approval.

Redesign – quick enhancements to flow through the product

I proposed a set of ‘quick-win’ initial recommendations involving links once a step was complete, taking the user to the relevant next steps.

Redesign – simplify and clarify the mental model

I also proposed a simpler, more consistent mental model of broad application tasks and proposed used feedback from user testing to inform changes to terminology.

Redesign – simplify the mental model

Working closely with the lead developer, I recommended and helped define a simplification of the users’ mental model and task flow – removing the entire concept of the ‘visual’ (formerly called ‘ad hoc report’).

Iterative, user-centred design

Two variant designs were prototyped. Feedback from user proxies was used to select the one that was preferred and better understood, and to improve the design iteratively.


The initial phase of enhancements has been implemented and the second phase is part of the product roadmap.

Other features

Other aspects of the product I supported include:

  • Redesign of ‘cascading input controls’ (linked sets of filters on dashboards)
  • Design of ‘Drill-down’ and ‘Data details’ (data levels) and filtering controls on reports
Back to portfolio »