Muscle X

A story about improvement.


Three UX Designers


Interaction designer responsible for participating in research, creating journey maps, task analysis, wireframes


Research, wireframes, journey maps, task analysis


Balsamiq, PowerPoint


This is a story about improvement and re-evaluation. A UX driven redesign exercise where the goal was to design our existing product from the ground up while having UX at the core of every decision made, rather than driven by technical limitations.

The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.

– John Locke

To acknowledge where you are, and where you want to be, is essential to growth and improvement. This project will be referred to as “Muscle X”, an appliance that backs up data. Since this is an already existing product, we had to evaluate the current functionality as well as interview users of the product to better understand what needs to be improved.

This is what we know about the persona, the backup admin, who uses Muscle X…


After understanding our persona, the next step was defining the goal of the research.

  • To understand the gap between the user interface and the command line interface because having the customer jump between the two experiences is not simple
  • To simplify appliance management because complexity is not appealing to customers and our users
  • Give them a user interface with all of the information they need, as well as recommendations on what decisions they should make


My teammate Steph, an interaction designer, and Linlin, a user researcher, and I conducted the interviews, which helped us identify what needed to be improved in Muscle X.

Questions top of mind were:

  1. What features or functions are important to users?
  2. What information would be helpful on the dashboard to help you make decisions?
  3. What are the biggest issues in the current product?
Stephanie and me ready to dive into user research.

We had 60 minute 1:1 remote interviews with three key informants: two Sales Engineers and one Support champion.They both have hands-on experience with the product and have insight into what the backup admin needs.

We had them perform a sorting exercise using predefined objects, as well as, customized objects that they can group together to create their take on the ideal information architecture.

After conducting our background research, we did journey maps, task analysis, object model, site maps which helped and guided us to create wireframes.


We created two journey maps based on the user’s experience with initial configuration and day to day management.

Initial configuration

Day to day management


Based on the product life cycle we identified the tasks and specifically the tasks that would happen multiple times.

Tasks in the product life cycle

After each exercise, we utilized the resources to create concepts. We used Balsamiq to create low fidelity wireframes of three key screens: dashboard, details page, and details popup.


The three concepts were explored:

Graphics by Blush


My teammates and I created a PPT deck of our proposed designs to present to the PM of Muscle X as well as the head of Product Management.

Our presentation consisted of 3 parts:

  1. Why are we doing the redesign?
  2. What does the redesign look like?
  3. What’s next?

The presentation went very well and the message was well received. Unfortunately due to the lack of resources this entire project was unable to be prioritized. On the bright side, the stakeholders understood that this is the direction that the product should take in the future and supported to implement the designs.


This project reiterated the value of improvement. It is essential to re-evaluate past work to see how it can be improved. Learning from past decisions and the results of those decisions, will help make an improved version even better in the future. This lesson can be applied to all aspects of life.

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