Third Interactive Prototype

Problem Statement

Our goal is to design a solution that personalizes information about a large group of people, specifically, for tasks that a user would currently use a "Mail Merge." For example, if a college wanted to send out a letter to all prospective students, but personalize each letter, they would need to use a program that sent out identical letters with personalized fields. The current program that most people use for this task is Microsoft Word, where this function is unintuitive and difficult to learn. We will design a better system that accomplishes this task.

Solution Overview

The solution that our team designed emphasized matching the user's concept model through a revised sidebar in Word. Users know that preparing the data for the mail merge is necessary. Our design introduces a "data collection" which serves as a database specific to a mail merge. This allows the user not only to prepare the data all in one place but also to use the same data for multiple merges. From interviews, we determined that users then try to insert fields within the document (usually a letter or sheet of labels). Our new sidebar allows users to see what fields are available to insert. It also allows the user to preview and edit the merge at will and eliminates the 'merge' as a separate (unnecessary) step. Our solution allows users to jump wherever they would like in the process of the mail merge. It provides flexible output options and the ability to put conditions on the merge in an approachable manner.