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UX Case Study

An Optimal HR System

How did I help reduce the time it takes to review "Leave Requests" ?


UX/UI Designer


Mar - Aug 2021


Web-based App


MEU Solution

Project Index

  • 1

    About Project: What is this project?

  • 2

    Problem Statements: Why we start? The Problems & Challenges.

  • 3

    The Goals: Project Targets & User Targets

  • 4

    Role / Timeline: Project Responsibility

  • 1

    Desk Research: Collect & analyze from online resources

  • 2

    Quantitative Research: Get key insights from user's surveys

  • 3

    Qualitative Research: Interview target users or focus groups with a list of prepared questions

  • 1

    Persona: Analyze some representatives of focus groups about his/her Frustrations & Goals

  • 2

    Empathy Map: What they says/does/feel/thinks and their Pains & Gains

  • 3

    User Journey Map: Figure out user's Pain points & Touch points

  • 4

    Competitor Analysis: (if required)

  • 1

    HMW: feasible solutions for researched pain points

  • 2

    IA: Project Hierarchy

  • 3

    User-flow: Visualize the project flows

  • 1

    Wire-frame (Low/High): Before the final screens

  • 2

    Style-guild / Visual Design: Colors, Typography, Icon, UI Element, ...

  • 3

    Prototype & Mockups Interactive demo, Presentation

  • 1

    Usability Test: A/B testing, Eyes tracking, survey, analytics,...

  • 2

    Learned & The Result: Achieve the target goals & What the team have learned


About HRM System

In this post, I will share about one of the case studies about "Leave Page" in HRM System, where I and my team achieved to help the HR department to simplify HR processes and save their time.

About the whole project. Our team previously had experience in developing Enterprise Resource Management software (ERP) for a real estate client (this ERP includes HRM and many other applications like: Intranet, CRM, Dynamic Processes, Task Management, and other satellite projects). Since then, Team product has worked with PMs and POs to rebuild ideas and product roadmaps for an independent HRM product from that previous ERP according to the Agile process.

  • The traditional HRM processes is really a big challenge for companies with a large number of employees.

  • The current HR applications are still not optimized and diverse in features to meet management needs.

  • During the development process, many times the team has to face between user experience and technology feasibility.

  • Reduce complex processes to simple for Office People.

  • Through surveys and interviews to understand the features required for an HRM system.

  • Balance project resources by setting a priority list every month (2 sprints) for features of the entire HRM system.

Screenshots of the old "Leave Page" in the previous ERP System

Eye tracking insight

When using the old "Leave Page", we see that users have to turn their eyes a lot to view the whole information which may causes eye-strain.

Eyetracking for the old "Leave Page"

How did we survey?

Understanding the target group of users that the system will serve through the survey is also a good thing, right?

After understanding the overall goal of the entire project. In the first sprint, we conduct user surveys to get a project overview of the context, focus groups, required features, user insights, and more.


Survey Participants


Interview Participants

Quantitative Refection

Key Insights

After the survey, we got some key information.

  • Age rangeThe main Vietnamese working age (25-30)

  • GenderMainly female officers

  • ChannelWord / Excel, Traditional Papers, Gmail, Outlook,..

  • Features Payrolls, Recruitment, Leave Requests, OT, Staff Management,..

Let's Interview

After having focus groups, we need to understand more about user issues. Therefore, the Team conducted different interviews for each target feature in the entire HRM system, at different times.

Below is the process of interview for the "Leave page" features. Interviewers selected from the focus groups will be asked the same questions when dealing with things related to the "Leave" processes. In addition, The team also took advantage of the old HRM (in the previous ERP system) to ask interviewers to complete some tasks. Then, we analyzed their Touch-points, Eye-tracking & Difficulties interacting with that old one for remaking a better "Leave page".

Interview Reflection

  • 7/7

    Successfully created a leave request.

  • 6/7

    Don't know how much leave they have left for different types of company leave.

  • 5/7

    Find it boring because they have to click too many times through different tabs in the current "Leave page".

  • Don't know how many days of paid leave left that i have

  • How are my Leave Requests? my current leave request is accepted or not?

  • Visualize the parameters of different Leave types

  • Solve the problem of leave application status

Time to Define

User Persona

Nam Bình 25 Male ▪ HR Staff ▪ Single

"Human resource management needs to be smarter and more efficient by applying technology products" Binh is an HR officer of a technology company. He has quite a headache with outdated human resource management processes. He wishes to easily solve the processes of working with HR through the use of an optimized HRM system.

  • For some short-term leave applications, I also have to look at each application in detail before it is approved.

  • People applying for leave in the same time frame, which is an inadequacy for the overall performance of the company.

  • Lack of interaction in work between colleagues when they didn't know the leave status of each other.

  • 'Fast approval of leave requests' feature.

  • "Conflict warning" with Leave Applications whose leave time frame overlaps with other colleagues.

  • "Leave Schedule" feature for company members

Empathy Map - A Story of Nam Bình

User Journey Map

UJM - "Approval of leave requests"

Competitors Audit

Learning about other companies' current products would be more effective when bringing our HRM products to market.

  • B***.VN CompanyA formidable competitor to us, they provide a wide range of solutions for businesses not only about HRM
  • The other 2 companies are less competitive, because the system is set up quite old, so the interface is a bit outdated, mainly in the form of tables and tabs.

Competitor Analysis

Ideate it now!

How might we ?

  • 1 UI page for all "Leave" features to remove tabs and visualize the information immediately when the user clicks on the "leave" page
  • "Leave Type (paid/unpaid)" section by using pie charts for different types of company leave. In addition, applying Zeigarnik Effect to show the number of leave types the user has used during the year.
  • "Fast approval of leave requests" Button. In some cases just 1 click is enough, it will be a big problem when HR is faced with too many leave requests and they have to click on every single one to accept it.
  • Colorize the status of leave applications, so users don't have to wonder about the review status of your leave requests.
  • Leave schedule in the company section to connect company members and provide flexibility in allocating work.

Userflow - "Fast approval of leave requests"


To review an employee's leave application request, HR people have to spend a lot of time to deal with hidden information in the tab and having to click too many times.

  • 1 clickon Tab, to reach "List of employees who need to be approved for leave"

  • 1 clickon Element, to view the details of each leave request

  • 1 clickon Button, to make a decision to accept or reject the leave request or forward it to another manager to check.


Everything is visible on one page, no more tabs - no more hidden information. Place accept/decline buttons right next to each employee's leave request and still allow them to click on element to view details if needed.

  • 1 clickon Button, to make a decision to accept or reject the leave request

Information Architecture

IA - Leave Request page

Draw & Touch

Visual Design

Color palette



Major Third (1.25)

UI Components

30+ elements

Grid & Spacing

8pt-grid / 12 Columns

Lowfield wireframe

Our team uses the quick paper wireframe to bring speed and convenience when working in the agile software development process. When things can change in a flash as required by the stackholder, iteration and adjustment is a must.

The Results

Achievements & Learned

At this stage, The team conducts Usability Testing such as: A/B testing, Heuristic Testing,... to bring users a stable sample product and minimize basic errors.

Got the prototype done. The HRM product in general and the "Leave page" in particular, is brought to a sample users to experience for getting feedbacks, From which the Team continues to iterate and make other improvements.

New "Leave Page" - Gestalt principles / UX Laws applied

  • 3x fasterwhen 3 tabs information is combined into one page
  • High component reusability when developingthis is very useful for developers when developing follow-up pages with similar concepts like: Overtime or workday confirmation page
  • Eliminate Heuristic errorsincrease recognition and contextual language synchronization for buttons and display status when the user has manipulated.
  • Graph informationcreate good attention and immediately inform users about the number of days off instead of having to look up in a table like in the old system.

New Eye-tracking testing

Eyetracking for the new "Leave Page"

Finally, Through eye tracking, we see that users can quickly scan through clearly hierarchical content as well as have a greater focus on CTA buttons than in the old system. Moreover, all information is presented clearly to increase work efficiency for HR and do not have to redeem too much as well as find hidden information behind tabs.

the result is extremely worthy. Compared to the old version of HRM, this new version of HRM which is re-designed according to the needs of the users, received a lot of love, not only for the UI but also for the way it works. It really saves the HR department time.

My Takeaways

For office workers, there are so many requests that need to be handled on a daily basis. Reducing clicks by placing a review button right next to each claim or cut off the tabs sounds simple. However, it is really a nightmare for HR to go through more than a dozen leave requests every day, when it is completely unnecessary to go through each application in detail when only applying for 1 shift leave or the period of leave does not conflict much with other applications.

A small change will have a big impact, consider choosing the most suitable instead of choosing the best. We often teach each other about user experience (UX), but it is users in their own circumstances that will teach us how to solve the system's current problems. Empathy creates high efficiency without making users think much when using the product. In addition, it is important to consider the potential trade-off between financial/technological resources in product design.


Button group


Faster without tabs


clicks over 4 months