YOUniverse scheduling

UX research and design for the YOUniverse roster module

Across 2018-2019 I worked on various refinements and new features for YOUniverse’s rostering module.

The purpose of YOUniverse’s roster was to provide modern, cloud-based tools for roster managers to streamline and improve their rostering process, efficiently manage time and attendance and ensure pay compliance. It also provided tools for employees to be notified of their shifts and communicate with their team about shifts (eg. notify of attendance issues, organise shift swapping).

When developing features we also aimed to benefit employees through helping to ensure fair payment, and facilitating roster managers to create more stable and fairer schedules.

The YOUniverse roster was particularly focused on hospitality and retail environments (with hourly workforces), but towards the end of my incumbency we also were looking at customising the experience to also work efficiently for new contexts including banking and event-based rosters.

Work overview

My role started with heuristic evaluation of the existing interface, refining the workflows and UI consistency throughout main roster editing screens (whilst curating for our design system), and then moved into deeper user research and design for richer roster functionality, including optimisation. These were the main areas covered:

More efficient roster UI and workflows

Making it quicker for roster managers to create and manage their rosters by making the main screen easier to read, more scannable and more customisable. Providing more immediate feedback via summary reports up front, and quick links into frequently-used details screens (eg. available employees, employee contact information).

Roster feature enhancement

I worked on many new features that were focused on delivering on our mission of facilitating the virtuous cycle between customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and operational performance (the 'good jobs strategy'). These included features to assist in optimising for the most fair and efficient rosters, ensuring employees are paid fairly (checking against awards, alerting when there are compliance issues), shift-filling based on skills, and a shift marketplace.

AI assisted rosters

We built features into our roster to help hourly workforces optimise to meet service customer demand, ensuring the right people in the right place at the right time (and at the right price). These tools made it easy to automate all or parts of the roster creation process and to adjust and monitor performance.

Role & team context

My role

UX research and UI design:

  • UI/UX design—researching, designing, testing and documenting designs and interactions
  • Identifying and extracting patterns and organising them into a UI kit / design library to encourage consistency and efficient re-use
  • Writing and editing design system documentation in Confluence
  • Supporting the developers, through design support

The team

I worked with a team that included:

  • Product team—workshopping, storymapping, prioritising components to work on next
  • Sales executives—testing roster optimisation scenarios and targeting new audience groups (eg. banking)
  • Customer experience—refining existing features to accommodate customer requirements
  • A team of local developers—I provided design support and just-in-time design refinements for ‘edge roster’ cases as they came up (for eg: as we learnt new things about how the algorithms worked)

Read more about my process for YOUniverse roster design

General UI improvements

Roster managers often have a lot on their plate, so our goal was to streamline and improve the routine parts of the rostering process so that they could focus on nurturing their business.

We also wanted to make it easy for them to create rosters that are both compliant and flexible, so they could trust that they have the best people on the job, at the right place and time.

Updated roster UI

The foundation for the updated roster UI included improvements such as:

  • Accessibility improvements
  • Helpful report previews / summaries throughout (that link into deeper business analytics elsewhere in the app)
  • Business intelligence and content summaries on main dashboard providing quick links into further detailed information
  • More grouping and search options to help roster managers easily scan through and quickly find things amongst large quantities of data
  • More customisation options

(Click through on image to view a larger diagram with more details)

Expanded navigation

Roster action bar

To make room for contextual report summaries, many of the context switching actions were moved into an action bar at the side.

  • These actions were then grouped and ordered to guide roster managers through typical workflows
  • It allowed us to introduce new features into the flow such as roster optimisation
  • The bar could be displayed as shortcut icons - to maximise screen real estate for week and month views - or pinned open (illustrated here) when more guidance is needed

New roster screen
Slide-out details panel expanded (employee detail preview)

Details panel

Roster managers could quickly access relevant details for anything on the main screen to help them with their rostering eg. employee information, shift details, summary reports for the day or week. And from the panel they could easily access more detail in other related parts of the system where they needed more information.

Timesheet refinement

The timesheet was updated to make faster to complete and easier to see discrepancies and incomplete tasks

Timesheet prototype
AboveTimesheet main screen

The timesheet redesign aimed to create more flexibility to complete timesheets faster via bulk approval and more easily view and resolve any compliance issues or discrepancies. Some of the new features included:

  • Clearer completion statuses - with an overview of complete and incomplete tasks in the header
  • Options to complete bulk approvals by day, week or custom selections
  • Inline editing for quicker data entry
Timesheet detail view
AboveTimesheet with detail panel opened


Contact me on the details below if you'd like to learn more details regarding features such as roster optimisation, rosters for banking, budget planning tools and more.

Also see the mobile app case study to learn about how the roster was incorporated into our inaugural mobile app for employees.