Design tweaks for improved usability

Apparently minor design tweaks such as carefully chosen colors and design patterns can have a high impact on the usability of a product. A part of my work at MicroStrategy involves identifying such issues and proposing low cost – high impact solutions.

Drag and drop of visualizations

MicroStrategy analytics lets users create a dashboard with multiple visualizations. User can drag and drop these visualization within the dashbaord to rearrange or organize it.

My job was to come up with a low cost – high impact work to improve the usability of drag and drop of visualizations.


My first step was just identifying problems with the current interaction design, through a mixture of user testing and heuristic evaluation based on design principles.


  1. Mis-indication that a viz will move even when it remains in place
  2. Sub-optimal visual design – colors, placement of lines, etc.
  3. Other minor bugs based on user-testing

These are some of the designs I proposed to fix these issues:

Design proposal 1: Clearer indication that a visualization will stay in place

Drag and drop light in-place

Design proposal 2a: Color and design of the visual indicators for light background

Drag and drop light blue

Design proposal 2b: Color and design of the visual indicators for dark background
Alternating black-yellow-black for optimal contrast and visibility.

Drag and drop dark yellow