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Powerhouse List Page

Enabling users to be amazing at their jobs

Powerhouse List Page

The list page is the backbone of the Relativity platform. It is the base from which everything else is built, yet outdated functionality and poor organization keep it stuck as a merely an entry point. In 2020, we set out to transform the list from a static display of information to a high performing workflow-driver.

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After working for several years on Analytics, I was provided an opportunity to switch products and expand my role. In July of 2020 I joined the Search vertical where I have helped build the team, define the vision, and influence the roadmap. The foundations of this vision are:

  1. Powerhouse List Page - Update the table component from a static display of information to a dynamic workflow-driver

  2. Simply Powerful Search - Reduce the barrier to entry and increase confidence by streamlining core workflows, seamlessly integrating advanced functionality, and humanizing querying language

  3. Instant Insights - Extend users' abilities by leveraging AI and ML to surface key insights and provide contextualized assistance

The project is still in the early stages, but it is some of the work I'm most proud of and the early results are very promising. This work is the foundation for massive improvements to Search in 2021 and beyond.

Our users shouldn't need an advanced degree to search. Instead, Search should extend their expertise and enable them to be incredible at their jobs.

Aspirational to Tactical

As we defined the multi-year vision for Search, we identified the three high-impact problem areas to focus on in 2021. Addressing these areas provide a step function improvement for the user experience and set us up for the future-looking work we have planned. They connect the dots from the software today to the vision for tomorrow.

The Problems

  1. The list page is a mess and is hard to navigate
  2. The table widget lacks fundamental features
  3. Searching is confusing and click-intensive

This case study is focused specifically on problem 1. The Simply Powerful Search case study focuses on problem 3.

Hypotheses-driven Design

From the outset I approached this work like a science project. Using user data and feedback as a foundation, I framed the problems and formed hypotheses to improve the experience. Based on these hypotheses I am creating design explorations and working with the UX Research team to to test them, iterating until we've validated an optimal solution.

Centering the User

My top priority throughout this project has been to ensure that the user is at the center of everything we do. Every problem we solve is framed by real world use cases, explorations are informed and scrutinized by internal and external experts, and solutions are tested and validated by the people who use them.

To get the volume of user input we need for a project of this size—one spanning 12+ months—we decided to form a user advisory board. This board is comprised of a variety of user types across key customer segments, all of whom have committed to:

  • A monthly, hour-long call to review priorities, gather feedback, demo work, etc.
  • Ad hoc deep-dives (contextual inquiries, concept testing, usability testing, etc.)
  • Beta testing new features and providing initial feedback before launch

Advisory Board Demographic Breakdown

46+ users

representing 3 primary user types

15 orgs

of varying size & sophistication

5 segments

identified as high priority

User Types

The landscape of Relativity users is highly varied and diverse, but for our purposes the user types can be broken down into three major buckets across two axes: level of sophistication and type of work.

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  1. Administrators - highly sophisticated; creating the things to drive workflows
  2. Case Strategists - highly sophisticated; defining workflows, case strategy, QC
  3. Reviewers - less sophisticated; executing workflows, reviewing documents

These three user types are highly representative of the majority of Relativity users and serve as useful context when exploring new features.

The List Page is a Mess

Through a combination of user interviews, quantitative usage metrics, and anecdotal feedback we identified three leading causes for confusion on the List Page:

  1. Incoherent Grouping - Related functionality isn't cohesively grouped
  2. Overcrowding - All possible functionality is visible all of the time
  3. Poor Wayfinding - Visually and conceptually similar functionality cause navigational issues

Incoherent Grouping

An audit of search functionality on the List Page provided vivid clarity around our users' grouping complaints—by default there are nine different areas containing search-related features. To make matters worse, they are scattered throughout the interface without much proximity or grouping. In this case, a picture says a thousand words.

Search Features


  • The two most common searching types—text and conditions—are separated causing duplication of four separate controls
  • Inconsistent use of common patterns has unnecessarily added two more low-usage controls to the UI
  • Duplicative controls accounts for nearly half of the search-related inputs


A quick look at the usage data of just the page header painted a pretty clear picture: a lot of these features are barely being used.

Search Usage


  • The most-used feature accounts for 79% of the total clicks
  • The top 3 (of 11) account for nearly 90% (88.58%) of the total clicks
  • The bottom 5 features account for just 3.5% of usage

Poor Wayfinding

Clickstream analysis revealed further issues with the header: similar functionality was causing errant navigation.

Clickstream Analysis


  • When toggling Browser Panel visibility the most common next action was to toggle it again
  • Toggling for a third time was the most common tertiary action
  • Toggling panel visibility of any kind comprised 43% of all next actions
  • The most common path was Hide Browser > Show Browser > Show Search Panel

Explorations & Early Outcomes

Our early research has generated a few key hypotheses that are already yielding promising results in early explorations:

  • Consolidating related functionality—particularly Search—reduces perceived complexity
  • Distilling high density UI areas to the vital few provides focus and reduces navigation errors
  • Uniform use of patterns further reduces complexity and is more beneficial than promoting the feature

This early exploration executes on the hypotheses stated above and illustrates how a few targeted changes can dramatically reduce UI complexity with no functionality loss.

By the Numbers

  • Search-related areas are reduced to 5 (from 9), all tightly coupled
  • UI controls in the page header are reduced by 50%
  • All duplicative controls are removed
  • No features or functionality is removed

Next Steps

Coming up next for this project is continued exploration and the typical prototype-test-refine loop as we strive to simplify the List Page. Alongside that, we are also starting some more tactical, feature work—addressing problem 2 mentioned above—to make the list component a more robust workflow-driver. Below are a handful of other explorations I've engaged in for our next feature: freeze columns.

Freeze Columns Animation
Freeze Columns Explorations

Simply Powerful Search

Case Study (2021)

Search is one of the most critical yet least intuitive aspects of Relativity. It is a gatekeeper—an obstacle to end users doing their job effectively. In 2020 we set out to transform Search into a product that enhances users' expertise and extends their abilities, enabling them to be amazing at their jobs.

Check it Out
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