in Digital, Inspiration, Random

Decision Matrix

Decision Matrices have been around for decades to help engineers and designers make better decisions. Today, the theory is used to assist with all types of decision making to ensure an objective, calculated result is brought to the fore. This is my journey into making an apparent complicated process easier.

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My Pet Project

A year or two ago, an Engineering friend of mine introduced me to this concept in order to help me with some tough career decisions. Fully enlightened with this methodology, I could not, with my Right-brain mind, easily reproduce this chart for myself without her assistance. The idea came to me to design a quick mobile app that would take the “Matrix” out of the Decision process and compute the solution easily. The result is shown below.

The Challenge

My friend gave me a skeptical look. She asked, “How can I make the process easier in app form as an alternative to an excel template, or grid form?”

What does a Decision Matrix look like?

Although the process is quite simple, the required output is a cumbersome eyesore.
Decision Matrix from Carlton.ca user, 1997

Hasn’t this already been done?

I commend the other team who came up with their alternative.

Appstore Link:
https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/decision-matrix/id454713276?mt=8

Their solution still involves more of a chart of numbers. As mentioned, I wanted to avoid the chart of numbers in order to display a result for a quantified snap decision.

Problems with my Original Solution

In my first iteration of the app design, the original solution stumbled through my limited understanding of the process and included many erring assumptions and very little competitive research.

decision matrix v1

V1, Scratched

This version was limited to choosing between 2 options and an ability to slide each deciding factor back and forth between the 2. I also likely missed quite a few required weightings. It didn’t take into account:

  • Ability to input more than 2 choices
  • Setting varying weights and priorities on each deciding factor

These newly observed elements required a drastic change in my approach and in the interface itself.

Iteration 2

I broke down the process more thoroughly with the assistance of my friend, but this time took note of each mark of data entry, step by step. Eventually a more realistic user journey was mapped.

  • Step 1: Enter in Your Choices. The one choice you are most inclined to lean towards can be re-sorted to the top.
  • Step 2: Enter your Deciding Factors. These can be anything measurable. They should arranged in priority sequence, and an overall weighting is placed.
  • Step 3: Weigh your Factors against your Choices. A weight can be added using a sliding scale for each Factor. This process is repeated for each Choice.
  • Step 4: View Result.

Linear Process

decision matrix v2 steps

Result

decision matrix v2 result

Current Project Status

This project is open for feedback for iteration 3. I have a laundry list of items I’d like to add but currently it has reached MVP status.

I feel it would also make a great little volunteer side challenge for any developers looking to flex their muscles. Contact me for details.

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