Call for Consultants – Microsoft Excel User Interface Expert for Short-Term Consultancy | Closing Date: May 4, 2018

Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) is seeking a User Interface Design (UI) consultant, with an expertise in customizing Excel UI and dashboards, to develop a user-friendly interface for an Excel-based tool. Specifically, this consultant will be hired for VectorWorks, a malaria prevention project is funded by PMI.  The primary aim of VectorWorks is to scale up vector control for malaria prevention through the distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs). To that end, VectorWorks developed an Excel-based modeling tool called NetCalc, designed to model different insecticide-treated net distribution scenarios using country-specific data, providing estimations of the ability to meet optimal net coverage targets in a country, and therefore, optimal protection against the disease. VectorWorks would like national malaria program management teams and technical assistance providers to use this NetCalc tool for their net quantifications without needing to provide continuous in-person trainings, and we are therefore embarking on an effort to make this tool more user-friendly and intuitive. A visual dashboard should allow users to experiment with different scenarios through easily understandable graphs and charts, which are currently already part of the tool but could be more usable for new users.

The VectorWorks team collected information from users ranging from individuals who are very experienced with NetCALC to new users, on the challenges and benefits they derive from the tool.  Through this data collection process, VectorWorks identified several insights and design considerations that the consultant will be expected to bear in mind. NetCalc users and their reasons for using the tool vary widely. Although NetCalc is capable of performing many functions, it is important that each user can be guided through NetCalc based on the output they desire without confusion or ambiguity and that the output is also clear and comprehensible. This qualitative data will be available for the consultant to consider as they work to make the tool more user-friendly.

We expect the consultant to consider human-computer interaction and begin with empathizing with users and work toward a resolution. It is important to note that while we require strong skills in Excel, we do not expect the consultant to make any adjustments to the tool’s formulas or codes, but rather focus on the user interface. The challenge will be to make something user friendly, useful and visually interesting, so malaria prevention professionals want to use NetCalc to fit their individual and country-specific needs.

Requirements

Consultant will have the following:

  • Minimum 2 years of UI design experience with training or experience in user experience and information architecture.
  • Strong skills in Excel and customizing Excel UIs and dashboards.
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher is required. Degree in Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Information Design, Visual Communications or related field is a plus.
  • Understanding of the relationship between people and products.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong organizational, problem-solving, and analytical skills

Our Audience

The primary audience for this new user interface includes government workers in malaria-endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa who regularly estimate national insecticide-treated net distributions, as well as technical assistance providers from global health organizations and non-governmental organizations who work with country teams to support them in malaria prevention program management.
Deliverables

  • Analysis of qualitative data collected from stakeholder interviews, with recommendations for a prototype(s). CCP will provide findings from interviews already conducted
  • Excel-based prototype(s) of a more user-friendly NetCalc tool.
  • Pretest methodology and survey tools for a pretest.
  • Analysis of pretest findings, with recommendations on final design.
  • Final NetCalc UI product.

CCP will provide:

  • Findings from CCP’s initial interviews on NetCalc challenges and benefits.
  • NetCalc tool. (See https://www.vector-works.org/new-version-of-netcalc-now-available/)
  • Linkages to users and original developer.
  • Availability to discuss prototyping, answer questions, and seek out resources as needed in the development of prototype(s) and the final product.

Selection Criteria

Respondents will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Strong Excel experience and experience working with Excel-based dashboards
  • Deep understanding and passion for UI design and interaction design
  • Experience with user interface design patterns and standard Human Computer Interface methodologies a plus
  • Experience in prototyping, user testing and iteration
  • Examples of past projects that involve Excel dashboards or interfaces
  • Price

Proposal Requirements

Please submit a proposal that includes:

  • CV that Includes examples of past projects designing Excel-based interfaces
  • Approach and Project Management Plan: Include a brief description of your general approach to the task, including descriptions of HCI processes or other ideas that may be relevant. Include a project management plan with proposed steps to complete the deliverables described above, with estimated number of days to complete each one.
  • Rates: Hourly rates in $USD should be included with the proposed approach above.
  • References: Three references with reference name and contact information is required.

Deadlines

Proposals are due April 23, 2018. Questions can be submitted in writing by 5 pm EST on April 16, 2018 to Sean Blaufuss at  sblaufu1@jhu.edu. Questions will be answered collectively in one document for the benefit of all bidders, without identifying information.

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