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Project: UNIFY Budgeting Tool • 2014 • Role: UX Lead

The Challenge

The enterprise application team asked us to help with a budget tool used by the advertising department at TBS. The  team calculated sensitive financial information on one spreadsheet and shared this file amongst themselves via email. They wanted to create a single, secure, source of truth that could allow for edits, history tracking and budget variations to project and reflect different creative expenditures. 


My Role

I served as a UX Lead on this project, managing a UX Designer and coordinating between our team, product and engineering.

The project took about 3 weeks.


UNIFY Homescreen


We wanted the home page to be a dashboard of annual budgets and budget variants. Each year was presented as an accordion folder in which different versions of the budget (referred to as projects) were displayed. We chose an interaction model that required distinct, intentional progressive steps to reduce the potential for user error.  Budget planners often created multiple versions of a budget to socialize with stakeholders across Turner because advertisements had variable revenue and expense dependencies. For example, the creative expenditures of producing a commercial might have variables such as the cost of talent or locations. Budget teams wanted the flexibility to model different versions without losing iterations.    

Rather than entering the project details all at once (as one might in an Excel spreadsheet), novice users could input the data consciously, one step at a time so as to avoid any errors or confusion.


Validation page: The users wanted to feel reassured of their calculations. This page was set up like an equation to show that the entered numbers added up to a validated total.

Secondary view of the dashboard: This page reflects the same information found on the dashboard but is displayed with graphics and interactive elements that break out the details.

A subset of “Power” users  wanted the ability to enter data in traditional way, like a spreadsheet, rather than the step by step approach. 


Enterprise clients often get the least attention from UX design teams in organizations like Turner because there are so many competing priorities. Our stakeholders helped us to understand their needs for a budgeting tool that was simple yet flexible. They were grateful and complementary because of the thoughtful approach to error-prevention, visualization of complex data and interoperability of existing workflows.