CKB UX Workflow & Process Flow


Cassandra Kennedy Beauty (CKB) is a Fine Art makeup artist in Portland, Oregon. In early 2021, we worked together to improve her website's information architecture, copy and images. Later that summer, she asked for help with managing inquiries and updating her brochures for her new customer management software, and mentioned that she had been considering an overhaul of her offerings.
Over the course of the next six months, I helped her strategize new offerings and pricing menus, designed and wrote copy for new brochures, and mapped out her business workflow and process flow, which I'll share in this case study.


CKB was losing potential clients because the current administrative assistant wasn’t familiar with the unique challenges of bridal beauty booking, scheduling and communications. It was causing extra work for the owner, Cassandra, but even working solo, it was difficult to stay organized and meet her own standards of service. On top of those challenges, she was experiencing a learning curve while working in a new CMS (customer management software).


My goal was to set Cassandra up for the upcoming wedding season by detailing and documenting her workflow and process flow to increase her CMS's functionality, improve internal communications and successfully onboard future administrative assistants.

My Approach

My design process walked through four main steps:
Gather information about current workflow and CMS
Identify key problem areas and potential solutions
Create a set of documents
Workshop documents for greater usability


What are the problems?
I assessed the current workflow
I assessed the current team communications
All in all, a semi-defined workflow, communication issues and the limitations of the CMS created extra complications that were costing CKB time and money.
In the beauty industry, client email threads can grow to of hundreds of messages over the course of a project. Communicating with stressed-out clientele requires strategic judgment calls and a certain level of finesse, so writing emails from scratch on Cassandra's behalf was difficult and time-consuming for the admin.
Cassandra's admin emailed her questions and work reports, but there wasn't a quick, easy way for either of them to know exactly what was happening in each project at every stage. The CMS's clunky To-Do page was tucked away behind extra clicks and was constantly flooded with unimportant tasks, so it wasn't a viable way to communicate about the urgent ones. Sometimes this meant the ball was dropped with current and potential VIP clients.
While Cassandra’s work process partially existed in her CMS, many important, nuanced steps still lived in her mind. This knowledge gap plus a few critical junctures in the workflow meant an administrative assistant needed Cassandra’s input to move forward, but with asynchronous working hours, their assumptions were causing mistakes.
Cassandra's CMS has a semi-customizable workflow called a "pipeline" with some built-in automations for keeping track of each project’s stage, but the labels and stage functions weren't memorable. This made the automatic and manual moving of projects high stakes because some were getting lost in the shuffle.


What are the key problems to focus on?
Organizing CMS Pipeline
Label and define each stage to eliminate confusion and keep track of projects.
Learn and implement automations to reduce admin hours.
Create alternate steps for workflow in lieu of automation limitations.
Documenting workflow outside of CMS
Create a high-level business workflow that orders the interactions between CMS’s pipeline stages, automations and involved people.
Create a detailed process flow checklist for each project to avoid mistakes and unnecessary check-ins between owner and admin.
Planning CMS client communications
Create email templates specifically labeled for each stage of process to streamline communication between all parties.


How might we improve processes and communication?
We remodeled and defined CMS Pipeline stages
Cassandra and I talked through all the specific scenarios that can happen with a project, especially complicated situations that might move a project backward in a pipeline. We wanted a series of stages that would work for the majority of projects but still be able to handle edge cases.

Then we specified the labels and defined the parameters of the stages. What are we talking about when we say a client is in this stage? What things need to happen in what order and what specifically triggers the move to the next stage?
We integrated CMS automations
We met with an automations expert to learn the capabilities of the CMS, and then adjusted the number and order of steps to meet the limitations. It also helped us plan our auto-response templates.
I created a high-level workflow
I wanted Cassandra and her admin to be able to see a project's stages from a bird's-eye-view, so I set up a Google sheet to order the basic interactions between the CMS, owner or admin, clients, and independent contractors. I didn't include details or if-thens, but did add occasional color coding to highlight important junctures in the project's lifespan that would require special attention.
I created a detailed work processes checklist
I used the high-level workflow to create a more detailed step-by-step checklist that can be used for each project. This included if-thens for more complicated situations, so that Cassandra and her admin could see history and circumstances that might be affecting the progress of a project.
I also specified when and how an admin needs to communicate with Cassandra throughout the project's lifespan, whether sending direct emails, texts and calls, or writing notes and To-Do tasks in the CMS.
We chose the third option but still weren't completely satisfied, because notes area is also tucked away in a less noticeable area of the project page.
During a follow-up meeting, Cassandra let me know that she was reticent about using Google drive instead of having everything in one workspace, so we brainstormed how to add it into the CMS.

It seemed our only options were:
Adding it as a document to a project-related team workspace, but then it would be uneditable
Placing it in the main message area so it could be edited by responding like an email thread, but then we risked having it buried beneath other messages
Copy/pasting the text into the editable project file notes area, but the reformatting and interactive options were limited
We wrote templates for client communications
After mapping out the workflow, I was able to mark occasions in each stage where CKB would need both automated emails and various templates to fit different situations. I created a document for her to reference while creating templates in the CMS, and wrote some sample copy as a jumping-off point.


I checked in with Cassandra several months later and heard the checklist sitting in the project's notes section was not working for her. I once again scoured the CMS for another option and landed on its customizable questionnaire templates, because it can easily be pulled into each project’s workspace but not sent to a client. I redesigned the checklist to utilize its multi-page capability, and added images and definitions of each pipeline stage to add clarity and eliminate the need for referencing the Pipeline Stages Google doc.
How might we improve usability?
Repurposing a CMS template to house the process checklist
Designing for clients is a collaborative process in which the vision will continue to evolve. It was fun to see Cassandra iterating on the email templates' copy to achieve her personable tone of voice.
Refining copy to better fit CKB's brand


I chatted with Cassandra several months later to get feedback
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