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Apheris data collaboration tool

IT Systems & Networks
User Interface Design, Web Application Redesign

Fostering secure data collaboration for machine learning

Apheris, a pioneer in secure data collaboration, offers a platform where data providers and data scientists can securely and effectively collaborate. In 2019, the world faced challenges due to regulatory constraints and data distribution across departments, preventing the usage of data applications from being built.

Our mission was to empower Apheris with an interface that fostered a sense of security and cultivated trust. With a focus on minimally obstructive design, This goal was essential due to the sensitive nature of the data the platform would handle. The challenge lay in designing a system that was not only secure but also user-friendly.

The platform serves two main user groups: data providers who want to share their data securely, and data scientists looking for a safe environment to analyze data. With the integration of JupyterLab, an open-source Python shell, data analysis and computations are made accessible within the platform itself.

Design project introduction image

Design Strategy

  • We started with heuristic evaluation focusing on usability, efficiency, and aesthetics.
  • For the design we adopted widely accepted design rules by Nielsen, Molich, and Shneiderman.
  • Developed intuitive information architecture and user flow for easy navigation.
  • Designed for user consent and review steps, ensuring a secure interface.

Research & Discovery

With the heuristic evaluation and feedback collected from the product's beta version, we initiated the discovery phase. Our focus was on creating a user-centric design that promotes secure and efficient data collaboration. Examining the market trends, competitors, and audience led us to create an interface that aligns with the expectations of its end users.

Collage of research materials, data charts, and user personas gathered during the discovery phase


The user flow we constricted was relatively straightforward. Our objective was to ease users into the platform, guiding them seamlessly from one function to the next.

However, as the project advances and the product continues to evolve, the user flow became more intricate. This progression mirrored the growth of the platform itself, as it expanded to accommodate more complex features and functionalities.

Diagram illustrating the user journey through the app's interface

Visual Design

Orchestrating hyper minimalist visual appearance for efficency

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Crafting a simplified canvas

Our visual design process for the Apheris platform followed an ultra minimalistic approach. By maintaining simplicity, we aimed to support the efficient workflows of users. This strategy was embodied through three distinct phases in our design process.

In the initial phase, our interface revolved around an oversimplified plain canvas. We intentionally kept color variations to a minimum, subtly distinguishing between menus and lists. This minimalistic layout served to reduce visual noise, allowing users to focus on their data-oriented tasks.

Elevating the menu layer

In the second phase, we undertook visual exploration that led to the enhancement of the menu's presentation. The menu was given its own card, creating a material like design. This gave the menu an upper layer, enhancing its prominence and accessibility within the overall interface.

We experimented with high contrast menu, intending to further differentiate the elements. However, the high contrast threatened to overwhelm users over the time and were thus discarded.

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Color scheme & elements design

Refining the palette of trust & symbols of comfort

Initially, the design was closely anchored to Apheris' colors, laying the groundwork for our design. The second color scheme is direct inheritance of the refreshed branding and website made by another design agency.

Our design philosophy for Apheris revolved around creating an inviting and trustworthy interface. Refined branding that landed in our hands promotes a sense of ease and comfort. For that we established a compact design system that maintains consistency across the tool.

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User Testing

Final design

Delivering the stellar user experience

Explore the interactive prototype in Figma
As we conclude our design journey, we stand proud of the efficient interface we crafted with Apheris. Despite the challenge, we merged high security and seamless usability.

Falko Krause

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