MICA is a search engine for government contracting professionals. The rules that govern contract law in the U.S. are complex
and highly specific. Typically, contracting officers learn the ins and out of what the laws permit by training courses, on the job training, and mentors. The government wants to make public/private industry partnerships stronger so the government can more easily purchase goods, services, and products from the private sector, but that's difficult when the workforce doesn't have the resources it needs to fully understand the laws and regulations of purchasing.
Google receives approximately 5.6 billion searches per day. Imagine needing to do your job and not being able to access any answers from Google. That is exactly the case for many contracting officers. MICA is the first of its kind search tool for acquisition law and regulation leverages sophisticated algorithms and elastic search methods in order to refine search results.
I needed to figure out what information was most important to contracting officers, what set of regulations they most frequently reference, the kinds of questions they would ask a search engine, how they phrased search questions, and the frequency of which they might user specific features. I created a survey to send out to contracting officers and we are awaiting the results so we can better understand the end user and their needs.
Wireframes have been developed in order to give our clients a rough idea of what MICA might look like and what features would be available. The advanced search was something our stakeholders felt strongly about. Iterations on this page have been ongoing. In this variation, the user is qued to move through the advanced search step by step in order to segment the content so the user isn't overwhelmed. We are currently Prototyping the wireframes so we can test to see what iteration best fits the needs of the user.
This iteration of the advanced search reduces the number of questions and feels more like an advanced search form rather than a step by step wizard. We wanted to make sure that when the user selects the advanced search that the recent search information is not lost. Therefore, we included the recent search results directly below the advanced search form on each version.
Mica will require access privileges to individual user accounts where users can upload and store contracts. This wireframe concept allows the user to display each contract in a card view. Users can search their current uploaded contracts for key terms in the search bar. We are currently looking into the information architecture of the cards to see what items should be prioritized, displayed, grouped together, and color coded.
We are in the initial phases of branding for MICA. Below are a few variations that have tested favorably so far. We want mica
to be the premier search engine used by government contractors. We felt that some variation of blue and red would tie in the government theme as the magnifying glass reveals the engines primary purpose.