Beginning the process, I dove deep into how the current partner portal is being used by the professionals and how they feel about the process.
Since I only have access to users working in the company, I first observed their daily work tasks without interfering. Many professionals only work with certain functions, however, they jump between functions from time to time. RPI is not a relatively large company and people take on multiple roles during work.
To get a clear sense of workflow in reality and understand some potential habits with current UI, I then conducted remote interviews with some core users of each use category, including finance, customer service, order routing, and, factory settings workflows. Since most users had not worked with a designer before, I chose thinking out loud as the bulk of the interview to have them begin to think about the process and possible road bumps they currently experience. At the end of each interview, I asked them to reflect on significant areas they wish were different.