* This is a current work-in-progress with a working prototype below.
Design an app built around the need to document new favorite things and recommendations. This app would allow users to quickly collect, document and retrieve a past favorite entry i.e.
- What were my favorite albums from 2012?
- What was that beer I tried and loved at a party last summer?
- What were a few of my daughter’s favorite books when she was 2?
- Friends from out-of-town want my fav restaurants in LA.
- User Interviews, User Personas
- Competitive Analysis
- Feature Analysis
- Usability Testing
- Brand and Visual Design (still working on it...)
Even though this wouldn’t lead to any qualitative findings I wanted to get a preliminary sense of the project so I published a SurveyMonkey survey on Facebook. It was helpful to ask some possible interview questions early-on to get a rough idea around the assumptions my app was addressing.
- 91% share and recommend music, movies, books and tv.
- Almost 90% wished they could “keep better track of the music, movies, tv, and books that have made them excited over the years."
- 85% remembered favorite music, movies, tv, and books from last year vs. 40% who could remember from over 2 years ago. Of those, 75% “somewhat” or “barely” remembered.
In order to feel confident that this app really would satisfy a need, I took a look at what other note-taking, list-making, and journaling apps were doing.
I then tried to answer these questions on each:
- Why does the competitor exist in the market? What problems are they solving?
- Is the competitor a direct or indirect competitor?
- What does the competitor do well?
- What does the competitor need to improve?
I then noted whether they had or didn't have relevant features that I was looking for.
I documented all of this in a spreadsheet
Lead me to asking:
So Why is this different from any other note-taking app?
During the process of competitive analysis, I tried to tailor my use to what this app would do - which are two things: 1) quickly record a recommendation or favorite thing and 2) easily go back in and find either in a matter of seconds.
This basically meant I went through the process of starting “categorically” organized lists in every app I could get my hands on. What I found was that there was no way to view or filter easily when you needed to go back and find. Sure, I could manually tag an entry with a year, and a category, then do a manual search later, but that's cognitive load that could be completely removed by just building the organization into the post process.
I also realized this is the process of “collecting” - not documenting.
User Interviews to Affinity Mapping
5 Interviews, pre-written guiding questions
6 additional conversations
Every person had a different method of documenting a new favorite find or recommendation. There were combinations of writing down and apps, and many just combinations of apps.
Almost all felt their process was inefficient, messy, and in the end, didn’t necessarily work when they needed to go back and find something they recorded.
Search is extremely important. Being able to search through all posts no matter what type or year to help find something. At least 7 people i talked to brought this up
3 of 3 people who track or have tracked alcohol experiences have all tried numerous apps before and have never stuck with them.
“I tracked every beer i drank for 1 month and it was way too hard"
“I tracked wine pairing with a few different wine apps but all never fit what i needed it for"
“I tracked new cocktails but after time, the notes become a mass that was too hard to use - it became a chore to find what I was looking for”
Who I care about: 18-36, Love to find new and cool things - then can’t wait to share those finds with like-minded friends, family, and co-workers.
UX / Design
The Rough Start
Core flow screens helps to visualize a first look at the app. Does the model work? Does it feel quick and intuitive?
Iterating on Interactions
This app is built on just a few core screens:
- Home/Landing - Should there be just one "Add" feature among the search/browse options? Or should each Faves and Reco's have their own button?
- Timeline - intuitive, uncluttered, clear, organized and filterable
- Post Entry - Should feel familiar and quick
Interactive Prototype - Usability testing
3 goals (Try them out on the prototype below)
Primary “Faves” Goal: Add a new favorite cocktail.
Task: You love cocktails and just had one you’ve never had that you loved called the Montauk.
Recommendation Goal: Create a new category for a new recommended brunch spot.
- Primary “recall” Goal: Find a past favorite and bring up the location
Task: Trying to remember where that cafe was that you loved when you went to NY in November.
Scripting the Prototype to validate user flow: