Sep 2022 · IOS Mobile UIUX· User research

Foooof

An app that allows young adults to meet new people in an instant.

SUMMARY

Overview

This was a collaborative project with a start-up initiated by Columbia students. By having features such as attending events, adding nearby friends, and completing a personal profile, we wish to provide a platform that allows young adults to meet new people in an instant.  I have joined the team as a UX researcher trying to improve the first iteration of the design prototype.

Role

UX researcher

Time

Sep 2022-
Nov 2022

Tools

Zoom
Figma

Team

Oscar Chen
Yuxin (UX designer)
Hangqi (PM)

Background

When I joined the team, the designers have already created a version of the prototype. My goal is to conduct usability testings on the existing prototype and identify areas to improve. After I have conducted 8 rounds of 1:1 usability testings, I found out that most targeted users expressed concerns over the overall engagement of the app.

Goal

1. Allow the UX writing to have more tonality and casual words that suit our targeted users
2. Include features for users to feel less pressure and more like a social app
3. Add icons and pictures to enrich the overall design

Problem

An expansion of social network

How might we help the app express a visual that gears more towards the young adults while keeping the users feel more engaged?

Solution

FEATURE #1

Specify thumbnail pictures on map page

Adding thumbnail icons and pictures enrich the design, making it more like a social app.

FEATURE #2

Adding "who's coming" feature

Allowing the users to see who comes to the event makes them more willing to engage with the content.

FEATURE #3

Tonality

Instead of asking for schools, which might seem too serious, I have added in questions that ask for hobbies.

UX VISION

In this iteration, we need to redesign the app to be more suitable for our target audience

RESEARCH

What the design looks like when I joined the team...

Usability testings

8 Contextual interviews

As I joined the team, I conducted 8+ usability test with our target users, college students aged from 17 -24. To understand how well this prototype perform, allowing targeted users to try it out is very crucial to discover potential problems.

What did the users say?

Based on their feedback and quotes, I realized an improvement needs to be made on the overall style and engagement such that the target users feel more at ease and relaxed when using the app. From the feedback, 4/6 users suggested that the current prototype sounds very serious. In addition, from the SUS scores we have collected, the users gave either negative or neutral responses to question "I will use this app frequently." This feedback revealed some issues:

RESEARCH

The users think the current design feels way too serious to be a social app

SYNTHESIZE

Key problems

PROBLEM #1

The current prototype seems too serious that perhaps intimidated the users

Managers claim they do not understand why some tasks existed. When the managers are trying to fill in the specific time and promotion job title, they were frustrated to find inadequate information. They have no idea when, what and how to promote their employees.

PROBLEM #2

More brand identification and funness are needed to reinforce this is a social app

Managers claim they do not understand why some tasks existed. When the managers are trying to fill in the specific time and promotion job title, they were frustrated to find inadequate information. They have no idea when, what and how to promote their employees.

PROBLEM #2

Lack of engagement that attract the users from coming back

Managers claim they do not understand why some tasks existed. When the managers are trying to fill in the specific time and promotion job title, they were frustrated to find inadequate information. They have no idea when, what and how to promote their employees.

IDEATION

Design Opportunity

To improve on the current design, I have worked with the 2 designers on the team and brainstormed the following iteration directions:

1. Reinforce brand identity by adding more colors and pictures
2. Change the tonality of UX writing and ask for hobbies so it sounds less like doing fill-in-a-blank
3. Addition of features that allow users to see "friend's coming" to make users feel engaged and belonging to a community
4. Create illustrations on different interfaces
5. Add an onboarding design that guides the users through all interfaces

Feature prioritization

To determine which features are most easily available for us to do for the next iteration, I suggested using a feature prioritization chart.

We evaluate potential user value and the efforts needed to implement each direction, and decided to go with the ones with high user value and low efforts---change tonality, add more pictures, implement friend features, and reinforce brand identity.

Ideation sketch

CHALLENGE TAKEAWAYS

Dwelling on conflicts does not help; what is more important is finding a solution that makes everyone happy

DESIGN

Improved design

After ideation, we have adjusted corresponding pages. Here, we try to add in more pictures and icons to make the interface feel more friendly.

Onboarding
Map
Events

TESTING

User testing

After we finished the prototype, I conducted another round of user testing on 3 targeted users to see if the improved design helped the users feel more engaged and if the branding speaks to our targeted users while using the app.

Testing feedback

After the implementation of the feedback, 3/3 of the users claimed the app feel like a social app. They also commented on the profile thumbnails on the map page so that they can see who they are connecting to. In addition, 2/3 of the users think they love the features of "friends' coming". In this way, they can see their friends are connected to who, and attending what events, hence allowing them to want to continue using the app more as well. In the SUS score, the results also improved, resulting in 1 neutral and 2 agree in the same question "I will use this app more frequently". However, there might be biases involved due to small sample sizes.

REFLECTIONS

Key takeaways

Learn to speak at the right moment

In this project, we have lots of opportunities that we can go with, and people have different opinions. Hence, deciding which features are more important is crucial to save more time. Instead of always listening to the PMs or other teammates, sometimes UX researchers need to be brave enough and prevent making too much compromises. With data, we need to convince others of the right directions to save more efforts.