Retrospective: Post Project 4

Now I’ve spent a lot of time making the language clean and welcoming and formal in the beginning of these retrospectives in the past, but this time I’ve decided that’s over. The simple fact is, I’m shattered. Truly I am. I’d love to turn on the “P.R.” charm for this post but there’s still a lot to be done on P4, so much so that it feels rather strange to be even writing this retrospective at this point. However, I’m also extremely proud of the work that me and my team did on P4, so without further to do, let’s just get into it.

As per usual, here’s a gif summing up my mental state through most of P4…

Yep, I’m a 90’s kid…

Project Brief

Comparatively speaking, we had free reign on this one. We knew we had to find a problem out in the digital world, and we had to attach a brand to that problem. We were put into groups based off our interests, sort of… Unfortunately this didn’t really work at all in practice. One of our group members had none of the same interests as the other two. As we were coming up with ideas I felt extremely bad for this person. I know the instructional team did the best that they could, but the gap in interests in this case was huge. So our first challenge was coming up with a project that we could all be “passionate” about.

Now I wanna be clear about one thing… When the instructors said passion, maybe they meant it in the traditional sense. But as we where trying to think of ideas, it became clear that this was not going to be our “passion” project. This was going to be our “Work extremely hard under very difficult circumstances to figure out how to be passionate about something that we just weren’t passionate about” project.

Anyway, in the end we settled on RIO 2016 as our Brand.

Woo-hoo! Even with the gap in interests, something like the Olympic games was definitely something people felt comfortable sinking their teeth into. I was immediately thinking of Chariots of Fire and Cool Runnings and the Olympic fanfare was blaring in my head. I was pumped.

But we needed to find a problem. The Olympics is obviously a huge event and is generally considered to be pretty well handled by the governing authorities, but we as a group definitely had some pain points associated with it.

We soon arrived at our problem statement. Users want a single location to absorb Olympic content. We discussed how Users watch on NBC, share reactions on social media, and check the medal count in the newspaper in the morning. But we wanted to come up with an app which could do most of that on it’s own. We decided to focus on the atmosphere of the Olympics. The feeling of being on the ground in the Olympic village. Seeing the athletes compete, the press conferences, the parties, the media frenzy, and the Brazilian culture immersion.

Discovery Phase

User Surveys

User Surveys was our first step. We wanted to get any information that we could about Sports, News Aggregators, and the Olympics itself so we structured our questions accordingly. We had 58 responses to our survey.

In terms of takeaways it was becoming clear that mobile would be our target platform, but we remained open to all options as we continued our research.

Lemer Usability Test

We then decided to conduct a Lemer Usability Test comparing news aggregator apps. We chose Huffington post, Buzzfeed and 9gag. We took the apps to users to rate them on learnability, efficiency, memorability, errors, satisfaction. We wanted to isolate good and bad design practices in these aggregator apps.

Unfortunately the results were all over the map. Ideal design really came down to people’s individual preferences. We did however begin to identify some key similarities with these apps in terms of layout.

Feature Comparison

We then used a Feature Comparison on some competing apps, or at least companies which provided a similar service to what we were suggesting, to go in a bit further.

Facebook was becoming our go to in terms of design inspiration. Which was a rather daunting task, but we knew we only had two weeks so we kept going.

Affinity Mapping

We affinity mapped out some of our data from the user surveys to look for themes and patterns.

Out of this we started to prioritize pain points and pleasure points to continue searching for the exact identity of our app.

User Interviews

User interviews were conducted in front of 5 interviewees. We were lucky enough to speak to someone who not only had been to brazil before, but was going back again for the Para-Olympic games this summer…

“I LOVE the Olympics you guys!”
“I don’t Like Click-bait aggregators.”
“It’s Impossible to re-create the atmosphere of these occasions.”

Our key takeaways included a genuine pleasure about the Olympics, a general bias against click-bait style aggregators, and atmosphere surrounding important sporting events had to be one of the essential aspects of our app. While we agreed it would be impossible to re-create that atmosphere, we knew that if we could find a way of coming close that might be a step in the right direction.

Definitions Phase

Feature Prioritization and Minimum Viable Product

We next moved into Feature Prioritization. We used the MoSCoW method to sort our app’s potential features into categories.

Market & Business Analysis

With an international viewership of billions, the Summer Olympics are one of the world’s most famous events. Traditional news from sources such as NBC News and user-generated content from sources such as Twitter and Instagram are all massive, separated repositories of Olympic-related information.

Aggregating all of this content will allow users to easily browse this content and increase publicity and revenue for the Games.

Technical Analysis

This was the big new thing with this project. For the first time we had to consider the technical constraints and whether or not the app could be built. We got the chance to pitch our idea in front of developers and they responded rather favorably.

Our main consideration with an aggregator app was the Application programming interface or API of all the media platforms that our app would pull content from. We knew from talking to the developers that facebook’s API was tricky so we elected to avoid that. We instead focused more on the API’s for Instagram and Twitter.

User Personas

Going back over our answers from interview questions we began the process of crafting our target personas.

In the end our two personas became known as the “viral follower”…

And the “sports enthusiast”…

Design Phase

Wire-framing In Sketch

We went from Sketches on index card to digital very quickly with this project because we wanted to get as much user testing done as possible. We started out with a black and white medium fidelity

Sort By Venues Page

Users were confused by what we originally had. It became obvious that adding color to the design would help the users to know what part of the interface to interact with.

Sort By Venues Page

Our iterations were taking us to some interesting places. The sort by venues map had become clearer, and users were starting to find their way through our main flows. The bottom nav also changed quite a bit. Users were confused by some of the options. For example: ‘my feed’ and ‘feed’ were giving people a hard time and so we consolidated those ideas into one.

Delivery Phase

With the process of iterating our designs coming to an end… Well more like our time running out… We began to gather all of our deliverables for the Spec Document, and the other new hurdle with this project: The Research Report.

User Flows

App Map

High Fidelity Mockups

We were pretty proud of what we came up with for the final prototype after our series of iterations. Though as is always the case with visual design, we could have and perhaps would have liked to have taken them further.

Home Page
Sort by Venues Page
Sort by Sport Page

Prototype

Next Steps For the Project

First things first, we need to finish our project and our presentations are tomorrow. I have a conference call with my group members in an hour and a half to go over presentation strategies.

As for serious next steps…

  1. Take the interactive Map further by building out…
  2. Design the flow for Users to upload their content directly to our app…
  3. Improve the content rating system…

Next Steps for Me as a Designer

Next up is P5. The Client Project. I’m still playing around with the idea of trying the project manager role for P5. I’ve found myself doing a lot of the “keeping an aye on the big picture” type stuff with both P3 and P4. We’ll see what happens, but it would definitely be good for me to get some experience at this before I enter the Professional UX world.

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