“The power of human kindness, one pizza at a time”
BACKGROUND| In the Reddit universe, there is a small corner that houses a unique altruistic community called Random Acts of Pizza. “RAOP” is where strangers can request and donate pizzas, usually to hungry college students or people down on their luck and in need of a little help. Inspired and moved by the kindness of strangers, our team embarked on this pizza philanthropic journey to provide this community with a better experience and encourage more pizza charity with our mobile app In Knead.
This case study will explain how we created In Knead; the brand creation, design and development, and testing.
TIMEFRAME | 2-week sprints over 3 months (Sept-Dec 2016)
ROLE | Lead Product Designer
TOOLS| Sketch App, Marvel App, HTML5&CSS3, Zelplin, Google Slides
USER RESEARCH | Thankfully, we already had a depository of user information on the reddit RAOP forum. Combing through and gathering data on how people currently used the forum to donate pizzas, we mapped out our target user and the average experience of donating/receiving a pizza.
MAP & IDEATE | Together with the developers I listed out all the major pain points and possible solutions, questions we thought would come up. Trying to understand how users (both donors and benefactors) were feeling, we came to the following conclusions:
- The current experience felt clunky, which created a higher barrier for first-time donors.
- The “thank you” reply from benefactors to donors was a very important motivator.
GOAL | From our research we were able to confidently set our goals, which were:
- Design a native app that would support Random Acts of Pizza, but also evangelize the pizza philanthropy to those who are unfamiliar with it.
- Create a great experience that lowers barriers of inconvenience and social awkwardness.
- Create an environment where users feel safe and feel generous with giving financially.
- Requests should come as a video since this would create a level of accountability and make requests very personal.
- The UI should be minimal, but have a “fun and bright” feel that reflects the current culture.
- The experience should overall simplify the current web-based journey users go through.
Identifying the User Journey | The different stages of the user journey are: (1) Make a Request/See a Request (2) Receive a pizza/Answer a Request (3) Send a Thank You video/Watch the Thank You Video.
PROTOTYPING| First, with some rapid prototyping, I created the basic flow that followed the user journey we designed. We broke up the prototypes based on the type of user (donor and benefactor), and did several iterations.
TESTING | We went right into testing with our low-fidelity prototypes, with those both in RAOP and not. This was important because of our goal to also expand the community to those unfamiliar with the concept. The feedback we got confirmed we needed to change some earlier concepts of how people would actually go off the app to purchase pizza for another and create a greater motivation for people to go back on the app to record a thank you video.
Tools: Paper, Google Slides, Marvel App, Sketch
DEVELOPMENT | With these early rounds of testing, I was able to move onto higher fidelity prototypes, using mainly Sketch app, and work with our developers to achieve the MVP for our beta release.
With a 1-week sprint methodology, we tackled different parts of the mobile app. Because we had outlined the problems earlier on and identified our MVP, it was easier to de-scope “nice-to-haves” and focus on refining the main solutions we decided on.
Some final user testing revealed small gaps we needed to fill in, but we were able to avoid major upheavals since we had followed a process that helped us identify our goals and test our solutions along the way.
As we assessed our goals near the end of our product deadline, and found that we met them. In Knead is now an app where people are successfully donating and receiving pizzas. Both a safe and fun environment to connect with strangers over the internet, In Knead supports ROAP by reaching a constantly growing mobile-first world.
THE END | Of course there is no end to a passion project, and there are more designs that we will consider investing in in the future, but our official release of the product was September 24, 2017 (website). You can now download at the app store here.
UI | Working remotely from the team, I was able to communicate my designs through Zeplin, which provides redlines and style specs. Along with the UX I also lead the UI design. Our vision for the app was to capture the essence of the ROAP community, which was fun and playful. With strategic use of white space and bold bring colors, I tried to communicate this across the app. Especially in my design of our logo, that went through several iterations of it’s own, I had a lot of fun designing a pizza that was subtly in the shape of a ❤. Share more love…one pizza at a time!