GetitTogether, An App for Social Collaboration — UX Design Case Study in User Research and Rapid Prototyping

The Challenge

Identify challenges and pain points that General Assembly students experience with collaboration. Propose a solution that utilizes the features and sensors of a smart phone. Design a mobile application that solves the problem. Apply user research at every step to inform the scope of work and design solution. Create a rapid prototype of your design. Complete the project in 4 days.

The User

User interviews.

The first task in completing this challenge was understanding the user and identifying their challenges and pain points in regards to collaboration.

The scope of the project identified the users as General Assembly students. I conducted a series of user interviews to discover how, when, why and with whom General Assembly students collaborate.

Because the topic of collaboration is broad, the initial interviews did not reveal a clear challenge or pain point. I decided to narrow the scope of the challenge and only focus on collaboration in the context of social groups. While there are a multitude of collaboration tools for professional and educational collaboration, users still work across multiple platforms to collaborate with social groups.

I revised my interview questions to focus on the how users collaborate among social groups.

Example interview questions:

How do you define your community?

How do you coordinate/collaborate with these groups?

What type of collaboration tools do you use?

What challenges do you face?

It was important that the questions focused on abstract concepts (community, collaboration, etc.) in order to elicit rich stories and examples from the users. Additionally, it was important that the questions were constrained to collaboration in social groups and settings in order to keep responses relevant to the scope of the project.

The User Profile:

General Assembly students are busy people with various social circles. They are young (under the age of 35), tech savvy, and have a variety of social and professional demands. They identify their family, friends, work colleagues, and roommates as their social circles. They collaborate mainly with the groups of people that are geographically close to them. Their social activities include dinners, parties, and trips. They plan social activities while they’re at work or while completing other activities. They rely on collaboration tools including email, group text messages, Facebook, and Google Doodle to plan their activities.

The Problem

Concept Mapping

As the user interviews progressed, I mapped out the identified pain points, along with possible solutions in a concept map.

This concept map was tested through participatory design to gain insights and ideas from others, both designers and non-designers.

Problem Statement

General Assembly students are busy people with a variety of social circles. They enjoy spending quality time with their friends and family, but scheduling social activities can be difficult and time consuming if done through group texts or email.

The Design Solution

Storyboard

I created a story board to describe the context of my user, activity and actions, and tell the high level story of the product and how it’s used.

User Flow

User flow for Event Admin
User Flow for Invitee

There are two user flows for using my app: the event admin and the invitee. By mapping how users would move through the application, I was able to identify key pages, information needed, decision points and additional features. The user flow then became my basis for drafting key interface pages in my wireflows. I tested my user flows to ensure that each step and decision point was clear and actionable.

Wireflows

After the pages and decisions points were finalized, I began sketching wireflows. These sketches determined what pages the users landed on and what information was included on each page. They also determined how a user would interact with the page in order to request and receive information and what elements would allow the user to move through the user flow. In some instances, I used design elements from other apps including Facebook and Yelp as well as common design elements in order for the app to feel familiar and intuitive. However, I wanted the main page to be a command center of information, and it is unique from other apps.

Iterations and Validation

Using the wireflows as reference, I began sketching paper prototypes of the screens of the apps. These prototypes allowed me to user test the layout of screens as well as the number of clicks a user was willing to make to complete an action. Using user feedback to inform my design decisions, I sketched final prototypes.

Rapid Prototyping

I completed my rapid prototyping by sketching paper prototypes that demonstrated screen layout, menu options, and features. By including menu options as a second layer, it made it clear that certain pages were not too busy, and showed information in a clean format.

I user tested the paper prototype during our alumni concept meeting. During this feedback session, an alumni highlighted missing steps from the user flow including no way to retrieve an invite once the user dismisses the initial. This feedback was included in the final prototype, assembled in Marvel.

GetitTogether

An app that organizes the inputs for scheduling social activities. It synthesizes inputs for a group of people and presents the results in a clean format without excess noise. GetitTogether ensures that all group members have relevant info and includes some helpful features.

I’ve attached my first draft Marvel demonstration. This post will be updated with the final version.