MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE APP
It was May of 2012 when my family and I went to the theaters to watch The Avengers film. I had seen the previous films that led up to this superhero mashup so I had a pretty good idea who everyone was. However, I remember my father asking me questions like “Andy, who is the guy with bow and arrow?” or “Andy, who’s the guy with the scepter that just jumped out of that space portal?” (Shhh! We’re in the theater..). I whispered in his ear a quick explanation feeling the eyes of the people sitting in the row behind us burn on my neck. I couldn’t really blame him for not knowing some things as I had trouble remembering the events from the earlier Captain America movie that brought Steve Rogers brought back to modern times for the Avengers film.
Marvel movies have been extremely popular in the last decade. Who doesn’t love seeing the comics come to life as we see our favorite heroes such as Captain America and Iron Man kicking butt? Undeniably, there has been a ton of movies that Marvel Studios has released and for the fanatic fans and even more so for casual Marvel movie watchers, knowing exactly what, who, and why something happens can be difficult without remembering details from past movies. I found that there needed to be a way for fans, fanatic or casual, to know the story and details of the Marvel Cinematic Universe up until whichever Marvel film they are watching.
Before I did any designing, I conducted a competitive analysis on any existing apps that might already accomplish the need I found. On the App Store, there is an app called Star Wars Fandom. This app was designed so that users can search up almost anything about Star Wars and get a very detailed and often verbose explanation of it.
A lot of the information listed isn’t related to the plot or story of the movie, and I knew that cutting the non movie related facts and just providing succinct, easily readable information would allow a fast and easy refreshment or explanation for whatever was searched and also set me apart from databases such as Wiki (also very verbose).
Using Sketch, I designed the prototype of the app, starting with a mockup of the search screen and the screen of the the item that would show when tapped/clicked from the listed search results.
In this case, it was Vibranium that the user “looked up”. I also designed the login screen to give users a feel of what it would be like to log in.
Using the two screens I had, I conducted a user test with my dad and my suite mate who knew about mobile app design. My dad pointed out that the information was concise and clear, but that the page lacked interactivity. I didn’t worry too much about the criticism as all I wanted was feedback on the information display. My suite mate appreciated the little designs and attention to detail, but recommended that I use a tab system application since he saw that there would an inconvenience going from screen X to the home screen to screen Y, just using the back button. With that great feedback, I designed the tabs.
As I am taking this project solo, I decided to develop this app on mobile using xCode and Swift as the language. Although it isn’t completely finished yet, the work moves forward as I will conduct more user tests and implement new/missing features based on feedback.
In all, the design process for this project was and is a rather fun one, as I am a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. To find a problem and develop a service to meet needs for something I have great interest in brings me happiness, as I am reminded that the design process can be for anything in this world.