Interactive Design: My First Time Designing an App

See how I designed an app and the processes/methods used to help me.

Beginning My Events

I designed an app which would help people find events. This was my first time designing an app. In the beginning, I started out in a team. We needed to come up with a good app idea first. We brainstormed as a team and came up with an events app.

We wanted to create an events app because there are many people who want to find events and also advertise events. There are so many events a person can go to but there’s not an easy way for them to find them. Other programs like Facebook provide a way to find and advertise events but it could use some improvements. The improvements could be in being able to find events by geographical location and type of event.

Once we had our idea, we were ready to begin research. We used a few methods to research our target audience which we decided was youth(12–17) and young adults(18–24). After we had our target audience, we came up with a problem and vision statement. Our problem statement was, youth and young adults need help finding certain type of events and find them locally. Then our vision statement for the app was,

An app to provide a way to find events easier based on geographic location.

Research

Once we had our target audience, problem and vision statement, we ready to begin our research to see if our problem or vision statement needed to be revised. We used three different methods to do our research.

Provisional Personas

We first created a couple of provisional personas. We created one persona for youth and one for young adults. This gave us a chance to think and helped us get an understanding of the behaviors, needs and goals of our possible future users.

Example persona

Based off the provisional personas, we were then able to narrow more into what requirements we had for our app. These were the requirements we decided on:

  • Finding local events for group
  • Categorize events to help users find specific ones
  • Use users’ contacts as a way to invite
  • Search for events through zip code and phone’s GPS
  • Allow for user to organize events they’re interest in or going to

Interview

We were then ready to go out into the field and interview real possible future users and see what they thought. For our interview questions, since we had a target audience and an idea of who would actually use our app, we created screener questions. This made it so we could be more efficient and focus on those who would really be interested in our app. We wanted to interview people who were in our target audience’s age group and would attend events at least a couple times a month or more.

After our team interviewed everyone, we came up with a summary and came back to our vision statement to see if it needed to be revised. We decided most youth and young adults need help finding inexpensive events that aren’t more than 1 hour away. Most youth and young adults are going to events with their friends and are typically doing casual get togethers at places like the movies, bowling, or at someone’s house. The second most popular event are community events.

The data showed our vision statement was good but we should add organization of the cost since most people are looking for events which are inexpensive. This is why it’s so important to really interview and get to know future users, they’re the ones who really know what they want.

Competitive/Comparative Analysis

Once that was complete we also did a competitive/comparative analysis of other event apps which were already created. This helped us see the competition and how our app could improve or be different from the others. We found the apps we compared we’re all pretty good at listing events. There was a struggle with searching and finding specific type of events though. We would recommend creating an app which had the ability to find events based off of location but it better organized and more specified searches.

Creating personas, interviewing, and doing comparisons was helpful to do before we separated to design the apps on our own. We got a better sense of our vision and what needed to be included for the app to be successful. It gave us ideas we hadn’t thought of yet.

Designing My Events

We created designs individually for class purposes. Before I began, I created a flow chart of all the pages I’d need and how I’d want people to access those pages.

Design Flow Chart

Once I had an idea of all the pages, I was ready to start designing. The next photos are the designs I came up with and notes which show the purpose of each part of the design.

Testing

After I designed, I was ready to test it. I created a prototype using Invision, which you can check out here.

I selected my test groups based off of my target users. I wanted both a male and female from each user group. I wanted the last one to be in the middle of the two so I selected a 19 year old. I wanted to get both groups so I could check and make sure it was usable for both age groups and to see how their results differed.

I conducted my testing by having the users open the app prototype on their phones. I explained what the app was for and how the prototype worked. I then went through each task one at a time timing each one to see how long it took for them to complete

The tasks included:
Task 1: Seach for an event
Task 2: Find the cheapest music event for this weekend and add it to your calendar
Task 3: Export an event to your calendar

I decided on my tasks based off of features which were in my prototype but weren’t in the other event apps I looked at. I wanted to see if how I designed it made it easier to find events while also being easy to understand and use.

From my tests, I found everyone was able to complete each task. Task 1 was fairly simply for everyone to figure out. A lot were looking for the search icon at the top though rather than at the bottom so it took them a second to figure that out.

On Task 2, it took most users a bit to figure out the navigation. Once they did one drop down menu though they figured it out pretty quick after that.

Task 3 was probably the easiest task for everyone to complete and no one had any troubles.

Conclusion

I learned that the design is usable and understandable. It could use a few tweaks to make it more quick for users to understand. For example, I may rearrange some of the icons, specifically the search bar since more people are accustomed to having it at the top of their screens. I also want to keep tweaking the drop down menus so they’re quicker to understand for users. I also may want to rearrange them as well.

Lastly, in future models, I want to add a way for people to connect with friends. A lot of the users made a comment about wanting to use the app but would like to be able to share and invite friends to the events they find as well.

Creating an app can seem overwhelming, but when you break things down, get to know your users, and do testing, creating an app can be a great experience.

Ashley Stephenson is a student in the Digital Media program at Utah Valley University, Orem Utah, studying Interaction & Design. The following article relates to Mobile App Design in the DGM 2240 Interaction Design and representative of the skills learned.

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