When you’re still a grad student, designing an update that will be pushed to 23,000 monthly active users is terrifying. Especially when your analytics data shows that a solid 80% of app activity is taking place within the module you’re changing.

So how do you make it less scary and avoid having people yell at you on the University of Georgia (UGA) subreddit?*

Research, research, and more research.

*disclaimer: you will be yelled at on Reddit no matter what

Identifying the Problem

Right now the UGA app gives students three options for tracking the bus:

  1. Stops, which shows nearby stops and bus times

Our redesigned MARTA app

Mass adoption of public transportation is a vital step toward respecting our environment. Cutting down on auto traffic is about more than just reduced carbon emissions — it also means less accidental deaths, less wasted land, and increased social empathy.

Atlanta’s MARTA transit system has struggled with attracting new riders in the USA’s 4th most congested city. To help solve the problem, MARTA and Code for Atlanta joined forces to host a hackathon. My team of four decided to step back from code and examine the core user experience of MARTA’s mobile app. …

This summer I was brought aboard my university’s mobile app team as the lead UX designer. Joining a talented team of developers, I jumped right into the deep end. It was an extremely rewarding experience and I couldn’t be more excited to see my designs going out to the app’s more than 23,000 monthly active users.

Our native Android app has always had some bugs, so it’s being rebuilt from the ground up. This presented a great opportunity for us to modernize the experience for Android users.

What’s up, dock?

Last year I cried tears of joy when Google finally brought bottom navigation…

GemQuest VR is a virtual reality game that starts with the player finding themselves on a fantastical island with their fox companion. To destroy the simulation holding the world captive, players will solve puzzles and battle monsters using full motion tracking and a kickass enchanted sword.

As players explore the many worlds of GemQuest VR, they will discover the world’s many secrets as well as a number of gems. Gems augment your sword — giving it new looks and new abilities.

VR: The New Frontier

Virtual reality is a multi-billion dollar industry that is growing at a rapid pace. Big players like Sony, HTC…

Pictured stickers are the adorable “Kittimoji” by Ryan Beck

Chat stickers finally came to Apple’s popular iMessage platform with the release of iOS 10 last September. Since then tens of thousands of sticker packs have been shared on the iMessage app store by brands and independent artists alike.

Creative and relatable sticker packs are fantastic for making any conversation more playful. But the user interface for selecting stickers to use in your messages is clunky and cumbersome.

Day 3 of our in-class sprint

Disruption is a pillar the new age of tech companies are built upon. Through asymmetrical warfare garage startups have upset billion dollar industries. Apple changed the way we use our phones. Airbnb rocked the hotel industry. Uber and Lyft blew up the cab market.

Startups’ possess the power to disrupt through thinking outside the box. Silicon Valley visionaries approach problems in creative ways that traditional firms wouldn’t consider. Sprint, an agile process from Google Ventures’ (GV) Jake Knapp, provides a stellar framework that hits out of left field with proven techniques for innovative ideation and peak efficiency.

“In that first…

Happy Valentine’s! I made some cards for my friends on my Overwatch team today and wanted to share. All art is taken directly from sprays in Blizzard’s game Overwatch unless stated otherwise.

Some in-game sprays from Blizzard’s “Overwatch” (collage by /u/curvedlines)

Lasers zap overhead, your teammate yells to get on the payload, the roar of a dragon sounds off in the distance, you block it out of your mind—you’re trying to choose a cute chibi figure from an unresponsive spray menu.

January 24th saw the release of version 2.04 of “Overwatch” (Blizzard’s popular team shooter) and the debut of a new communication menu. In patch notes this communication menu is described as allowing players to “equip up to 4 emotes, sprays, and voice lines” to their hero.

Prior to this patch heroes were limited to 1 spray, 1 emote, and 1…

Image from Snap Inc.

Augmented reality (AR) is the future of advertising.

It only took me a few seconds in Snapchat’s virtual fitting-room for their new camera-equipped sunglasses, Spectacles, to realize that.

Every marketer’s dream is to tell a compelling story that leads the consumer to imagine themselves with their brand. AR offers the perfect opportunity to see a physical mainifestation of yourself interacting with a brand. Empirical research demonstrates that this leads to higher adoption rates.

Trying on Snap Inc.’s Spectacles is as easy as clicking a link on their website. Then simply open your mouth to swap colorways.

This Goes Beyond Choosing a Color or Size

The act of self-endorsement of seeing yourself wearing a brand is proven…

A recent class project found me redesigning a screen from a popular app that could use a lot of improvement. Naturally I chose perhaps the most popular app to be all-around awful: Pokemon GO. After interviewing users of the app I decided to attack the “Pokemon Select” page. My goals setting out were to increase discoverablity of app features and minimize the time it took users to accomplish their goals in the app.

The original Pokemon Select screen

Users had a lot of things to say about the original screen. With hundreds of Pokemon scrolling to find one was a chore. The act of releasing…

Chalen Duncan

Full stack UX designer in San Francisco. http://chalen.ga

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