WELLNESS APP: User-based research approach to propose and develop a mobile app prototype.

Design Thinking Approach — Case Study

Charlotte Botermans
Jan 21 · 7 min read

During the second week of the UX/UI Bootcamp at Ironhack, and after having worked on two group projects, we were asked to work on our very first individual project. I have to admit it was a little scary and overwhelming to picture myself on my own throughout the process, but then I realized we were all on the same boat and decided to relativize and get down to business rather than loose anymore time overthinking it.

SCOPE

Here are some details about the briefing and the scope of this project. The idea was to propose a new mobile app, designed to support and improve one’s wellness: I chose Physical Wellness. To do so, I based myself on user research to identify an opportunity to develop an app that will improve their day-to-day life.

This project was spread onto 3 days, during which I used the Design Thinking Process to come up with a well-established idea. This led me to developing an application for people willing to be more active physically, but don’t have the time nor the motivation to exercise: “IZIFIT”.

To produce and turn my idea into a functional prototype/design, I first used Sketch to build the Wireframes (the skeleton of the app) and then I used InVision to develop the user flow and make the prototype interactive.

PROCESS

Let me walk you through the process I followed to complete this project. As I mentioned already, I used the Design Thinking framework, which is a solution-based approach, in order to foster innovation but at the same time really answer one’s needs and issues and without going astray.

Design Thinking Framework — Double Diamond

In the first phase of this process (Discover), I conducted some researches going from desk researches to interviews and survey. This allowed me to gather some valuable user insights that I analyzed and synthesized leading me toward the second phase (Define). With all this data about the users and their habits, I was able to identify some issues and needs, as well as my target audience. That done, I stepped into the third phase (Develop), and start ideating on how I could improve my audience’s (potential users) life and address their main issues. I had to think of what features could be included in the app but keeping in mind that these features should suit their needs and not just be “cool”. Therefore, I have built some paper prototypes that I have tested among my target audience so as to collect some feedbacks, and then iterate to improve the design. The last step (Deliver) of the process consisted in building the solution.

1 — DISCOVER: RESEARCHES & RESULTS

So, in order to identify a specific issue, related to Physical Wellness, that I could address, I first interviewed some people. This allowed me to narrow down the topic and led me to focusing on the aspect of Time, as it seemed to be the main blocker for not exercising.

Based on these early findings, I have built a survey, for which I collected 126 responses, aiming to really understand people’s exercising habits and routine, and digging further in uncovering the blockers. Through the survey, I also wanted to see what could help them be more engaged/committed in the process of physical wellness. Indeed, it was of prime importance to have a clear idea of the issues as well as the needs, to turn that into design features later on.

Most of the respondents, although conscious and willing to take care of themselves, mentioned that their main blockers to exercising/workout were the following: Time, Motivation and Laziness.

On top of that, people don’t want having to think of workout routine and they just want to have fun while working out.

Therefore, I was able to identify 3 different needs: busy people want to plan their workouts, set realistic goals and have someone to motivate them.

Then I clustered these findings in groups; issues, needs, and potential solutions, allowing me to have a clearer idea of what features my app would include.

Affinity Diagram — Gather insights and cluster them into groups

2 — DEFINE: USER PERSONA & PROBLEM STATEMENT

Once the results analyzed, synthesized, and clustered into 3 main groups, I decided to create a user persona to really determine the audience I was going to design for. Therefore, based on my researches, I have created Jenna, and she became my reference throughout my entire designing process, in order to stay focus on her frustrations (issues) and her goals (needs).

User Persona

Doing this, really helped me in getting to a clear Problem Statement:

People are willing to take care of themselves physically, but don’t find the time nor the motivation, and don’t want having to think about it.

3 — DEVELOP: SOLUTION, PROTOTYPES & TESTING

That done, I could focus on turning my ideas into answers/solutions to the problem, which led me to stating the purpose of the app.

  • Suggest easy workouts, based on users’ time, preferences and goals,
  • Daily “smart reminders” giving playful challenges (take the stairs rather than the elevator, drink more water, etc.).

All theses aspects would respond to Jenna’s frustrations and goals, as she will be able to set specific goals, schedule her workouts, and enjoy predefined workouts routines based on her time and preferences. On top of that, she will be able to stay active at work while having fun trying to achieve the daily small challenges.

After turning my ideas into features for the app, I started sketching the skeleton of the app, to see how I would incorporate each of them. After a couple of drafts, I build a first paper prototype, and ran some usability tests among a couple of people in order to gather some feedbacks in terms of functionality of the app. Thanks to these multiple tests and iterations, I was able to improve the overall functionality of the app.

Below you can observe two of my paper prototypes on which I have highlighted the issues and updates I have made in red.

Paper Prototype 1
Paper Prototype 2

The main issues consisted in some unclear features, such as the Drag and Drop option and a similar menu (Bubble activity menu) which led to confusion among users. Also the app was missing some buttons for specific scenarios that I had not considered yet.

4— DELIVER: THE FINAL APP

That crucial phase completed, I moved on to designing my final prototype.

The scenario used to develop the prototype is the following:

Pretend you are Jenna, new user to the app, and you want to sign up because you are willing to get fitter but considering you have a full-time job, it is sometimes hard to squeeze in some workouts. You are willing to exercise 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Sunday) and you usually only have 15 minutes available for that. You like Yoga, Dance and to Run. Hopefully, the app should help you achieve your fitness goal by suggesting you easy workouts routine based on all these parameters.

Final Prototype — First 5 screens
Final Prototype — Last 5 screens

The flow basically works as follows, a new user would sign up, then fill in its personal datas, set a specific goal and deadline, then plan and schedule the workouts, and set her preferences in terms of activities. That done, the user is all set and ready to get down to business! So moving to the homepage, the app asks how much time the user has to exercise on that day, and then depending on that, it suggests an easy workout routine. The user can change activity (Yoga, Run, Dance, etc.) at any time and also switch routine within each activity category by swiping left or right. Also, the user can navigate through the app using the menu at the bottom, see its statistics and make changes to its profile.

TAKEAWAYS

To wrap up this post, I will go through the next steps and takeaways of this project.

I believe there is always room for improvement, and therefore, I would have liked to run more tests and iterate further, in order to develop all the features I had in mind and really comply with user expectations.

I really enjoyed developing my ideas based on research results and turning them into a design. Although it was my first solo project, I really liked designing and prototyping from scratch to end up with a semi-finished product.

Lastly, I believe the layout as well as the features could be improved esthetically and functionally. Indeed, I was not able to develop all the features because I lacked time but it would definitely be on the next steps list.

Charlotte Botermans

Written by

UX/UI Designer, previously e-Business Analyst in a Data Driven Digital Media Agency

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