What’sOut? Mobile App Case Study

Christopher Hult
6 min readJan 18, 2022

Project Overview

What’sOut? Mobile App — Home Page

The product:

  • What’sOut? is a trailer-browsing mobile app for movie theaters in Detroit, MI that gives the user, a potential moviegoer, the opportunity to watch the trailer for a movie playing in theaters.
  • What’sOut? targets casual to frequent moviegoers, and presents plotlines, genres, and a movie’s cast to make the decision-making process easier for moviegoers.

Project duration:

June 2021

The problem:

Not enough information about a movie while buying a ticket is an obstacle for moviegoers, and risks a suboptimal experience at the theaters

The goal:

Design a movie trailer browsing app to attract customers to the movie theater, and to prepare moviegoers with sufficient information of the movies playing

My role:

Completed successful end-to-end process for the What’sOut? mobile app from conception to delivery

Responsibilities:

  • Conducting interviews
  • Creating paper & digital wireframing
  • Low and high-fidelity prototyping
  • Conducting usability studies
  • Accounting for accessibility, and iterating on designs

Understanding the User

Summary:

  • I conducted interviews and created empathy maps to understand users and their needs
  • User groups identified through research ranged from film students, casual moviegoers, and working parents of teens
  • Research revealed potential moviegoers rely on resources including the cast and plot, in addition to the trailer
  • Usability studies confirmed initial assumption that users rely on familiarity with icons when completing common/frequent tasks, such as online checkout

Pain Points:

  1. Not enough information about movies available when buying tickets
  2. Trailer/plot synopsis is not always effective in attracting customers to the theaters
  3. Seat selection process for movie theaters is not consistent

Persona:

Problem statement:

Ian is a film student & frequent moviegoer who needs a convenient way to view what a movie is about because he wants to make sure his friends and classmates will enjoy it.

User Journey Map:

Mapping Ian’s journey revealed how helpful it would be for users to have movie information available to them as they view movie tickets.

Starting the Design

What’sOut? — Paper Wireframes

A simple design was planned for the What’sOut? home screen that offered the user cast & showtime information.

Digital Wireframes:

Digital Wireframe — What’sOut? Home Page
  • As the initial design phase continued, I started with rough placements of additional movie information to determine what information is actually helpful for users during their movie selection process
  • I wanted to explore the use of promotional material like movie posters in my design to attract users and create an enjoyable user experience
Digital Wireframe — Seat Selection
  • Designing an easy seat selection process was a key user need to address in the designs
  • This page offers a clearly defined seating chart, with the screen properly labelled, to prevent dissatisfaction at the movie theater with a chosen seat

Low-Fidelity Prototype:

Link to What’sOut? Mobile App Lo-Fi Prototype — 1st Iteration

The primary user flows I connected were selecting seats and purchasing tickets, so the prototype could be tested in a usability study

Usability Studies

  • I conducted three rounds of usability studies
  • Findings from the first study on low-fidelity wireframes helped guide the next iterations for wireframes and mockups
  • The second and third studies used a high-fidelity prototype and revealed what aspects of the mockups needed refining

Round 1 Findings:

Usability studies on low-fi prototype

  1. Users want more information than a trailer when deciding on a movie to see
  2. Users want familiarity on certain processes, like checkout and seat selection
  3. Users want to be notified once task is completed

Round 2 Findings

Usability studies on hi-fi prototype

  1. Too many confirmation screens during checkout
  2. Users need an option to return home during seat selection

Round 3 Findings

Usability studies on second iteration of hi-fi prototype

  1. Familiar process makes checkout easier
  2. Users found the option to view a movie’s cast helpful
  3. Users found the design for the seat selection process very clean and easy to follow
  4. A majority of users would prefer the option to press play to view a movie trailer than have it play automatically as you scroll

Mockups

  • Early designs showed movie information up front with an automated video feature similar to TikTok, but insight from usability studies found this distracting, and potentially overwhelming
  • During my mockups, I built on this insight, and gave the user the option to press play on the trailer to account for accessibility concerns
  • Mockups also included redesigns for the home screen to show the trailer and plot, and created buttons for cast and showtimes
What’sOut? Home Page — Low-Fi Design & High-Fi Mockup
  • Research also revealed user pain points during the seat confirmation flow, with users feeling there were a lot of confirmation screens
  • This user flow was the focus of the following reiteration phase
  • I created a pop-up after the user selects seats to guide user to the next screen, as well as design changes to call to action buttons
What’sOut? Seat Selection Mockup
What’sOut? Mockups — LTR: Date Confirmation screen, Seat Confirmation screen, Checkout screen

High-Fidelity Prototype

High-fidelity prototype for the What’sOut? app presented the user flows for:

  • Buying tickets
  • Selecting showtimes
  • Choosing seats
  • Ordering online
Link for What’sOut? Mobile App High-Fidelity Prototype

Accessibility Considerations

  1. Redesigned trailer-browsing feature on the home page to allow the user the option to push play, in an effort to reduce distractions the user experiences engaging with the app
  2. Used detailed imagery for movie theater screen & seats to help all users better understand the seat layout
  3. Used icons to make navigation easier

Takeaways

Impact:

The What’sOut? mobile app offers potential moviegoers resources about a movie in the same app they would use to purchase tickets

User quotes after second iteration usability studies:

“I feel like this app can make it so much easier to buy movie tickets. I can see everything I need through the screens here.”

“The design makes it feel like a movie theater. And the lettering is old-timey. I like it for browsing movie trailers.”

“I like having the choice to play a trailer. I feel like there could be a lot of different kinds of movies and they could clash. Like if I wanted to go and see something funny, like a comedy, I wouldn’t want to be scrolling and see something scary or dramatic. So, personally, I think this is nice.”

What I learned:

  • Simple and familiar designs are sometimes the most effective
  • Strong analysis and synthetization of research uncovered during usability studies are necessary for each iteration of design

Next Steps

  • Conduct another round of usability studies to validate whether the pain points users have experienced have been effectively addressed
  • Explore opportunities for accessible design
  • Conduct more user research to determine any new areas of need

Let’s Connect!

Thank you for taking the time to review my work on the What’sOut? trailer-browsing app! If you’d like to get in touch or see more, please take a look at my contact information below.

Christopher Hult

UX Designer

Email: christopherjosephhult@gmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopher-hult-05a962116

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Christopher Hult

UX Designer based in Los Angeles, CA with interests in theater, pop culture, and people.