The many mistakes I made during my Strava Redesign Project

In the fall of 2017, I committed to becoming a UX Designer. I enrolled myself into Brainstation’s part-time UX Design course to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. The main assignment consisted of choosing a topic and completing a design project from start to end. This is my experience as I completed the different stages and the many mistakes I made. A wise jedi once said, “The greatest teacher, failure is”

Starting with a Question

Choosing a topic is always unnecessarily difficult. You want to choose an idea that you enjoy but you want your project be meaningful and challenging as well. I decided to focus on fitness and healthy living since I had started being more active in my own life. I really enjoy how social interaction and fitness complement each other and so I created a set of interview questions to understand this topic more. After conducting a couple of interviews, I had started to get recurring patterns of behavior but I wasn’t really getting insight on my problem statement of “How might we promote fitness through social engagement”.

More research Needed

If I was going to improve the onboarding process for Strava, I needed to conduct external research to become more knowledgeable and have a well-rounded understanding of this topic.

Every app performs the basic function of recording your run and different levels of goal setting are available with a premium membership.

Finding an answer

By now, you’re probably wondering, “when is he going to actually start sketching out solutions?”. It’s true I had completed a lot of research and I feel it really did help me understand the design process and what it meant to design for a purpose.

Sketching a Solution

When it comes to actually sketching, I feel many people get stuck at this point for two reasons. They arrive here too quickly and all they have is a blank canvas looking back at them not knowing how to start or what to do first. The second reason, which even I’m guilty of sometimes, is wanting it to look good the first time. Sketching is about the process and you can’t be afraid of it looking messy. Through the rapid drawing and iterating, you figure out which ideas are good and your design evolves.

Start really simple and add more detail as you iterate
My paper prototype made using the Marvel app
Final working prototype

Testing

Learning from my past mistakes during user testing, I clearly defined two tasks that I wanted users to complete and made sure to have multiple hotspots and paths that the user could take to make it realistic. When it comes to conducting interviews, it’s important that the person giving feedback is given appropriate instructions and context on what’s going on. People may refrain from giving honest feedback as they don’t want to offend your work so it’s important to let them know that you want any and all input. Thankfully, I was provided a script that was very helpful in how to introduce the topic and how to make the user feel comfortable giving useful feedback. My first user started off great and when they got confused, I would let them know what the purpose of the screen should be and they clicked the appropriate buttons finishing to the end of the full prototype quickly. After they finished, I asked what they thought and it was clear that they didn’t understand the purpose of some features and they had just clicked away.

Conclusion

It was a great learning experience to go through all the stages of the ux design process. From the beginning to the end; my idea, my design, my thought process changed a lot through the continual feedback and it resulted in a refined solution that meets the needs of the user better than anything I could have designed without the external input. As you can see, I made a lot of obvious mistakes but I did my best to understand my failure and what lessons I can learn from the experience.

The original workflow
The new workflow I created

Passionate about product design, mindfulness, personal finance. https://itshimesh.com

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