Retrospective 1 — Fitness Finder
Going into UX Design i had only one expectation: it would be a breeze.
Gossiping and troubleshooting; this course would be a cakewalk.
It has been a week now and i’ve obviously underestimated the simplicity of the UX design process.
I was tasked to design a mobile application that would ease the pains that my users(read: classmates) are currently experiencing in the aspect of fitness.
I did 2 rounds of interviews.
In the preliminary interview, i was impulsive, i asked leading questions and came up with superficial solutions to each pain point of each of my users. I planned to make an app that solved ALL their problems simultaneously. Obviously this isn't logistically viable in real life. Eventually i learnt the distinction between fixing a problem and improving the users situation all together. UX design is all of the latter.
I subsequently adopted a more systematic approach, started off with a mind-map for all the topics i wanted to cover in my interviews. From there i listed all the WWWWHW questions i wanted to ask, and then further sorted them into more engaging categories so i wouldn't bore my interviewees half to death.
Next step i organized the information i collated and placed them on post-its so i could start an affinity map. Affinity mapping sounded pointless initially, why not just use my mind palace? But, after seeing all the pain points laid out physically, organizing and sorting the information was a lot more accurate and efficient. It should be noted that i had A LOT(read: half) of post-its unused. I.E. i wrote a ton of useless factoids on post-its from my interviews that had nothing to do with user experience. Examples include: “user plays left forward position for soccer” and “user dislikes getting a bad spot in exercise class”.
Then it was the actual design of the application using Sketch, which really took me aback. Finding the wrong template made my app design looks repulsive and discouraging. I took a moment to contemplate my life and the decisions that led me to begin a profession that was completely foreign to me.
Past the small existential breakdown i managed to find a template that didn't make me want slit the metaphorical wrists of my project. Eventually i birth my first design child. And like every parent who has ever boasted of their very cute baby(read: all babies look the same), i loved my project as if i carried it around in my man-womb for the duration of nine full moons. Though, deep down i knew this kid was gonna need a ton of cosmetic surgery growing up. I.E. i had to get better at my design craft, colour choices, floating notification effects, logo design, font snobbing and basic sketch know-how.
After which i used invision to upload a click-and-direct prototype of my app which is basically a workout-buddy-finder, aptly named “Fitness Finder”. There i realised i had to recolour all my sketch artboard’s background to white. It was initially transparent and would take on the black background on invision. That would have thrown all my colour schemes off track. Also, i realised my pop up notification windows had hideous borders. So, i edited them and re-uploaded the screens. Bless the soul who created invision. It’s so end-user friendly i had no issues when it came to editing the artboards and re-uploading them.
Fast forward to the presentation i showcased my project like a mother defending her child on popular TV series “Dance Moms”. I loved my project despite its obvious flaws and defended all my autocratic decisions. Obviously this was not the way it should have worked as can be seen in countless historical examples of despotic leaders getting overthrown.
As such i wish now to address all the problems that required answers instead of defensive comebacks:
Lack of social media aspect: my head was inflated and i wanted this project to be special and starkly mine. I didn't want to compete with facebook or instagram because — uh, inevitable downfall? It’s not that i didn't want to include a social media aspect, it’s that i couldn't come up with a social media aspect that would set my child apart from the crowd. My attempt at contesting the current social media status was the attendance percentage meter. Though i’ve yet to think through the motivation for users to value the percentage meter or participate in it altogether. KIV.
Sign up necessity: As a personal advocate of “NO SIGN UP SILLINESS”, i admit there is little benefit for my app to have a sign in. Short of only for the communication aspect of my app in future iterations. It would eventually have a messaging system so users can leave messages on where and when to meet etc.
Future iterations: Allowing users to favourite “found buddies” to re-invite them for future workouts. Allowing users to use a repeat function for listing their activities so they wont have to re-list an activity that they repeatedly perform.
Looking back, the part of the design process i enjoyed the most was the communication i had with users and brainstorming solutions to their pain points. I love tinkering, so hearing about problems and coming up with solutions gives me immense satisfaction. That being said, this project gave me minimal satisfaction. It still felt controlled, like an experiment, like i was still in the comforts of a school project. I interviewed people i knew, there was no approach apprehension, i discussed issues that had simple solutions. I came up with a problem statement that was easy for me to solve, but most probably did not improve my users’ experience. To be fair, this was the introductory week to my UX design course but i’m already looking forward to the last project where i get to work in a real life situation. Of course, i would have to have improved my entire user experience research skill set.
Until then, you’ll just have to check back here regularly with updates on my journey.
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