Lean UX — Rapid Prototype

Mobile, Project 1

My first project was an exercise in rapid prototyping. I was assigned ‘food’ as a conceptual playground. My role in this project included conducting user research, data synthesis, prototyping and usability testing. In order to fulfill this role, I needed to schedule and conduct interviews, analyze data from interviews by creating affinity maps and use that data to construct wireframes and structure content. I then created a POP rapid prototypes and implemented user testing before iterating upon the design.

Objective

Create a working prototype using rapid prototyping methods.

Opportunity

I took the opportunity to explore the topic of food by conducting user research to identify common pain points of food in general.

Problem Statement

“I’m so busy that I want to simplify my food related processes to save time for other things.”

Goal

Consolidate multiple dining habits on one app platform with streamlined processes and integration.

Conducting User Research

My target market consisted of young professionals between the ages of 20-30 who have a college education and typically work 45+ hours a week.

My first step in conducting user research was to prepare a boiler-plate draft of scripted questions to use at my interviews that I could later modify.

I began conducting scripted interviews with the intention of discovering common food problems with mobile users. I transcribed each interview in real time using my laptop. Following each interview, I summarized my findings as “I statements” and made note of the three most memorable things from each interview.

In order to find my files in the future, I set up a file structure and naming convention interview_name_date.doc

Synthesizing User Research

After my initial interviews, I created affinity diagrams to synthesize user research and found patterns within the qualitative data. I photographed trends as I went along the process and began documenting the strongest groups in a spreadsheet for later use.

I synthesized user research three times between five interviews and found new trends emerge with each additional dataset.

Feature Ideation

Feature ideation began while sorting affinity diagrams. I began making note of possible Information Architecture (IA) and wireframes as inspiring trends emerged.

Initial look at IA. I don’t usually abbreviate words like “are” and “you” but I needed to get this all down quickly.

I re-evaluated initial wireframes and IA in the context of the emerging trends of pains pleasures contexts and behaviors.

At this point I determined that users should be able to order meals, groceries and make reservations all from the same app.

Trends related to mobile app use informed me of which signifiers target market would be familiar with.

Wireframes

Once feature ideation was over, I reviewed the low fidelity wireframes conceived during Affinity Mapping and iterated new low fidelity wireframes including the ideated features developed at the previous stage. I challenged myself to draw each wireframe within 90 second time blocks.

Pages of my sketchbook featuring 21, 90-second wireframes (give or take a few seconds)

After sketching all of the wireframes for the app, I used POP (prototyping on paper) to build a rapid prototype of this app.

Usability Testing

Objective: Test interface interactions with a series of tasks to see if users complete their tasks quickly.

Test Parameters:

What: Prototype version 1
Who: Young professionals between age 20–30 who regularly work 10+hrs overtime.
Where: Home of the working professional.

Test Tasks:

1.Find a restaurant to eat at with some friends.
2.Have food sent to your home.
3.Find instructions for cooking that fit your timeframe.

Stillframe of the user test video. Watch the video and use this password: uxdivimeo

I tested a low fidelity prototype myself to check mapping functionality. Once I was satisfied with the control mapping, I sketched high-fidelity wireframes and built a second prototype so that users can understand the task flow.

Results from the contextual inquiry showed the user had an easy time completing the 3 main tasks assigned with little confusion.

For testing I used the hugging method, where the user tests the app in front of a laptop with the camera facing away from their body and at their phone. (this works best with a dual screen set up)

I read each scenario to the user and took notes during the process.

Feedback

The user wanted a familiar confirmation that the task completion was acknowledged outside of the app itself. For restaurants, they wanted an email confirmation. For grocery or deliver purchases, they wanted to see that their credit card had been charged via sms or email according to their preference. One other comment was that the user couldn’t tell which screen afforded scrolling.

Results

The first user test stated that the app mostly worked as expected and expressed interest in using this app once it was created. Upon reviewing the video, I noticed that the user couldn’t understand which screens afforded scrolling past the page fold. I learned that the user needs a signifier indicative of the ability to scroll or swipe.

What still puzzles me is how this app is going to function on the back-end to integrate with other apps to access user preferences and if the concept for this app is at all possible. I plan on talking to a developer.

I found it most surprising that while some users eat by themselves on some nights, every user considers eating a social activity and express more positive emotions when referring to social eating.

This project was of interest to me because I feel like part of this market, and it seems that among this target market, the scale of work life balance is always tipping toward work.

Next Steps

Next time I want to use speech recognition software to document interactions so as to avoid awkward pauses for note taking and interruptions.

-Conduct more user testing in the consumer market both in-person and remotely

-Create high-fidelity mockups exploring features that users are familiar with.

-Create visual design

-Conduct user research on the business end

-Implement feedback changes

-Talk to developers

-Consider getting funding/investors

-Assemble a team/Find partners

-Prepare investor pitch

-Add a call-restaurant feature for dine out experience

-Develop monetization strategy for the app