Project 1: User Interview and Rapid Prototyping

Working with Zoé, a Teacher’s Assistant in General Assembly in London, I had to create an App that would solve a problem in her life.

Client

Zoé Guiraudon, Teacher Assistant in General Assembly (London)

Project Time

3 days

Techniques Used

  • Interview
  • Concept Map
  • Storyboard
  • Task flow
  • Competitor analysis
  • User flow
  • Participatory design
  • Interactive screen flows
  • Clickable prototype

Part 1: Identifying and analysing the Problem

The idea for this project was to learn more about a fellow student, identify a problem he was facing in any area of his life and create an app that would solve this issue. I started interviewing a student in class, which later ended up dropping off after the 1st day. I would not be able to carry on with the project without a client, since the whole idea is to have a User Centred Design for the app.

Lucky I could change client and I restarted the interview with Zoé.

Interview

I conducted an interview with Zoé, starting with simple demographic questions, for example name, age, origin and address. This helped me break the ice and change the tone of the interview throughout the interview. This was a good way to make Zoé feel comfortable and opened to speak more about her life.

During my first interview with Zoé, I was able to learn her everyday issues.

By sketching out a concept map of the interview I was able to identify key words which led to an opportunity: Zoé’s will to explore trends in all of her interests.

Even though there were many areas that could be explored for a creation of an app to help Zoé, I was able to isolate and focus on one major area that covered everything.

Concept Map

Zoé loves searching for trends that have not been revealed (in this case we will be calling trends with little buzz or pre-trends) and exploring different unknown places. To do this, she uses many different apps to find trends in specific interests but show a very long texts and Zoé wants to learn about these new trends faster to be able to gather more information. Apps with a broad variety of theme choices end up showing news that are already a trend, which is not acceptable for her will to finding pre-trends.

Storyboard & Task Flow (As-Is)

Sketching a Storyboard of the As-Is scenario made me understand better Zoé’s frustration with her problem. In the image below on the left are three scenarios (One in each row) showing Zoé’s frustration with the apps she already has.

A Task flow made me see the process in which Zoé deals with exploring for new trends. As seen below, the process is complicated, long and she does not get to satisfying result.

Storyboard (left) Task flow (right) of the As-Is Scenario

Competidor Analysis

Looking at actual apps that Zoé uses, like Medium, Asos, Spotify, I was able analyse their pros and cons and keep the best features from them. One example, is the estimated time to read an article. This will make Zoé choose whether or not she wants to read the article, due to how much spare time she has.

Problem

The two problems that should be solved using the app are:
1. Most of the apps show things she might already know or that is already a trend.
2. In the apps she already uses, the articles are too long and she gets bored easily.

Part 2: Construction of the Possible Solution

Once I was able to determine the real main problem, I could focus my work on a possible solution.

Storyboard and User-flow To-Be

Using a storyboard to visualize how Zoé would react to an app with a possible solution, made me feel the empathy with the problem being solved.

Reading and reviewing through the User flow where the scenario showed the implementation of the app instead of the various apps that Zoé would use, made me understand the problem better and focus on the right question in the task-flow. Finding a solution for the core problem would make the app more efficient therefore, searching for news within the other apps, that have the least views.

Storyboard of the scenario after the proposed solution app
User flow with the proposed solution app

Participatory design

The user centred design concept made made me include Zoé in the process of sketching the App’s interface, which would end up being the main reference for the current version of the app.

Sketches and notes from Zoé for the app

Sketches & Paper Prototyping

The first sketches from the app’s interface had problems on what features to focus to solve the actual problem that was to find the trends with “little buzz”. For this, the app would gather all the news from all the other apps that Zoé uses and organize them in order, from least read to most read. In this feed the article appears as a summary and the information of the estimated time the user will take to read the article, together with an icon informing if the article comes with media, example: music or video. Testing with a paper prototype made me see an opportunity to make the app understand who Zoé is and her real interests. With a simple option of ‘yes or no’ to the articles that appear in the feed. This means that the more Zoé uses the app, the better the app will work for her.

Clickable Prototyping

The clickable prototype made it easier to test the app with different subjects, placing them in a “real” scenario and getting data that is closer to the final usage. For testing, the option gesture of swiping was changed for tapping for the users not to get stuck and actually try all the features of the app. This made me rethink on other possibilities for the gesture.

An example of a possible iteration after testing the clickable prototype with Zoé and Sia: Changing the swiping gesture to tapping like most apps available. The main action the users tried was always tapping instead of swiping.

Impact and Results

In the end of the 3 days I was able to deliver a possible app solution that met the expectations of Zoé according to her interview and analysis. You can test the clickable prototype in the following link:

https://popapp.in/w/projects/56a0e64a6e09381a42f54eca/preview

Now with the app clickable prototype, I have found more paths to be explored for the final product to be better.

  • Finding a name for the app.
  • Using the Tapping or Swipe gestures.
  • Adding a step-by-step registration setup.

Please let me know what you think and thank you for the reading.

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