Designing the ECHOage app — where Evite meets charity

A birthday party planning service that pools contributions towards a birthday gift and a charity of choice.

My Role

I was the UX Designer project responsible for the experience strategy of designing a native iOS app. From project research to deliverables and client presentation, this was my first solo project for a project with a deadline of 3 weeks.

The Challenge

I was placed with ECHOage to create a presence in the app industry for current users and increase prospective users. With a limited timeframe to go through the full UX methodology, I had to determine how far I can design for this app.

How I approached the Problem

Given the circumstances, I had to quickly and efficiently gather user interviews via phone with existing customers and posted surveys in public Facebook parent groups. I decided to divide my time between the three weeks solely conducting interviews and research for week 1, designing for low fidelity week 2, and completing high fidelity week 3. Of course, overlap of the process was both accepted and positively recieved in order to speed up the process and allow room in the end testing and changes.

In determining how far I was able to take this design, I decided to prioritize and focus on only the primary functionalities for this phase and save the “nice-to-haves” for future phases and consideration.

During the competitive analysis stage, I examined commonalities of primary functions from various invitation apps to help narrow down some essential functions that aligned with the responses from the research data.

What I Discovered

Gathering and compiling the findings into an affinity diagram, I found Teresa Smith and designated her as the primary user. Defining her identity, personality, character and interests, I used this information to guide my design thinking and solutions.

An interesting and key finding of the research is that 70% of users (parents) planned parties in a collaborative effort with their children, while correspondingly 70% conveyed their primary use for ECHOage for charitable giving and eliminating waste and time for the host.

That being said, the existing ECHOage flow has little interaction with children of these birthdays. Their primary and only users are parents who have the responsibility to both organize and plan these parties as well as educate them on the various charities and benefit of ECHOage. Based on these findings I had to determine whether incorporating children into the process was an essential component or not.

Determining the Requirements

When brainstorming a list of features to include, I started out with a big bucket list beyond nice-to-haves including the less than likely to ever developable options. Narrowing down this list, I found essential features needed to ensure functionality for both host and guest users.

Research showed children from as young as one start engaging with technology, and by the age of two are interacting with pressing and swiping motions. Children learn how to communicate and use technology well before they can even speak. Understanding children’s proficient use of technology, I decided to incorporate them into the flow since the average age of organized birthday parties are 4–6 year olds, by this age they can comprehend and be excited for their birthdays.

Tackling the fundamentals of planing and organize to include children as part of the user flow and charity aspect, it maintains ECHOage’s differentiating factor to discern the app from competitors as well.

Designs concentrating on flow and incorporating all the basic components to ensuring this app is functional.

Receiving approval from clients of the general flow and features I proceeded to play around with the UI to emphasize the user experience of ECHOage aiming to create a sense of playful and surprising delights for users in addition to engagement of children so they feel involved with the ECHOage process.

With engaged birthday goer’s, they feel a stronger sense of the impact of their birthdays when selecting the charities to contribute. The goal is also to reinforce the value of their contributions so they can also feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. My solution for this is incorporating children’s personal profiles to give space for them to feel they are part of the process and engaged with the service. Their personal profiles provide a space for them to view their acomplishments indicating the dollar amount impact of their contributions. It is also a space detailing the countdown of days until their next birthday so they remain excited and allow for spontaneous engagement with the app.

Placement of information in hierarchal order exploring charities as secondary to allow users to browse and learn about the various charities they can contribute. The value of this information as secondary information on the homepage is so parents can be assisted in the process of selecting and educating their children of the various charities.

A critical function incorporated to the flow that doesn’t currently exist in the ECHOage process is to allow event organizers ease of uploading a picture from their album to be used as the event card itself. This allows users to personalize an invitation and lessens the need for external work on designs as an advantage for the business model.

UI & Colour Considerations

Utilizing the colour palette of the company’s original assets, I played around with tones in search of combinations more fitting for purposes of an app while maintaining the context of a playful feel and visual appeal. The fixed bottom menu footer in icons to reinforce friendly, fun, and child-friendly tone. Descriptions are below so users can be acquainted with these icons easier to avoid any potential confusion.

Green colours are the primary CTA’s consistant with ECHOage’s original assets which also imply motion or proceeding onto next steps.

Next Steps

Designs have been handed over to the owners of ECHOage as they assess with their budget as to whether the app is a desired product at this point and whether there is substantial benefit increasing user signup and engagement.

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