Kudoz Host App Case Study
This case study discusses the methods and design of a team of students from RED Academy in Vancouver. Our team consists of 5 UX/UI students working to develop the design for a native iOS app.
Kudoz has a website that connects adults with cognitive disabilities, or “Kudoers”, with people who host “experiences”, or hour long activities that range from bread making to civil policy history. While Kudoz has website, as well as an app for the Kudoer, there was no app for hosts. Kudoz requested an app specifically for hosts to use for booking and managing experiences and communicating with Kudoers. They were also focused on improving host retention, increasing host views to Kudoer profiles, and better facilitation of host feedback.
As this app is exclusively for hosts, and Kudoz wanted to increase retention, but not increase members, our users were the existing Kudoz hosts.
The bulk of research was interviewing. We were given a list of current hosts who would be willing to talk with us, and luckily we were able to talk with several of them over the phone.
We found that the concerns expressed by the hosts were very similar to the ones expected by Kudoz. They all struggled with the current communication system — a mix of desktop messaging with email duplicates.
“There are a lot of little puzzle pieces that come into play… It seems like when I sent a message through Kudoz there always this sort of delay.”
The hosts were also concerned about providing a quality experience, but were uncertain of how to verify that and how to improve.
“I have no idea if I am making quality experiences, I have no feedback on lessons.”
The also expressed a desire to be more connected to others in Kudoz. Either other hosts or just like minded people.
“[Hosting] makes me feel more apart of the community. I wish I could meet more like minded people, that would be fantastic.”
We found that while the type of experience was very different for each person, overall goals and motivations were common. We used this to inform our user persona, “Nancy”.
● Social connections
● Increase diversity in personal life
● Giving back to the community
● Escape work life
Key goals of our persona:
● Develop personal interests outside and unrelated to work life
● Create high quality lessons
● Keep in touch with other members of Kudoz
● Manage experiences more effectively
Even with the persona, we wanted to understand our user better. As a team, Kudoz allowed us to host our own experience. We went through the process of booking, meeting, hosting, and giving feedback as hosts. This mainly confirmed our data. For example, we had a hard time meeting up with our Kudoer. Since we had to use the website to communicate it was tricky to check the website while we needed to be at the street corner to rendezvous.
Hosting also added new insights, specifically the difficulty of staying on time. Our experience went well over an hour, as we lost track of time from when we actually started. We also didn’t know much about him beforehand. The Kudoers all have online profiles with videos and information about how they learn best, but the link is at the bottom of an email, which we didn’t notice. Knowing more about our Kudoer would have been very helpful for hosting.
With this information we were able to look at how a host might use our app and for what purposes. A tool we used to better understand our user was a storyboard. This story walked us through a few problems with the current booking system and some issues our host has with them.
From research and storyboarding, we compiled the major pain points our hosts deal with regularly.
Hosting Pain Points
- Host-Kudoer Communication — in the current Kudoz hosting experience, messages are sent on the website AND via email, which creates confusion on which email was the last received or if the host has all the current messages.
- Device jumping — As the current hosting applications rely on the website or email, it conflicts with the device they use the most, their phone! Hosts are using multiple devices for different tasks and are having to create their own work arounds, for instance, getting Kudozer’s personal phone numbers and going outside the Kudoz system to communicate.
- Who’s My Kudoer? — We found most people don’t see the email link to see their Kudoer profile, so when they host, they don’t know enough about their Kudoer to plan a custom experience. Managing Experience — All the host we talked to wanted to improve the quality of their experiences, but also expressed concerns about keeping track of them. As with Nancy in our story, hosts are concerned about missing crucial information to their hosting experience.
So we wanted to solve these pain points in the design of our app. We looked at the actions that needed to take place and developed several user flows around these actions, specifically the booking flow, event flow, and feedback flow.
We decided that the key features needed were a messaging system, a calendar for booking, profiles, and experience profiles. We also wanted a specific mode we called “Experience Mode”. This would be activated the day of scheduled events and include a timer, shortcut to the user profile, a shortcut to an emergency contact, and a camera link, so the host can take photos to share with Kudoz. Once the experience has been hosted it, the phone goes into a feedback form.
As we sketched out these features, we tried to test a much as possible along the way. Paper prototypes were very helpful in checking usability and finding issues.
These paper prototype testing moved into medium fidelity wireframes, allowing our UI members to really start designing the overall look, while we continued to tweak designs. With a site map of the wireframe screens, we started testing the whole app.
Our first tests with wireframes helped us make sure there was a connection between sections. While the wireframes were rough, they were clear enough that our test subjects had very little problem navigating through the app. We did however make some changes to the scope.
First Round of Iteration
- Removed the experience creation form — would require major changes to the website as well
- Added the ability to add photos during feedback
- Streamlined feedback process
Our second round of testing was even more effective as we were able to test with one of the hosts. While we explained the process to people, it was interesting to see how an actual host would find it. We used the following scenario to test:
Nancy has a tough time keeping track of her Kudoz activities because of her busy schedule. She often forgets to check her email for Kudoz information, missing out on helpful tips and details, not to mention booking requests. This weekend, she has a Kudoer coming for her activity and is unsure of who it is. She wonders if there is anything she needs to prepare for. Ideally she would like to have a new way to check her information and talk with other members of the community without using multiple devices.
At this point the fine tuning was limited to wording choice and a long feedback page in the multiple pages. Once we were able to pass on the prototype to our client, they were happy with the end designs.
After going through this project. I realized it is more important to design a few screens well, instead adding poorly developed screens just to have more screens. Leaving out some processes, like the experience creation form, was a difficult choice, but ultimately it allowed for our limited time to be focused on more impactful features for existing hosts, like messaging and a booking calendar. Throughout the process we revisited our needs and removed features — specifically, the on-boarding process and creating a new experience. Ultimately by focusing on what we really needed, it helped us develop key screens in unexpected ways like “Experience Mode”. By focusing on the needs of our user, current Kudoz hosts, we were able to develop something that will be impactful for their time working with the Kudozer. Which, in the end, is really the goal.
Check out the Kudoz Host App prototype here: https://invis.io/ET97HGQW4