ARRIVED

A social community and event finding App targets new-comers to meet people securely and build reliable social networks 

Date: March - June 2020

Team: Lucy Hu, Tony Tian, Chris Baggott

Skills:​​

  • User Research

  • UX Flow & Service Blueprint

  • Interaction and Design Pattern

  • UX Design

  • Design Sprint 

  • Prototyping & Testing

  • Storytelling

Overview

This is a team project for my local news design class at Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. My two classmates and I work on project designing a social media App that aims at connecting young professionals who recently moved to the city with trustworthy resources of social gatherings and events they are interested in. We conducted user research to understand the needs of target users, and created persona and UX flow to understand the journey and priority of the functions, and conducted rounds of iterations of prototyping and testings to refine the design concept and solutions. We presented our design and storyline to experts at Medill and received positive feedback.

Design

Concept

Arrived is a friendly and secure social media App to connect people with exciting events and social gatherings. Through Arrived, app' users are able to find events nearby that they are interested in and meet like-minded peers in groups to enlarge their social networks and get to explore the new neighborhood with customized guidance.

Arrived targets busy young professionals who are frequent social media app users and new-comers that do not know where to go in their spare time and who to go with in the events that they have interests in. In addition, the targeted groups are those who have concerns over the validity of online information and seek reliable sources for events nearby.

Process

User Research & Persona

To begin with, we conducted user research to collect data on the user needs, pain points, and what they like in their daily routines. Then, we built a persona based on the interviews to understand the goals and frustrations of the persona, and categorized information including demographics, behaviors, attitudes, needs, challenges, channels of communication, motivations, interests, etc. The sweep analysis of the target audience helped us build a foundation of what types of service we're designing to help solve the problems.

UX Flow & Service Blueprint

With the persona created, we made a service blueprint of the user's initial discovery, download, and first-time use of the technology to map out the journey. We divided the flow of the experience into stages, and we looked into each stage to analyze the internal system needs, the touchpoints, the user behavior and engagement with the system, the questions on users' side, the product requirements, and the opportunities and insights behind. 

Interaction & Design Patterns

Then, we made two boards to capture interaction sequences as a way of understanding interaction flows and familiarize ourselves with design conventions for handling certain tasks and experiences. We collected interaction and design patterns from existing design as an inspiration and guidance on our project before we began sketching. 

Sketching & Paper Prototyping

Next, we drew out the basic layout and flow of experiences on paper to build the first version of product, which can be a quick prototyping method to test out the foundation experience of the app and made changes easily on paper.  We sketched the highly prioritized features first to get a sense of what the flow should be, and created several versions to test and made decisions before moving on to digital prototype.

Design Sprint & Testing

After we tested out the paper prototype and reached a concrete structure of the product, we created wireframes on Figma and made a design guide for keeping consistency in team work. Then we iterated several rounds from low-fi prototypes to hi-fi prototypes in design sprint mode. We made design decisions and adjustments based on the collective results from usability testing with users, which helped us to improve the UI, UX flow and visual design. 

Take-Away

Choices on who to test with in product iteration

We've conducted a great number of testing rounds with users in this project, from the user research to product building and prototyping. Through this process, we've had discussions around whether or not using the same batch of people as testing objects, and I found out that to keep a balance of testing with people who have existing knowledge of what's going on with the product and new users with a pair of fresh eyes is the most effective way. People who are familiarized with the product are tend to focus on the previous problems they identified and will help to see whether or not the iteration makes senses. New users, on the other hand, are good at pointing out the confusions or struggles that previous users have missed.

A concrete info structure is key to UX flow

I didn't realize the importance of a clear, well-built product structure until we tested prototypes with higher fidelity. Users were lost in the call-to-action functions and transitions from pages to pages, so we went back to check the fundamental layout of the information structure. With all the illustrations, colors, images added from visual design, it's necessary to have a robust content structure so that users won't be fooled by the fancy design and lost in the sea of actions during usability testing.

Creating scenarios are helpful in usability testing

During the testing stage, the general method is to let the users play around with the product and think out aloud so that we could observe and figure out what might be missing, confusing, or unclear to the target audience. However, when it comes to an App with complex functions and more features, it's efficient to create task scenarios to specifically target certain functions or features to test. Based on our experiences with creating scenarios and testing out with users, I realized that if the task scenarios were realistic and actionable, the testing could be more engaging for users and we were able to figure out more down-to-point issues through testing.

© 2021 by Silu (Lucy) Hu.