Client

Project Type

My Role

Date

Software

DIYSherpa! App - Case Study Capstone Project 

Mobile App  |  Responsive Design

UX.UI Design & Visual Design, Project Management

1/2019 - 3/2019

Sketch, InVision

Designing the DIYSherpa! Mobile App

My UX&D.UI approach to user-centered design, research, interaction, and visuals.

DIYSherpa! is a location-based mobile app concept for an on-demand handyman service; helping homeowners and house flippers learn while doing. 
 

Consumers have to primary concerns about handyman services: lack of quality and trust. Most people eventually need a handyman, especially when facing an emergency repair, so the UX must be as simple and time-saving as possible.

Failure of user research to confirm my hypothesis required me to rework the app concept.

Build. Measure. Learn. 

There are new waves of excitement building around the Retro Sneaker and Apparel industry. Loyal sneaker lovers are now 'Retro Garment Experts'; much like the enthusiastic audiophiles and their quest for that 'close to perfect' music sound quality. Loyal followers are expressing their ideas, like lowering the number of production amounts, detailed data from sneaker companies, as well as, regulations for certified materials and quality.

 

Foxing has documented user feedback, suggestions and concerns from their test website and their customers.  The users have also requested Foxing to add mobile technology for their research and purchases.

 

Since most customers carefully plan and researched each of their purchases, the users have also requested complete information transparency, as well as, safe transactions and an easy system to make purchases.

Empathizing with these sneaker lovers, how can we meet their needs?

Hypothesis

Knowing the projects problems, I developed a research plan to explore the problem and better understand the relationships target users have with their 

Research

Knowing the projects problems, I developed a research plan to explore the problem and better understand the relationships target users have with their future purchases through mobile apps.  For the initial project Hypothesis,
I conducted 4 different types of related research methods for the Mobile App Project:

  • Market Study

  • Survey

  • Competitive Analysis Set

  • Proto Personas

Market results

Rescuing animals from shelters has been a steadily growing trend and the owners treat their pets just like any other family member. Should any of these pets have a health concerns, the owners want the best care, health information, and wellness alternatives. 

 

I discovered was Millennials are driving the pet industry trends and they are also the early adopters of Smart home technology; supporting the MellowPet's assumptions and future hypothesis 

Key takeaways:

Personas

For my Interview, I went on a field trip to my friend's home to meet up with her dog Ottie.  Ottie is a very lovable Pug, but the owner explained that he has had behavior issues since he was rescued from the shelter. As an alternative, she gives him natural calming pills and also uses her smart home devices to help Ottie while she is away from the home.

 

Before she left for the day, I watched her set-up individual Apps, each with separate settings. There were many steps for adding lighting and music. She quickly made the app choices, kissed the dog and was off to work. 

Key takeaways:

  • It's a Dog's Life. Even though I watched and observed Ottie for the afternoon, It was hard to tell if he had any significant behavior changes with the smart home lighting and mellow music. He behaved like most dogs: he barked when she left, sleep, snored, fidgeted and then slept some more. I wasn't an animal behavior specialist so, my research would have to detail around expert reviews.

  •  Go the extra mile. Even if the pet owner was in a rush, she states that she will  check in with her Pet throughout the day while at her job

  • Understanding the Challenges.  Working owners need to be away from the home during the day, while also taking care of their pets needs. Using Smart Home Devices gives pet owners more control and additional peace of mind.

Competitive Set results

An interesting technology discovery: Without a main Smart Home Hub, there isn't a integrated method for users to control multiple Apps in one convenient place. I also found that lack of  Apps specifically marketed for Pet owners with pet health issues.

Now that I had a better understanding of the pain points people experience with using multiple Smart Home App devices, I wanted to learn how other applications were trying to solve similar problems. 

I found 4 separate mobile apps in the smart home devices category to evaluate.

The end goal was to figure out what things work well in each application and what doesn’t work so well.

Phillps Hue App Help user configure their Smart Lights and add customization. The design was great, clean, well thought out and I like the flexibility with each option. This was by far my favorite. But it only controls the smart lights in the home—and some of the settings aren't exactly efficient for pet owners and pet health issues, users should have better options to control their home.

Hue Body and Soul App was very interesting and super intuitive to use. I liked that the usr could set calming moods, environments and presets to help with quick choices.  Although the App has many advantages, I found that the user has too many slider control options and this shouldn't be so confusing.  MellowPet aims at providing a simple and minimalist Interface design which allows users to focus more on the content with less distractions. 

Beecon App: Is a simple and gorgeous App that offers customized smart home set ups. It is really remarkable. I did however feel that it designed specifically for a complex subset options like GPS control and controlling things like infrared devices. The added GPS functions in background could drastically decrease the phone's battery life.

The best example so far: Google Home App. Sleek and minimal - very low overhead.  Very easy for the user to follow and learn.  This App is primarily structured around Google Home devices and programs lights.

 

I was so inspired by the Designs for the Google Home and want to include similar techniques into our App. MellowPet's goals would improve upon these features with specific user functionality requirements and interactions. These simple and effective additions to the interactions would help users create custom settings quickly as ell as explore other presets; ultimately this would motivate constant App use.

Key takeaways:

  • Finding a way. Many pet owners had at least two smart home devices. With multiple apps to manage, the users still make the effort to set up a calm home. If these users are using several smart home apps, how can we make it more efficient and save them additional time? 

  • Owner's confidence. Since pet owner's weren't receive feedback from their pets, other than constant licks & kisses, they felt more confident having more efficient means to control the home would relieve them from any worries while at work.

  • Filling in the gaps. While away from the home, users don't always have the time to cherry pick device settings or even customize each one of these devices separately. Validating the initial Apps assumptions, the user felt it would be easier and quicker if there was one place where she could program multiple smart home devices.

  • Do Smart home devices actually help Pets with Anxieties and health concerns? Studies have shown that certain therapeutic light colors and calming music help animals with anxiety issues. Having smart Home Devices helps give pet owners  control in their home and help with their pet's moods

Implementing the Results

Design Impact

User Stories and MVP 

User Flow

Ideating Solutions

Rapid Prototyping / Developing the Prototype

Designed for Simplification

Designing for Edge Cases

Visualising the End-to-End

Onboarding

User Profile

User Testing

LOW-FI PROTOTYPES - ITERATIONS

BEFORE

AFTER

HIGH FIDELITY MOCKUPS

MOODBOARD, STYLE GUIDE & VISUAL DESIGN

Usability test, feedback & iterate

DEVELOP A CONSISTENT FEEDBACK LOOP EARLY

Despite our close collaborations with our offsite developers, 
issues began to arise quickly regarding under-developed

features and content requirements not being defined properly.  Clear and consistent conversations held early on would have helped uncover and solve these issues quicker when we were defining the MVP.

Taking a step back, the site would look less busy as 'visual noise'  if we had decluttered the UI and eliminated superfluous copy, and my job as a designer could help influence others by educating them with examples learned.  i.e. Ch. 5 ' Omit needless words' , Don't Make Me Think, Steve Krug


Albeit, the client always has the last say. 

The final reDesign resulted in a refreshed, interactive experience and translated into tangible outcomes. The site was more credible, clear, useful and valuable to both AFC and their clientele. Also, the site was now modular, mobile, responsive in design and easily updatable through a CMS/SEO framework.

 

 

Reflections
Learnings
Results & impact

I set and organized content flow in lo-fi wireframes, mockups & prototypes using Photoshop, Sketch and InVision, helping aid in discussions for

MVP and provide usability insights.

Adhering to a rapid-iterative-prototype and Lean workflow, I created the final artwork; passing assets to Developers throughout each iterative stage helped keep our project moving towards the product testing and further iterations.

What I have learned from this project? Wrapping Up

...Lessons Learned

WeRecycle is still a work in progress, but that’s sort of the beauty of user experience—it’s an iterative process of thinking, making, testing, and then repeating those steps all over again to make a solid product that people can actually use.

Perhaps my favorite thing throughout the design phases, was being able to connect with users on all different levels. One survey participant reached out to me personally to say the survey inspired them to start a recycling program at work. How cool is that?

Making connections with people and understanding where they come from, is really the heart of user-centered design. Get to know people. Ask questions. Dig in. You never know who you’re going to inspire.

This app was part of my capstone project for the Springboard UX Design course, and I couldn’t recommend the class enough for anyone interested in adding UX to their toolbox.