The idea for this app came to me from my experience of living with roommates for over 6 years while I was in college. During that time no apps existed which would make communication with roommates easier. We would have to communicate with each other in-person, that is whenever the other person was around. At times, I personally found that certain conversations such as sharing chores or managing finances would get awkward and I always wished that there was a better way of discussing things.
Needfinding - User Interviews and User Research
When I started with the project, I wanted to use the concept and apply it for families as they also come under the "shared living" category. To test my problem statement, I interviewed two college students who currently shared an apartment or a room with another person and 1 member from a family of 3.
I aimed to find out about what activities that needed roommate approval or involvement and how they communicated those activities with each other. I had prepared a questionnaire to help me uncover user needs and any additional information.
During the interview I found out that roommates generally communicated shared activities through post-it notes, text messages or just talk, when needed. However, they did admitted that sometimes it was hard to get the other roommates to share the household chores or to plan an event together. The findings from the interview helped me shape my idea better.
Current methods of communicating with roommates - wall calendars, post-its and text messages
Point of View
“Shared living would be much more convivial, if communication and collaboration were seamless. Every click is an obstacle, this communication should be available at a glance.”
(Credit: Christopher Griffin)
Ideation - Storyboards, Wireframes & Prototypes
With in-person/user evaluations and detailed heuristic evaluations with the help of my fellow Coursera IxD Specialization peers I was able to fine-tune the app, and make a better experience overall. One of the main learnings from this exercise was that it made me realize that the things that were obvious to me were not obvious to my peers. There were also certain functions that my peers were able to suggest that I hadn’t even thought about. This was important as it made me realize that:
1) one cannot assume that users will always understand what you are designing.
2) testing initial iterations can save you time and help fix problems in the very beginningThis exercise also gave me a taste of how heuristics are done and how important they are in making the app.
After making changes to the app from the heuristic evaluation. The app was ready for it’s first testing. In this exercise we were to test the app with two users and observe them. While the heuristics evaluation helped in improving the app, there was still room for improvement. During this testing I found out that certain functions in the app fatigued the user mentally. I also found out that certain terms used in the app were very confusing to the user. This open my eyes to the fact that content editing comprises a good chunk of user experience.
In the second round of testing, we were asked to pick a certain feature of the app and use it for A/B testing on usertesting.com . I redesigned the importing contacts experience for the app and successfully found out that importing contacts to make a guest list for an event was faster than manually typing in names and reduced the user’s fatigue.
I got good feedback from the users from usertesting.com. I learnt few more things that needed to be changed. At the end of these 2 weeks of testing, I have to say — testing is the bomb! The more you test, the more you learn about the user needs and the more you iterate and make the app better.
Final Prototype - Try it Yourself!
1. Each step of the design process is equally important. You cannot skip a step and expect rest of the phases to go well. Your research must be done right if you want the end product to be at least an MVP.
2. Don’t go after color and typography right in beginning. Your app is no good if it just looks pretty and gives your user a miserable time when they use it. The old pencil and paper technique is great. It makes your thought process organic.
3. Listen to your users. Observe them, ask them questions about your app and take their feedback seriously. This will help you immensely in producing a great UX for your app.
4. Plan, plan, plan: while this certificate was not about time management, it helped me in planning and taking into account the unforeseen circumstances that can hinder your project progress.