The goal of this assignment is to apply Experience-Driven Design approach to a digital prototype, which will be designed and evaluated. In this case, we chose community wellbeing, which would focus on Digital technology that will help improve wellbeing and community spirit.
Motivation for this topic was to help make life easier for new movers, bringing a community together, and connecting people. Our main idea to focus on how new movers can interrogate in their new area, to find their own community, mainly focusing on students who move to a new city and finding ways they can feel more connected to others. Our users in this project are students, and we made a google form survey, in which we wanted to find out how students feel about their community.
Digital solutions can help form community, thus in this project the aim is to make a prototype that would show how a resident could organize an activity that would have access to several community members and services.
The objective is to create a platform that can share and create similar events based on a person’s similar interests, either in real life or online, which connects people to form communities in that neighborhood. This space would be a digital operating system that helps connect people together and update on what is happening.
As seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, meeting in real life was not possible for a long period of time and according to a Norwegian refugee council study in most countries people relied on digital platforms to get access to news updates and encage with people in their communities. Even before COVID-19 in low-resource settings digital means have been used to inform and encage communities remotely while relying on radio programs and telephone hotlines.
When digital aspects become part of the possible solutions more diverse, inclusion communities can be formed.
Target UX goals
Compassion: Feeling that arises in witnessing another’s suffering motivates a subsequent desire to help. In the UX model this goal can be identified as empathy. The solution supports empathy towards other users. In the application design this experience could be created with a way of helping users connect to their community.
Fellowship: Friendship, communality or intimacy. Feeling that you are not alone with the efforts and getting motivated by others in your community. To experience a tendency to protect or contribute to the well-being of someone. The application should make users feel that their time is well-spent and can help other users in their community, so the usability and interactions of the application should be user-friendly.
Relatedness: To experience you have regular intimate contact with people who care about you rather than feeling lonely and uncared for.
Challenging: Testing abilities in a demanding task. The app may have some small competitions or challenges for users to encourage them to come to events. For example, “Halloween Party” at “Kilta bar” with the reward of a voucher worth 50 euros when buying alcohol there for the best Halloween custom. Customers can post it in “Instagram” or “Facebook” or even on the app with the hashtag #Halloween_Challenge #Kiltabar
Rewarding: Rewards motivate us. To encourage if we’re doing something right and allow us to keep learning something new or achieving a goal. A variable schedule of rewards, those received unexpectedly, are even more effective at this because naturally, humans crave predictability.
Information Architecture / Customer Journey Map
To make the prototype, we had to get to the same page which features to include in it and how to navigate in the application. We thought that creating an information architecture would be useful in this case. The information architecture was made based on the journey map.
The main idea was to have a start screen / homepage which would include all the most used content, which are in our case the events. The events could be filtered in different ways and the user could also search for particular events. The events could be created by some communities/groups/organizations or individuals. The same goes for creating groups.
To enhance thinking of the features for the application, we wrote a plot for a storyboard, where our first user persona Sam is using the application.. In the storyboard, Sam, a 20-year-old student, is getting bored and lacking fun social interaction with other people. To make himself feel better and get more energy for studies, he uses the application to find interesting events and joins the event.
We decided to start the user study with a questionnaire. We first drafted the questions in Mural board and then the final questionnaire was made with Google Forms. With the questions we were trying to find out if the users have connections in their community or if they are lacking social interaction and feeling of belonging in the community.
All in all, what kind of problems might they have in their communities? The questionnaire was sent to friends and others in different groups in the messaging apps that we are using (Telegram, WhatsApp). All the questionnaire recipients are part of the intended user group: students. We received 21 answers.
We used thematic analysis to analyze the user study data collected from the questionnaire and the interviews. After analyzing the questionnaire collected data, we planned an interview. We got feedback from the participants and the opponent students that our questions/terms seemed vague. Also, someone pointed out we forgot to mention the purpose of the study and how we are using the answers.
We tried to take the feedback into consideration, when we composed the interview plan. We used mostly the same questions from the questionnaire but made some adjustments in the order of questions and made questions more easily understandable. For example, there was a question about moving experience, even though the topic was discussed in an earlier phase. We also explain that a community can mean any group of people.
User study & results
The participants for the evaluation were recruited from among our school & close circle. Some of them have answered the user study questionnaire in the beginning of this project. Their ages are between 18-31. Two of them are men and three are women. 4 out of 5 of the participants were students and 3 out of 5 were master’s students.
On our previous evaluation where we asked and interviewed the previous testers how they felt about the concept based on the story board. In this we could interview them again using prototype to get further input on how they feel about the final solution that consists of broader range of features that was presented in the Storyboard. We also interviewied new candidates and see how their input/views compare with the previously familiar with the concept/prototype candidates.
The above context map was constructed on interviews and was created to pinpoint the ideal prototype that would touch all these sectors to create a feeling of connection and quality services with the community
Estabilished on the evaluation participants feedback and analyzing the interviews and questionaries, we were able to meet some of our experience goals, such as rewarding, relatedness, compassion since most results showed that the final design meaning the prototype made participants feel positive and even at times excited for this service. But regarding the visual language as such as color design, there were mixed feedback, since some of the participants felt the cooler colors from the proto felt unwelcoming and cold, which was not our goal since we wanted the experience to feel welcoming and exciting.
Regarding, relatedness participants enjoyed the prototype service idea. Most of them felt it had the potential to contact with people and build new memories and interactions with interesting people. Also, with our visual images regarding in the onboarding view. One of the participants read one of the image as an action introduction image on how to rate people or events. In our ideal prototype, we did discuss it could be a possible benefit and help to have a rating system for the evens but for this prototype that was not our intention, since we did not have time to include a rating feature.
All of our experience goals have the potential to be fulfilled in the final design since depending on the event that will be organized by the user in the service, it would meet our goals of challenging, relatedness fellowship, rewarding and compassion experiences. But in this case of the prototype, it limits our ability to fulfill and make certain goals work, since a rating system, interaction, invite features were not possible to be tested for users.
We started to build the prototype with Figma and we used a Material Design Kit, which is made for Android applications, but alterations to it, such as the color palette. The color palette was created by researching suitable colors for the UX goal words we had (such as compassion, relatedness) and doing some quick benchmarking.
When designing “Search” & “Favorite” function, we hope “Fellowship” UX goal can be implemented in these prototype screen. TAMI makes users feel that their time is well used and can participate in events with others. User-friendly and efficient interface to search for events or groups of events in specific locations that users want to search.
Further product development plan
The topic of community wellbeing is wide, so there are many possibilities we could have gone deeper with this prototype. There were a lot affordances in the prototype, but which were not yet fully implemented. For example, creating own events and groups was supposed to be implemented.
The users should be able to use more ways to search and filter interesting content, and save and use their interests for the search. There should be more thorough screens for events and groups, for example events for the groups and joining events. We had planned to have discussion areas (comments) for the events and groups, but the current prototype lacks communication among users completely.
Some unclear features, such as interests in the profile, could be improved by using Android standards for placing features and information. More development would be needed in the sharing functionalities including “share button”, “comment section”, “location”. These features we would want to work on to be able to bring them to the service.
Further development plan includes:
What could be done also is benchmarking of the similar services that the evaluation participants mentioned and try to improve the features based on the existing tools the user have available and in use. This could give the users an actual reason to use the application.
Possibility of a new color palette change of the prototype to warmer color set instead of cooler colors could have made the service feel more welcoming. The palette should be improved without losing the simplicity that some users liked in the application.