UX Case Study#1: Integrating a new Feature into an Existing Mobile App in times of Isolation.

Overview.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has taken a 180 degree turn. Leading to the loss of jobs, homes, and businesses closure. The new reality has forced everyone to work and study from home and practice complete social isolation. However, adjusting to this new lifestyle has not been as hard for some as it has for some others. Some people have claimed that being isolated from society has decreased their concentration and interest in doing things.

Our job as UX designers is to design a feature from an existing app that will allow people to interact more with their friends and family regularly. And thus, beat that feeling of loneliness and cause a positive impact in their mental health in order to improve their concentration, mood and performance.

Scope of Work.

This new reality has represented a big challenge for some others who have been experiencing frustration from not being able to interact with beloved ones, coworkers or classmates since the beginning of the pandemic. Also, the difficulty that learning new techniques represents to study or work remotely along with poor internet connexions in some cases have caused a big impact in people’s good performance and mood. But one of the biggest challenges people have to face on a daily basis is the feeling of loneliness and lack of social interaction.

This is why the goal of this project is to better understand what students preferred methods of communication are, What devices they use for their communication. What applications they use to communicate. And the challenges they face studying remotely.

Hypothesis.

Workers and students need a way to interact more with family and friends while they continue taking care of their responsibilities remotely during the pandemic.

Assumptions.

● Everyone has a stable internet connection at home.

● Everyone has the latest smartphone model and/or computer. And stay in touch with their beloved ones at all times.

● People do better with school remotely than attending in-person classes.

Initial problem statement.

  • How might we provide students a way to interact and stay in touch regularly with their family, friends, and classmates while they improve their concentration and performance in school?.

Methodology.

For our research, we have recruited 5 people who were interviewed and asked a few questions in regards to their experience since they began studying remotely. We needed to understand their needs and goals. Interviewees authorized us to record their interviews for taking notes purposes only. Based on everything that participants shared with us and the observations that we made, we were able to collect a lot of useful information.

Affinity Mapping.

Once all the information is collected from interviewees, the Affinity Mapping is one of the steps that helps us sort out paint points, insights and trends from the interviews and observations. These are some of the insights and takeaways respectively from our research:

Insights:

  • “I don’t have a problem studying from home. I save time and money. But nothing compares to in-person classes”.

- “ I feel like people attend zoom for the meeting and leave right away instead of making a

little effort to socialize a little bit more”.

- “Attending school in person will help focus better on my studies”.

- “I use zoom or GroupMe for my classes and meetings”.

- “I can’t wait to start working in person.”.

takeaways:

- Even Though studying from home has its advantages, social interaction is priceless and necessary.

- People who value social interaction have a hard time when colleagues or classmates do not show any empathy for others.

- Students who study remotely tend to feel less motivated or interested in paying attention to their classes.

- It seems that platforms like Zoom and Group have become two of the most popular platforms since the beginning of the pandemic.

-The anxiety and uncertainty that people are going through because of the pandemic is very evident and harmful for the mental health.

Persona.

After synthesizing all the findings, paint points and insights,I have created a Persona who is an archetypical users and whose goals and characteristics represent the needs of a larger group of users. In this case, our interviewees.

INSIGHT:

Interacting with their beloved ones and classmates on a regular basis will cause a positive impact in their performance at school as well as in their mental wellness.

PERSONA:

Ricky is facing social isolation and lack of motivation to focus on school.

PROBLEM:

  • Lack of social interaction.
  • Lack of concentration.
  • Lack of social activities.

GOAL:

Creating a feature for an existing app used by our audience which allows them to interact live with their friends and family. And thus cause a positive impact on their concentration and performance in remote schooling.

MVP Reveal.

Based on the synthesis developed from our previous research and insights, we have concluded that the main paint point users experience is the impact that the current pandemic has caused on people due to the lack of social interaction and concentration. Although we cannot change the reality we are going through, we can at least provide people a good feature experience for their existing apps which should bring them a better feeling of companionship, positivity and encouragement. “FriendsTime” is a feature added to GroupMe which is going to allow people to interact more with their friends, classmates, or loved ones. This feature offers live gatherings. Similar to Zoom or Whatsapp, but the difference is that this feature offers the option to create groups by categories and live interaction. It is also ideal because there is no messaging option. Instead, people will interact live depending on the group they choose to join. People will have the option to create groups such as breakfast with family, Happy Hour with friends, school matters with classmates, etc. and add all the participants they desire. Also, friendsTime will notify users about special dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. It will allow users to send out greetings on videoclips, birthday ecards, and more. As this feature is used constantly, it should help people feel closer to their beloved ones. And thus, improve their concentration and performance with their duties.

Sketching + Concepting.

The next step we have taken was sketching our GroupMe feature. Designing on paper is the first step to bring our feature to life. Usually low fidelity wireframes don’t have too many details, but I decided to label mine so I can have a better view of the outcome. Also, I decided to make it as simple as possible for my participants. As we can see, I have created 7 screens. The first one is the main menu which allows users to choose the category (e.g: have lunch, discuss school matters, talk about latest music hits, etc). Users are free to create any type of category and add all the participants they desire. The “Special dates” section will allow users to create animated ecards, greetings videos, among other options for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. The “add participants” and “create a new group” are pretty self explanatory. The second screen is the Category Select Screen”, where users can choose which group they would like to join (e.g: friends, family, tennis team, classmates, etc.). On the third screen, we can see a popup for users to confirm whether that’s the group they want to join. The fourth screen is the “Live Chat” screen where, as we can see, users are interacting with the people from their chosen group. This screen also displays the options for food recommendation, sending pix of what users are eating, messaging, and exit group. Once the live chat is over, the feature will ask users to return to the main menu through a popup window. And lastly, we have the main menu again.

Low Fidelity Wireflow:

Mid-fidelity Screens.

As we can see, our wireframes are starting to acquire a better form and clarity. I also had to make a few minimal changes around. The screens were ready to start with the Prototyping process. for both low fidelity and Mid Fidelity Prototypes, We have created a scenario and two tasks which needed to be completed by our 5 participants. The tasks we provided were:

  • Walk me through the process of having lunch with your friends by using the feature.
  • Tell me where would you click if you had to add your significant other’s birthday on this app?.

The average time that it took our participants was 0:37sec for the Low Fidelity Prototype. And 1:13 for the second one. The reason the second one took longer to two of our participants was the language barrier. Another participant got confused in the middle of the testing and started tapping all over the screen. Regardless of the little difficulties that some participants experienced, they showed enthusiasm in completing the tasks. After the testing, they had a few questions and expressed that they would use this feature once it’s integrated in the app.

Mid Fidelity Wireflow:

Mid Fidelity Prototype:

https://www.figma.com/proto/i1Dc5zbc3AmBGman2Iyq2F/Low-Fidelity-Prototype-from-Sketches.?page-id=8%3A0&node-id=112%3A0&viewport=234%2C119%2C0.26073896884918213&scaling=scale-down

Recommended Next Steps:

The outcome of interviewee’s thoughts helped me consider potential changes and additions to my feature. they suggested to develop this feature in multiple languages. To integrate it not only in GroupMe, but in other social platforms, and to make sure the wording used in creating this feature is universal and clear for everyone. Also, they potentially suggested to make it a whole new app, not just a feature. Their feedback is valid and will be put in consideration as I continue developing this feature. I am looking forward to working on these improvements and becoming an excellent UX Designer.

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Alejandro Arias

Alejandro Arias

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A project realised

Prototype — https://xd.adobe.com/view/18e8e544-fb95-49bc-a482-6389955bc5f0-4dbb/