Everyone has this similar experience in the lifetime: trying to find your friend at a busy and crowded place. It takes long and the process is frustrating. Sometimes it takes too long that you missed the whole event you supposed to enjoy.
This is my first project at General Assembly. I was given a problem that my classmate have and conducted a rapid prototyping practice in 3 days. Below I am going to explore the problem and show my process of prototyping.
This is a solo project. I managed the project from start to finish, completed all the data collection, research synthesis and incorporated all results into the final deliverables and presentation.
- Affinity map
- User Flow
- Paper wireframe
- Paper prototype in Marvel
I prepared a list of questions for my interviewees to help me understand the basic of the problem. And following up by specific questions based on their stories:
- Do you have experience trying to find your friends in busy places?
- Why do you need to look for them?
- What methods have you used to find them?
- Do you think your way are helpful? Why?
- What do you think is the most helpful information you need?
The interview outcome was highly consistent. Most of the interviewee have the following common points:
- Mention a place/event for social interaction purposes
- Communication problems caused by environment
- Visual target helps the wayfinding
I discovered the root cause is not only about people trying to locate their friends but also that people wants to enjoy and share moments with their fellows.
Later, I concluded the insights listed below:
- People like to enjoy social events with their friends
- Way-finding to friends become difficult because people cannot perceive correct information in chaotic situation:
- Verbal communication being disturbed
- Cannot read information when being occupied
- Information is not precise enough
I rephrase the problem:
Social event participant needs the quickest way to enjoy the event together with their friends.
Solution should . . .
- Shorten the time of wayfinding to their friends
- Help people get the precise information
- Help people read information in chaotic situation
I started the ideation process by study flow and lo-fi wireframe. The initial concept was to allow users sending outgeolocation sharing request when they are looking for each other and have a direction to each party. However, when I tested the wireframe with test participants, the following feedbacks were provided:
- There are too many functions and redundant steps
- A lot of text buttons
- What if people cannot accept sharing request in a chaotic situation?
The last feedback was extremely helpful. It made me thinking of what could happen to avoid the extra step communication in a chaotic environment. I reviewed the interview reports and discovered the event is the key. People arrange events to go with their friends. They make an appointment ahead of time to make sure both parties show up in an event. If the agreement of sharing GPS location happen when they make the arrangement, there is no need to request and accept geolocation sharing in the chaotic situation.
I kept this direction as well as simplified my functions and steps into my storyboard and prototype.
Storyboard was a great aid to narrow down my ideas into core concept of the app. I developed the following scenario:
Alex and Bob both love pets. Alex sent out an pet show invitation to Bob and Bob accepted. However, when Alex arrived at the show, he found out Bob was still stuck in traffic. Alex decided to go in watch the show first and tell Bob to look for him when he arrives. When Bob arrived, he opened the App that already has Alex’s location and has a campus direct to him. Bob can buzz Alex whenever he wants to tell Alex that he is coming. And when Bob feel he is close enough to Alex, he can choose to turn on the flashlight so his phone will turn to an obvious visual target that attracts Alex’s attention.
The below prototype timeline is based on my storyboard scenario. It shows Alex (A) on the upper half and Bob (B) on the lower head. Separate the screen by using the timeline help user to understand the interaction between different parties.
Please click to play with the interactive prototype below.
The necessity of occasional needs
While doing final testing, people mention this is a very scenario situation, which may only happen few times a year. Is it necessary to create an app for the occasional situation?
Due to time constraint, I did not perform second-round interviews to follow up what people do before and after the events. Understanding the complete event process will help me refine the service design.