Role: UX Researcher & Designer
Company: Completed project as a portfolio piece during my 3 month UX/UI Design Bootcamp at BrainStation.
Timeline: Two weeks to design the app from initial research to final screens.
Design Tool: Figma
What problems are people facing?
I wanted to design a product that was timely and relevant. I thought to myself what problems are people facing today?
After speaking with friends, coworkers, and family I noticed a trend of feeling chronically stressed.
How might we solve the problem?
The design process I followed to find a solution.
How are people feeling?
To understand the topic of stress better, I gained quantitative data on how people were generally feeling.
Speak to the right people
I recruited four friends who felt stressed in the past 30 days.
To look at Gen Z and Millennials as a whole, I recruited participants ranging from ages 20 to 35 and in different life stages from a college student to a product manager.
Learn about the users
Contextual Inquiry Interviews
Gathering qualitative data I probed users with the WHY questions … why do you feel stressed …. How did you relieve stress in the past…. Why do you relieve stress that way?
Empathize with the user
To represent the research I’ve done thus far, and manage project time constraints I narrowed it down to one persona.
Kyra is a 27-year-old sales professional living in Santa Monica, CA. She spends a lot of time online and her favorite brands are Apple and Sweet Green. Kyra feels stressed about her future and needs direction and support to become more self-aware.
Explore the seed of writing
I further explored the seed of writing helping relieve stress and compared the four most popular journals to see what worked and could be improved.
• Day One + Notes have a significant market share, but the blank page format doesn't guide my user's writing efforts or motivate them to continue writing.
• Penzu had a similar format to Day One and Notes but a desktop limitation.
• Happiness Journal had guided writing, but it felt too generic and not catered enough to specific pain points.
Step into the user's shoes
(Present) User Journey Map
I mapped out Kyra’s current journaling experience across all touch-points. By putting myself in Kyra’s shoes, I came up with a few opportunities to help prevent her negative experiences.
Visualize a positive experience
(Future) User Journey Map
I thought about what I wanted Kyra to feel when using my journaling product. I wanted her to continue feeling excited about writing because of the value it’s providing her. And then, of course, tell all her friends to download the app.
Identify key user problems
How Might We (HMW) Questions
I created How Might We Questions to stay focused on building solutions to the most significant user pain points.
Define product features
Then using those pain points, I brainstormed feature ideas to help solve the problem.
Focus on the business objectives
My work has been user-focused, but it’s also important not to lose sight of the business objectives.
I wanted to make sure the user goals aligned with the business goals, such as keeping users engaged and creating an experience differentiated from its competitors.
Reevaluate the vision
After doing all of this research, I took a step back to reevaluate the product vision. I noticed it had changed from a journaling app to help users write to a self-discovery tool to relieve stress through writing and reflection.
Prioritize competing features
For the sake of time, I prioritized features that would help the user learn more about themselves and continue writing.
Visualize the app structure
Before designing, I wanted to visualize the app's architecture.
Create an intuitive design
Scenario: Kyra writes her first journal entry in the app
Minimize extra steps
Task Flow: Kyra opens the app to set up journal entries by text message
App designs I'm inspired by
Visual design is very important in consumer products. I featured apps that offered an easy-to-use interface, gamification, and a calming demeanor.
Discover new ideas
Did some sketching thinking about how I could make the app intuitive for the end-user.
Bring the concept to life
Created wireframes to test a clickable prototype.
Keep designs consistent
Logo Design & UI Kit
The reasoning behind my color choices, purple represents calmness, blue inspires intuition, and pink symbolizes support.
Evaluate the design
I recruited four friends who had recently felt stressed to complete tasks within the prototype. I observed their interactions to evaluate the usability of the app.
My three remote tests provided good insights, but I also found value in my in-person testing because I could record nonverbal cues.
As you can see from a few of the task error rates, there was certainly room for improvement
Managing participants expectations:
1. Made it clear the test would be recorded, and they would be interviewed alone
2. Reassured the participants of the nature of the study but did not include specifics
3. Emphasized how important they are to the research so they wouldn't cancel
• Set expectations by reviewing the purpose of the test and describing my role
• Reassured the participant that we're not testing them
• Told participants I wanted them to ask questions, but I won't answer
• Participant asked, "How do I delete a journal prompt? I answered, "How do you think you delete a journal prompt?"
• Positioned myself behind and to one side of the participant to act as an observer
• Embraced silence and didn't explain the design
Scenario: Learn how to use a new app
Sort qualitative feedback
I sorted 100 pieces of verbal feedback and made three significant design changes, creating a better onboarding experience, removing journals, and adding list descriptions.
Better Onboarding Experience
I thought the design was simple enough that creating an onboarding would be unnecessary for the user. Instead, users were frustrated from the start because they didn’t understand how to use the app.
I created a better onboarding experience explaining the significant features to provide users with support from the start.
Delete Journals + Add List Descriptions
My users found writing in a bulleted List felt less stressful than writing in an open-ended Journal. I thought, let's give users the benefits of long-form writing in a List.
For example, you add the Purpose List. You read a description to understand what value the List will provide and what types of questions are asked.
You decide to add the Purpose List. Next, you will receive a guided prompt but in a bulleted list which is perfect for people who are chronically stressed and low on time.
If you want to create your List, you can add the Create List.
Continue testing the concept
Please click the button below to see the Prototype.
What would I do differently?
1. More Attitudinal Research to Learn What People Say
My final product could have benefited from Diary Studies to understand better the user's environments and feelings, Surveys to back up the selection of features with quantitative data, and Card Sorting to provide more research behind the List topics and order of they are displayed.
2. Reevaluate Research for New Product Vision
If I had more time, I would have conducted new user interviews to explore the self-discovery space further and create a competitive analysis focusing on self-discovery tools.