Date: February 2014
Client: Facebook – General Assembly (project 3)
Description: To introduce a save post feature into Facebook.
My Role: User Experience Designer
The Brief: Facebook is looking to directly compete with Evernote, Pocket, and Instapaper by introducing a way for users to save posts and articles their friends are sharing.
Please note this brief is fictional and was used as an assessment at General Assembly. I was not engaged by Facebook to do this.
Discovery and Research: In the Discovery and Research phase I looked at the competitors outlined in the brief (Evernote, Pocket, Instapaper) as well as Readability. I found that they all have the ability to read articles offline, search, share articles via social networks and adjust formatting of text for easier reading. But what did the users want and what did they use these apps for? I then surveyed 37 people through Google Forms to find this and many other things out. As you can see below, the key functionality that is used the most is saving articles and creating notes. I decided to keep pursuing the saving articles feature, as creating notes was outside of the scope of the project. Another key question I asked in my survey was ‘Do you use Facebook to browse articles that your friends have posted?’. 85% said yes, so I felt pretty confident that this was the right path to go down.
After the survey, I went on to create 2 personas. The first one is Katarina, who is 24 year old a Junior Digital Producer at a digital agency in the city. She is very much into keeping on top of trends – especially for work but isn’t too concerned about privacy. Then I created Tom, who is a 19 year old university student studying Commerce. He likes to be informed on news here and overseas and is quite concerned about privacy.
I also came up with a scenario for Katarina: One night after work Katarina is at a design meet up and she bumps into one of her friends. He mentions an awesome article that he posted on Facebook) that day which she hasn’t seen. She quickly gets out her iPhone to find it, but becomes quickly frustrated as she tried to scroll through her feed.
Sketching and Ideation: As you can see below I dived into sketching an app. I decided to go for a stand alone app (separate from the current Facebook app) as I thought this would be best considering the personas and the scenario. I also found sketching was a great way to get all the ideas out of my head so I could assess them properly.
Narrowing Scope and Structure: I then created a feature map to determine the MVP (Minimal Viable Product). I used this to guide me in wire framing where I created more detailed versions of my sketches.
My idea as shown below would open the app on the first screen on the left. My idea borrows from the LinkedIn pulse app where the user can scroll horizontally different streams of articles. You can select an article that would show the second screen. You can also edit the streams of articles with the 2 screens on the right.
Prototyping and User Testing: I created a prototype in Axure then proceeded to test on 3 classmates. I then made changes to the: icon size, icon image, added ability to access each stream of articles in it’s own screen. Then I tested on 3 more people where I discovered participants wanted more of a preview before selecting the article, the search didn’t work as expected, and they requested more information about each article.
Aside from those improvements, I was able to confirm that participants could easily scroll through articles, open articles and favourite them. They also understood that favouriting an item would make it appear in the favourite stream on the home page, and they knew how to un-favourite an article.
I addressed these issues in the next iteration which is the version that I submitted to my teachers.
Further Research: I also established that for the next phase it would be great to do further research on user behaviour with apps on their phone, and wether it is necessary to have a separate app. I also wanted to look into how this would apply to tablet and desktop.
Please note that the Facebook ‘Paper’ app was announced part way through this project, but as it was only released to the US I was unable to see it until one of my teachers showed me on the day of my presentation (thus too late to make changes).