User Research Report
After creating my initial concepts and designs for the three variants of the RSPCA app, I began creating my User Research Report. This report is essential to all the logistics for the app and how it will function with real users.
Starting off the report I began by looking at existing apps that were similar to the one I was designing. These included two apps; “Pets Friend” and “Dogs Pedia”. I looked at their functions which were both mainly focused on providing information to the user about animal breeds.
Pets Friend was mainly directed towards pet owners and allowed the user to create profiles for their individual pets and then on top of that set reminders which were essentially alarms for when to feed the animals.
Dogs Pedia was mainly focused on users with an interest in dogs, not specific to owners and non-owners. The app had lengthy information on the breeds and included small illustrations and icons to help direct the user around. It also featured a camera that identified dogs with results being shown in piecharts of what the program thinks the dog is. This is very useful for people who see a dog but are unsure of the breed but want to learn more about it.
Using these existing designs I summarised what I found to be the most useful out of what I found and decided on what I could incorporate into my own design, these being; keeping actions consistent to create learnability and using clear illustrations and icons to help users navigate through the app instead of words for faster interactions.
User Group Research
Next was finding and understanding my user groups. I concluded that my user groups consisted of 1. the users looking to adopt a pet being the main user group and 2. the users that are pet trainers/walkers as the secondary group. These two groups work together to create a relationship where essentially, one is the consumer/customer and the other is the service that can potentially make a profit off of the consumer.
Now that I understood my main user groups, I moved onto the “Unknowns” that came with these groups. Unknowns are things that I have yet to find out about my user groups and will need to be researched and discovered so that the app can be built and designed in a way where it suits their needs the absolute best.
Interviews and Quick Findings Reports
Now understanding what I wanted to find out from my user groups I commenced my interview section. To start this I first created 10 interview questions that involved as many unknowns as possible, some examples being; What would motivate you to learn how to give your pet a healthy lifestyle, If you were looking to adopt a specific breed of animal, what information would you like to know about it, etc.
I was able to interview five people who were from different areas and lives. The information I received was valuable and allowed me to create some quick findings reports from it. These reports are findings found from the interviews which were common among the interviewees and are key for the design and abilities of my app. Some findings that I acquired included; people generally spend little time on their phone, it is about 3–10 minutes at a time meaning that my app had to be designed in a way that allowed users to get to what they need and want with little distractions and time. Another finding was that pet owners would be motivated to help their animals if they knew how long their pets would live.
Personas and Scenarios
Now understanding the type of people who will be using my app as well as the kind of things that they want out of it, I moved onto the next stage of my research report which was created four personas that accurately represented different types of people from my user groups. I made the backgrounds and types of people vary to help with the diversity of information. The personas all have their interests as well as pain points which were commonly found in my interviews.
Using these personas I then created different scenarios, accurately describing how that kind of persona would react in the situation and challenges they would find with my app and its design. Using personas and scenarios like this is critical when app designing as it allows the designer to understand their user groups and how they will be using the app, helping them to create an app that will be better suited for all users and that avoids as many challenges for the users as possible.
An example for the scenarios includes; A boy named Shemmen is confronted by his friend pointing out that his dog is very overweight and that something should be done, Shemmen being an overworked boy has no time to help his animal and so uses the RSPCA app to help him organize a dog trainer. This scenario shows that the app for this user needs to be easily understood as the user has never used anything like it before and needs to figure it out fast enough and not get frustrated.
From the research that I gathered throughout my report, I concluded with 3 main user goals for the app’s design and functionality;
- The app must have a clear function and use beyond that of just information. Most people don’t feel the need for a pet app so the app must have abilities that would be needed and useful to users such as abilities to find animals to adopt in the app or a designed method to arrange fo trainers or vet appointments from within the app.
- Clear and quick navigation. I found that most interviewees spend about 2–6 minutes on their phone at a time meaning that the information from the app needs to get across to them quickly in that short time or they lose interest, get bored or run out of time due to their situation; e.g riding a bus.
- Clear information on specific animals. All interviewees said that when looking for a new animal to adopt one of the first things they want to know is their personalities so the information must be clear, accurate, and of ease access. This is the most important part for a user when looking for pet adoption.
With these goals set out and a now educated and researched idea of who my users are, I concluded my research report and moved onto the next step of this design process.
For this section, I took two of my previously made scenarios and created storyboards out of them. These storyboards are useful for people to visualize exactly how my app will aid people in their problems and help them to achieve their goals through the use of the app.
Starting out I first conceptualized them roughly with small descriptions detailing what was happening in each scene.
I then took these concepts and took only the best and most important panels to keep my story short and succinct, better capturing interests from viewers. I re-worked them into final pieces and used different colors for the app to help it stand out. The scenarios show how the app is used in a way that helps the user to easily find information or contact a trainer to help their pet.
Going back to the variant design concepts that I had made previously, I chose to go with the first design variant for my final product as I felt that it best fit what I wanted from the app now knowing what was needed from the research.
Moving back to Figma I began a new project where I completely flushed out the concept and made it into a working prototype app. This included all the windows previously seen in the concepts but now with more detail and ideas from my research added in. Within the information area for the animals, I made sure to add personalities and average life span as these were found to be the most important for users. My scenarios pointed out how some situations could cause the user to have to come back to the app at a later time so I added in a favorites feature that allows the user to find their favorite animals or trainers efficiently and swiftly. I added a feature that visually described with illustrations which animals and sizes that specific trainers and walkers take making it easy to find a compatible service. The trainers and walkers all have their own profiles with a small bio, as well as their availability and contacts. I also flushed out the profile of the user where they can upload a profile picture, change their bio and find their favorite pages and walkers.
A/B Split Test and User Testing
After finishing the first Figma prototype, I went and made a second version for my A/B split test where I would test the two different designs with users to see which one performs better, allowing me to find which works better and incorporate those sections into the final design. For the A/B split test, I edited 3 pages, these being the original dog-cat screen, the walker list, and the walker profile contacts.
After recording and reviewing all the tests I created a user testing report which detailed and summarised the information I had gathered from the tests. Most of the feedback was positive and talked about how the app was easily understandable and had high learnability, allowing for quick and efficient run-throughs of the app in quick succession.
I also received some ideas and suggestions for the app from the follow-up questions. The most common was a review system for the walkers/trainers as users want to know who will be looking after their animal and if they are reliable. Another said that the icon for the services and walkers are the same which caused a small amount of confusion as they thought they were already in the walker's tab and finally another suggested that there is no red cross when a walker cant take that category and rather it simply not be there at all, making the design more simplistic with less going on, again helping users to fly through the app with little thought.
The results from the A/B split test showed that the buttons for the contact section of the service profile were more recognizable as a way to contact them rather than words detailing a possible way to contact them. The single-column list of walkers also allows for faster interaction as the user’s eyes weren't jumping around the screen and instead could go up and down for easy recognizability. Finally, the home dog-cast screen showed no difference and so will stay as a square as it fits the aesthetic more.
After receiving feedback from testers on the app, I went and included them all into the final version of the prototype. The final design is aesthetic, easy to understand, and efficient at guiding users to what they want. Coming back to the main user goals, I feel that this prototype properly encaptures them as feedback showed a quick and easy-to-understand layout with useful functionality. The prototype also properly addresses all needs and wants from the original brief from the RSPCA and effectively educates users on animal health and wellbeing while also promoting services to users who are unable to appropriately look after their pets themselves.
Link to final Figma Prototype: https://www.figma.com/proto/oQKaQyQKUxnlYuEIL0Zgxh/Untitled?node-id=42%3A936&scaling=min-zoom&page-id=0%3A1