26 Nov

Web Dev: Personas, User Scenarios, Use Cases and User Journeys

Personas

“The purpose of personas is to create reliable and realistic representations of your key audience segments for reference.” – usability.gov

BOSH have a very varied target audience (perhaps wider than realistically viable for a project such as this), and this is reflected in my personas. They are all of varying age, status, ability and all want very different things from the BOSH website.

I have created the following 3 personas based on the previous user research.

Mark Donald

Marketing Manager

34 years old

Married, with two kids

Lives in Brighton

Mark works long hours, and has a hectic family life. He likes to keep fit but struggles having the energy and motivation to exercise after all his other commitments. His goal is to find the time to train for a marathon. His job means he is very tech-savvy.

Jane Taylor

Politics student

21 years old

Single

Lives in a flatshare in Brighton

Jane has a very full social life as part of being a student. She works hard, but often has late nights and knows she should take better care of herself. Her and a friend have made an arrangement to start running together, but neither of them has any knowledge of where to begin. She would like to have someone to point her in the right direction. She is also addicted to social networking and has no problems navigating the internet.

Julian Harrington

Retired civil engineer

66 years old

Married

Lives in Eastbourne

Julian has recently retired, and is looking for activities to fill his time. He has three young grandchildren, which has made him very conscious about his health. He has always enjoyed running, but work commitments didn’t allow him any regular training. Now he has more time, he would like to train for a 10km run. His son suggested using social media to find a training buddy/running club but he is very shy of technology.

Scenarios & Use Cases

Mark Donald wants to train for a marathon, but needs some advice about a training schedule. He uses a search engine to look for articles, and comes across a forum on the BOSH website in which runners are giving tips. He would like to ask a question because they seem very helpful and friendly in the forum, so he signs up as a member and posts his question. Someone responds almost immediately, and he is very impressed. He slowly becomes a more and more active member of BOSH, posting how his training is going and even signs up to events on the website.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 14.54.09

Jane Taylor and her friend are complete beginners when it comes to running. They are discussing their plans to go home early from the pub they are in so they will be able to run in the morning, when someone overhears their conversation. The stranger tells them about BOSH and suggests they look into it. The next morning, after their run, Jane and her friend go online and look at the BOSH website. She finds some interesting information about running safety that she finds very useful. Her and her friend decide to sign up and take part in a group running session arranged on the site. She finds it very motivational.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 14.54.19

Julian Harrington is very nervous about using the tablet his son bought him for his birthday, but while his wife is at a lunch date with friends, he decides to try and work out how to use it. He checks his emails, like his son taught him, and discovers a link to the BOSH website. It looks like a very good social opportunity, and a great way to spend his free time. He manages to look for events in his area, and sees there is a running meet that afternoon. He signs up to it and has a great afternoon meeting new people and enjoying running with people of a similar fitness.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 14.54.28

User Journeys

I created the following User Journey from the first scenario above.

UserJourney1

I found this task particularly useful to highlight possible errors in the user experience, and other things that could be improved. I need to make sure the website is created with thought to Search Engine Optimisation, error-checking and notifications to allow the user to stay updated with the forum.

23 Nov

Web Dev: Cultural Probe Results

I collected lots of data from my cultural probe, including information about how the user was feeling about the running activity, which is very difficult to collect any other way.
CulturalProbeResults1
CulturalProbeResults2
I also got information from the FitBit that I included in the probe. It is interesting to see patterns in the data. Runners tend to be very habitual, and it will really help if I keep this in mind when designing the website.
FitbitScreenshot

I also was very lucky to receive some great photos captured by the person completing my cultural probe. They really give an insight into some of the amazing benefits to running, and why he enjoys it.

CulturalProbePhotos

19 Nov

Web Dev: Competitor Analysis

An expert analysis can be extremely beneficial, in addition to user research. When talking to Scott Goodwin, creator of BOSH Run, he outlined his main competitors as Watford Joggers and Fetch Everyone. I chose to analyse their websites using HCI principles, heuristics, and user-centered design.

You can see an example of their website homepages below, along with BOSH’s current website.

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 11.57.09

boshrun.com (Screen Shot 2014-11-19)

watfordjoggers.org.uk (Screen Shot 2014-12-15)

watfordjoggers.org.uk (Screen Shot 2014-12-15)

fetch everyone.com (Screen Shot 2014-12-15)

fetch everyone.com (Screen Shot 2014-12-15)

The following table contains some critical comparison points, and a score out of 5 for each element. The questions are all examples of some essential design usability principles.
Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 22.38.42

I used this data to create a series of radar charts, to visualise how well BOSH is doing against it’s competitors. The last chart is a comparison of all three.

BOSHradarWatfordRadarFetchRadar

CompetitorRadar

It is evident that the current BOSH website needs work, but there are many areas for improvement on the other sites as well. The navigation is adequate but the design (particularly the graphics and overall branding) needs to be refined.

There is a very obvious difference in the amount of content on each site. Watford Joggers and Fetch both have substantially more, but this is mainly because BOSH uses Facebook primarily, and amount of user-generated content on social media is massive.

FacebookBOSH

It will be important to integrate this content with the new website, transforming it into the main hub of activity for BOSH. With the appropriate tools, the members of BOSH and their contributions will allow for the new website to be one of the top running club websites in the area. Therefore, I am confident that the new BOSH website will score substantially higher on this competitor analysis board.

I also conducted a multi-faceted analysis of the information architecture of each site, as follows.

BOSHIA

BOSH multi-faceted analysis of information architecture

Watford Joggers multi-faceted analysis of information architecture

Watford Joggers multi-faceted analysis of information architecture

Fetch Everyone multi-faceted analysis of information architecture

Fetch Everyone multi-faceted analysis of information architecture

These sketches allowed me to directly compare the page layouts of the three sites.

PageLayoutComparison

16 Nov

Web Dev: Probing Part 2

The following shows some items from my cultural probe, that I created based on the ideas I came up with listed in my last post. I decided to include my FitBit that I had purchased previously, simply because it can collect information that would be very difficult for the person completely the probe to collect themselves. Data such as step count, distance travelled and minutes of activity are collected just by wearing this device, and I’ve included short and simple instructions in the kit.

Fitbit Flex

The rest of the probe focuses on inspiration/motivation for running and the runners feelings associated with running. These particular things are very difficult to find out from surveys alone, and give the cultural probe technique a specific benefit.

Cultural Probe 3
Cultural Probe 2
Cultural Probe 1
cultural probe pics
When I have collected some data from this, it should aid my user research, and allow me to create a website which is more relevant to current BOSH users and potential members.

12 Nov

Web Dev: Concept Maps & Cultural Probes

This week, we met with the creator of BOSH, Scott Goodwin. It was an extremely useful session, and gave me an opportunity to ask all the questions and gather the information I needed from the client.

As a group exercise, we came up with a lot of buzzwords that related to a typical BOSH user. It includes their main wants and needs, worries and other elements.

IMG_0196

From this, I created the following concept map to try and define the typical BOSH run user… which is extremely broad, given the nature of the running club.

Concept-Map

I then tried think of some useful items to include in a Cultural Probe, to gain an insiders perspective on running, and people’s individual thoughts and opinions on the subject. The list below includes some possible items for my CP.

cultural-probe-ideas

04 Nov

Web Dev: Surveys

The next task was to create a survey to collect information beneficial to the project.

I wanted to find out what would make people join a running club, particularly those that aren’t regular runners already.

Surveys

After determining what I needed to find out, I put together a simple survey using SurveyMonkey, which can be completed here. The survey (also shown below) is designed to find out how active the person is, what motivates them, and what encourages them to join a running club.

survey

The results will help me better understand my target market. The website design should reflect what the users want, and increase member recruitment and retention.

28 Oct

Web Dev: Client Worksheet

The client, BOSH (boshrun.com), requires a new website.

The first thing I did was research. Understanding the ethos of the company is vital. BOSH Run is rather unique as a running club, because it allows anyone to join and actively encourages everyone of all shapes and sizes, and all fitness levels, to learn to enjoy running as an exercise. They have one rule: be nice.

This friendly, accessible club needs a website to suit.

As a group, we conducted an informal client interview, which was highly beneficial and a great starting point for the project. The client has a vague idea of functions needed for the new site, but graphic design (bar the logo and main colour) has been left completely to us. The main points I took from the interview were that the client wants something fun and friendly looking, easy to access and navigate, and that condenses all the chunks of BOSH information into one place. Ideally, the client would like a member sign in, to allow for collecting some basic information on users and to control who posts content.

I used the information gathered in this interview, along with some research on their existing website, to produce a client-worksheet (courtesy of Clearleft). There is a lot of useful information in there, but the main points to take from this are:

  • It is a social site. It needs to be accessible, easy-to-use and allow for easy communication between ‘members’.
  • It will be mainly user-created content. Blog/forum based.
  • Aiming not to exclude anyone. It must be inviting.
  • Social media integration.
  • Improve on their existing E-commerce area.

This is a great starting point to begin the project.

21 Oct

Think before you share: How to spot an online hoax

Social media users are among the worst for clicking share absent-mindedly. It was only this morning that I saw street artist Banksy has been arrested yet again (he hasn’t). Lately we’ve also seen a three-breasted woman, reports of being able to charge your new iPhone in a microwave,  and so many crazy things reported about the latest Ebola outbreak.

Everyone can afford to be a little more skeptical about online reporting. Here are some top tips:Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 10.03.30

1. Evaluate it’s likelihood.

I remember a couple of years ago there was a story that surfaced that claimed ‘SAMSUNG PAYS APPLE $1 BILLION SENDING 30 TRUCKS FULL OF 5 CENT COINS’. They didn’t. They most definitely didn’t. You couldn’t fit $1billion in 5 cent coins into 30 trucks. You couldn’t even fit them into 1000 trucks. And you most certainly couldn’t get your hands on that many coins in the first place. This interesting article from the Guardian explains in more detail why.

2. Evaluate the source.

Just because something was retweeted thousands of times on Twitter doesn’t make it true. Actually, more credible sources sometimes get it wrong too. The problem with journalism in the digital age is stories are shared so quickly and can be written by absolutely anyone that myth can easily be taken as fact by thousands, even millions of people. So what is a good rule to go by? “If a story is viral, truth may be taking a beating”.

3. Is it satire?

There are some really excellent satirical news sites out there. I still see people sharing these articles with shocked emoticons or outraged tag lines attached. Then about ten or so of their friends replying with equally angry comments before someone has to point out their mistake.

4. Do I really know what I’m sharing?

The internet has exploded with info graphics and memes lately. Anyone can create one, and anyone can make them for their own agendas. This means that if you see a picture of a melancholy pensioner with a caption that angrily states his pension is less than that of an immigrant, alongside some facts and figures, it’s probably best that you stop to consider the bigger picture.

One of the biggest culprits of this is Britain First and their ruthless Facebook campaign.

As Another Angry Voice states, “Britain First use populist infographics to dupe unsuspecting people into following their hate group. In between Islamophobic rants and immigration lies the Britain First admins intersperse images that the majority of people agree with (infographics decrying animal cruelty, anti-paedophilia memes, support our troops/football team memes, don’t leave dogs in hot cars memes …) so that ordinary people get hooked in to following their page.”. Read the full article here.

Ease of communication with millions around the world is one of the most exciting things about the world we live in today. Just use the power wisely. Remember George Orwell’s novel 1984, and the Ministry of Truth, rewriting history. We were always told “don’t believe everything you read”, which is now more relevant than ever.

Boromir meme

19 May

Creative Design Lab: Evaluation

The techniques I have learnt over the course of this Creative Design Lab have been, and will continue to be, very beneficial to me throughout my career as a designer. The methods I’ve used, from simple mind maps, lists and group ideas generation, to the six hats method, 9×9 grids and more.

Whenever I start a new project, I can use these techniques to generate the best ideas/solutions possible, test and evaluate them properly, and view projects as the continual reflection and redesign process that they are.

I feel that the last project was definitely my strongest from a creative standpoint. My processes developed well over the course of the last few months, and the creative thinking became far more natural by the end. When I look back on these blog posts, I am both proud of what I’ve achieved and critical of some of the decisions I have made, which I can learn from in the future.

 

cdl2014

19 May

Creative Design Lab: Wearable technology week 3

Last week, I did a lot of ideas generation, and used various creative methods to expand on my ideas. I then conducted lots of research into types of technology, specifically in terms of fabric, sensors and detection. This week, I started to create my prototype based on this.

It consists of a vest and an app with an interface as detailed below.

 

PROTOTYPE PART 1: VEST

Hot and cold

Made from a special fabric that contains an active cooling agent, which reacts with the wearer’s own sweat to lower their body temperature. It also has fibres woven into the fabric that can be switched on if the wearer becomes too cold, and heats up the body until an optimum temperature has been reached. This combination works to keep the body temperature constant, and help the infant to sleep through the night.

Vital signs

The vest has stainless steel yarns woven into the fabric itself that monitors the infants heart rate, respiration rate and skin temperature, and uses integrated Bluetooth to send that information to the app. The monitoring of vital signs can relieve parent’s anxiety, and lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Moisture

There are also sensors in the poppers at the bottom of the vest. They can detect if the child is wet, which can help during the potty training phase, and to alert parents to any leaks.

Vestprototype

An important part of this vest is its ability to go through the washing machine/tumble drier and without any parts being removed, for easy cleaning. This is because it has all the elements woven into the fabric itself.

 

PROTOTYPE PART 2: APPLICATION

The application will be in the app store, available to download for free to the user’s smartphone or tablet. It connects to the vest using bluetooth and offers a simple visual display of the three main elements included in this design. It would set off an alarm if the device detects that human intervention is needed, and this would be reflected in the display.

monitorappfinal

I wanted to keep the design really simple, as it would mainly be used at night while the parent is only semi-awake and often drowsy. I also decided not to put the numerical value of the heart rate/temperate as it cold be confusing and some users wouldn’t know what the ideal is.

To present how this would function, I made a paper prototype of this app.

paperprototype

This is a good representation of how the app would set off a warning for one or any combination of the elements.