The goal of this project is to align the business needs with the users' needs. Remember, I am not the user so there are practices and documentation that needs to be put in place that guarantee this alignment.
Inpsiration: Understand & Observe
As a user researcher, I want to understand the ins and outs of the event from all stakeholders and bridge the gap by identifying all pain points or frustrations and eliminating those areas.
What is the goal? To develop a digital experience that fits the needs of all stakeholders including event planners, attendees, sponsors, beneficiaries and all others who are interested in following the event but are not able to attend.
Interview Participants. A questionnaire was created through SurveyMonkey to interview participants to help gain a better knowledge of their experience at Steeplechase and help identify any frustrations. The participants consisted of 4-5 individuals who have attended Steeplechase in the past – each participant being from different demographic segments.
Competitor Analysis: After performing an in-depth analysis to identify competitors platforms and their products, I captured screenshots of key features that describe strengths, weaknesses, or areas of improvement for each. I analyzed how each competitor engages with their attendees and evaluated their process.
Conceptualize: Ideate & Product Scope
Once, the data from the interviews were collected and organized on my end, I scheduled a brainstorming session with the product owner where we listed out all possible features and ideas we would like in the product. These included ideas like ticket sales, event maps, push notifications, vendor and catering menus, live videos of the race an affinity diagram was created. All findings are placed on sticky notes and grouped into categories by common themes. Once these themes are placed into groups, the groups are given points and rated into what is most important.
Empathy Map / Personas: Research, from both the user interviews and brainstorming session with the product owner, is extracted and used to create fictitious users with a fake name and facial image but still showing the goals and behavior of the real user. In this project, 3 personas were created – Carla, Mark & Wendy. For example, Carla, who is a professional millennial, needs simplicity in receiving updates about the races as she is busy socializing and entertaining her colleagues while at the event.
Feature Prioritization: A feature prioritization matrix is created to identify which ideas are most important to those select personas we created earlier in the project. In Carla’s user scenario, a mobile app that would give her easy access to the race schedule along with push notifications to update her on each race would elevate pain points for her while still allowing her to socialize with her friends without missing out on the status of each race.
Iteration: Wireframing, User Flows, Prototyping & Testing
Prototype: I created very low fidelity wireframes using Balsamiq. I presented these to the business owner along with an iterated user flow. Once, the user flow and low-fidelity prototypes were in a good place, I created a high-fidelity prototype in Adobe XD that could be shared with product owners and used for usability testing.
Unmoderated Usability Test: I created a script with instructions on steps to take when interacting with the app. The user was asked to stop at specific points during the test to come back to the form to answer a series of questions so that I could better understand any pain points or frustrations that exited with the user experience.
Moderated Usability Tests: The business owner and I met with three participants through a video call to see how they interacted with the app. No direction was given as we wanted to see how they would normally react to the product as if we were not watching. We asked them to speak their thoughts (likes, dislikes, frustrations aloud) to identify any areas of friction.
Test It, Analyze It, Iterate, Repeat: Once the usability tests were completed, I analyzed the results and many revisions to the design as deemed necessary based on findings during these tests. Luckily, we didn’t run into very many pain points and pushed it into production.
Product Launch & Final Thoughts
This project has turned into a true design love that I never saw coming. Looking back on what I thought the Steeplechase App was actually going to become has altered the way I now think of design overall. My perspective towards putting my own personal biases and wants into the processes has been altered. Learning to allow the project to manifest on its own is deeply satisfying and organic. I’m attending the event again this year and cannot wait to be on the other end of this as an actual user.