Product: iOS mobile app
Challenge & Scope
While I was in the UX Design Program in 2018, my class project was to build a minimum viable product (MVP) and business plan pitch deck in 10 weeks. My challenge was to pivot, Toucan, a college tutoring service to a product that helped college students manage their time better. After conducting research and going through the design thinking process I came up with a time management tool that would help college students build better smartphone habits.
- Product planning & strategy
- User research
- Design Thinking
- Information Architecture (IA)
- Product design (UX/UI)
College students struggle with time management, which affects their academic performance. According to Cengage Learning, a survey was conducted asking instructors if their students struggle with time management, 80% responded most of the time. Baylor University reported college students are spending 8-10 hours per day on their smartphones. Smartphones have become highly addictive and are being used to procrastinate and to escape from reality.
BurnRate is an iOS application enabling people to build better smartphone consumption habits. The app helps users track their time spent on apps, Set time limits and disable their apps.
After 6 month of market validation from the students at UCLA I came to this sobering conclusion. College students are not willing to pay for tutoring services. Although a small percentage of students were willing to pay, our main business goal was to build a service that solved a problem for the larger mass. I began writing down all my assumptions with the service.
I began my research process with the goal of understand the problem deeper, so I reached out to some of my previous Toucan customers and UCLA students. My assumption was college tutoring was a band-aid solution to a deeper problem. I was able to speak in depth with 7 people who shared their experiences with being in college, how they mange their time, and their experiences in high school.
After conducting user interviews I began to analyze the recordings to identify patterns in the participant stories. I gathered some meaningful insights which allowed me to begin framing my user pain points into a problem statement and my hypothesis of what could be a broader solution.
Persona- The transfer student
During persona development, I narrowed down my user group to one archetype who I believed would need this tool the most. Transfer students had the most trouble managing their time and transitioning to the college life. My goal was to develop an MVP transfer students loved and to evolve the product to fit the next most critical archetype.
I began ideation once I had a solid understanding of the problem and who I was solving it for. I used a couple design thinking techniques that allowed me to brainstorm several different ideas at once. I narrowed my ideas down after conducting a SWOT analysis.
How might we?
What if, I like, I wish
I used storyboarding to map out the users journey. This exercise helped me think about the full context of the user. I started thinking about how the user would discover the product, how they would use it, and how they would discover the value when they use it for the first time.
I used a business model canvas to begin formulating a business model and to begin developing a business pitch. This exercise allowed me to asses the viability of this product and to communicate the bigger picture to internal and external stakeholders. I have attached the final pitch deck below.
I began my product planning process with story mapping and a product roadmap. These exercises allowed me to understand the complexity of each feature being built and to prioritize what feature is the highest level of urgency. It was also helpful to consult with engineers to understand the feasibility of the product, development time, and cost.
During the design phase of BurnRate I began my process by creating a site map to have a mental model of the product. I chose to use a flat navigation to minimize the steps for users to complete tasks. I also wanted to make sure I chose a few features that users really valued and were high impact. BurnRate was more of utility centered app therefore minimizing daily usage and efficiency were some of my core values of the app.
I used the whiteboard exercise to sketch the initial flow of features. It was much faster than paper sketches because I wanted to begin wire framing as soon as possible. Time was of the essence and this was the fastest route.
I decide to hookup my wireframes on Invision to get some user feedback before investing time in mockups.
I conducted remote user testing with 5 participants to validate the first iteration of features. This also allowed me to asses how my users valued these features and in what order of importance. These were the results
- Users found the reporting feature the most valuable feature.
- The “set limits” feature was also the second most valued features.Scheduling screen time was to much effort and users needed something more flexible to their volatile schedule.
- Users also wanted to add stronger restrictions on the disable feature. They said “Whats stopping me from turning my app back on when I’m being impulsive”
After user testing I decided to focus on three features for the initial MVP. The “screen time reporting” tool allows users to discover their poor phone habits. The “set time limits” tool allows users to restrict their time on apps they are abusing. Lastly, the “disable” tool allows users turn off apps temporarily to stay laser focused on important tasks.
- Screen Time Report
- Set App Limits
- Disable Apps
My next steps are to continue iterating on the MVP and improve the UI elements on the app.