User Experience Designer
Strategic vision I Product design I User Research
Within the last decades, mobile phones have evolved from solely being used as a communication device into a tool that can be used for a variety of tasks: such as listening to music, browsing the Internet and shopping. This expansion in mobile phone utility led to the creation of mobile applications, providing solutions that meet the user’s needs. More specifically, the growth in mobile applications has encouraged areas such as Assistive Technology to instigate a novel method of connecting practical tools with individuals who would benefit from the support. Currently, there appears to be a disproportionate amount of AT available across varying disabilities.
Moreover, assistive technologies target specific aspects of an individual’s disability/disorder; however, many disabilities/disorders are multifaceted. An example of this is with dyspraxia, where they’re fewer assistive technologies developed/adapted than other Specific Learning Differences such as Dyslexia. Further research indicated that the lack of applications for adults with dyspraxia, and therefore the use of many mobiles application as a replacement, causes problems leading to confusion and stress.
The main aim of this project was to eliminate the gap within the assistive technology market by designing an application that assists adults with dyspraxia, providing all the necessary tools to help them organise, navigate and coordinate their day. The application focused on the needs of adults with problems with planning, organisation, memory, getting to sleep and coordination. Focusing on these aspects could support adults with dyspraxia who experience issues around scheduling, time management, remembering tasks, lists or other pieces of information, following directions/navigation, stress, and insomnia. The application explicitly targets areas that individuals with dyspraxia could find problematic and/or that impact their ease of living within their home, work and leisure time, e.g. remembering routines, cleaning/maintaining their homes, making and keeping appointments or other arrangements. The application allows the different categories of issues that individuals face to connect, avoiding confusion and allowing them to synchronise their goals for the day. It means that users can use many different applications to schedule their day.
The project approach was based on a user-centred methodology and followed essential activities, including requirement gathering, specification, designing prototypes (low to high fidelity) and user experience testing, conducted intermittently throughout the project to understand potential working issues.
Participants were recruited by the University of Dundee and the Dyspraxia Support Group of New Zealand, who shared the questionnaire. Also, the forum DyspraxiaAdults.org.uk agreed to share the questionnaire with its members. It included: closed questions to specifically gather demographic information and technological aptitude; open questions to allow participants to write their own opinions and experiences regarding dyspraxia, particularly about applications that helped them with their daily routine, and if they could describe a fictional application that would help them; and multiple-choice questions. Being mindful that some individuals may have difficulties writing open questions, the majority of questions were multiple questions, and the overall questionnaire was kept short and concise.
It became apparent from the results that there is an overall need for an application to recognise the users’ voices and automatically save notes or events. Also, participants recurrently mentioned that they preferred an application without a password at login, as they expressed that it can be difficult to remember passwords. In general, there appeared to be a need for an application to combine all the currently used applications. Among the participants, eight mentioned that they were using three to four different mobile applications to complete their daily tasks successfully. For example, a participant said they were using: an alarm application to help with time management, e.g. to remember appointments; a Wunderlist app for lists and to-dos; satnav to go to work or the location of other weekly activities; and the WhiteNoise application to help them sleep. This situation was typical for many participants and further supports the need for an application that contains a calendar, to-do lists, relaxed music and navigation to help them manage their day. In addition, many respondents said they were struggling to remember to pick up their items leaving their houses, such as wallets, car keys or mobile phones.
USER JOURNEY MAPPING
Identifying pain points and opportunities systematically and straightforwardly was essential to ensure that Framework met users’ expectations. Therefore, creating a canvas and user journey mapping was necessary.
Then a journey map was used to predict what a user would do when using the application. A prospective map also helped to highlight users’ expectations of using a novel application that offered a variety of features.
USER PERSONAS & SCENARIOS
Four personas and corresponding scenarios have been adapted from the research gathered by the questionnaire to capture potential users’ motivations, frustrations and the essence of who they would be.
DESIGN PRODUCTION AND USED TOOLS
After collecting and sketching basic ideas, I created low-fidelity wireframes for the conceptual design using Balsamiq. I also used Marvel to add an interaction within the created low-fidelity wireframes from the Balsamiq tool. It was because Marvel is a web-based app that can turn sketches, images and mock-ups into realistic mobile and web prototypes.
Within this project, I used ten heuristics, focusing on the functionalities of the Framework’s low-fidelity prototype, which includes: adding lists and organising and maintaining pages of the application.
Moving forward, I created mid-fidelity prototypes I could use with the users. The chosen colours of the application included a dark background and light colour icons and fonts because, according to Uxpins’ book, this can create pleasurable ‘feelings’ for the user if appropriately designed. Similarly, I specifically chose the fonts to provide visual clarity. The fonts for headings included light San Francisco, sized 32 display. The registration process allows users to select fingerprint at login, although they still have the option to have a password if they prefer. Following this, a window appears on the screen asking the users if they wish to activate voice recognition. Once they had decided to accept or decline voice activation, I gave questions to users shown on consecutive windows. These questions allow the system to analyse and understand the user’s voice setting them up for voice recognition.
Following the feedback received from the participants, I moved to some iterations that would meet users’ criteria and also continued with the design of new pages.
Changes based on the testing :
To continuously inform the users about their progress, the daily tasks were divided into Completed Daily Tasks and Remaining. In that way, they could see the completed jobs and feel proud of their achievements. This positive feeling can also lead users to become more comfortable and confident in their self-esteem regarding developing their organisational skills. Furthermore, users can also be informed about the remaining tasks and interact with them.
Framework’s homepage was designed to focus users on the critical aspects. As a result, the homepage contains four links; Completed Daily tasks, Remaining Daily Tasks, Important Tasks and Add your Quick task. The interactive buttons below the functions that correspond to the upcoming task, i.e. “make a phone call” and “start my route”, sends the users to the particular page, allowing them to proceed with additional commands that correspond to fulfilling their tasks. It will remind users of their upcoming task and enable them to engage with the job. Depending on the task, participants can choose what icons to connect the task to, e.g. if the task is to send an e-mail, then they can choose to add ‘create an e-mail’ to their interactive button that would send them to the new e-mail window with the person already addressed (provided that they are in their contact list).
Framework allows users to save their favourite places for them to be able to command the system to start the navigation in “my Route“. Also, participants suggested that it would be nice to see the following “Route” on the map for the application to have some gamification elements.
Quick lists are an essential feature because they allow users to add important lists at the interface by selecting the name they want to see. This space within the application will enable users to put whatever they think is essential or currently on their minds.