Habit Tracking App — Recify
Both creating or destroying a habit can be challenging for anyone. Nonetheless, with the proper resources, anything is possible.
The class was asked to come up with a new mobile app designed to build or break a habit. For that reason, the class also had to make some user research in order to identify for a market opportunity for our brand-new app.
Team Size: Individual
Duration: 1 week
Materials: Wireframe notebook, pen, pencil,
Apps used: Google Sheets, Google Docs, Figma, Miro, Google Slides
I’ll quickly summarize the whole process so that you all understand the steps I took at each moment to get to my final result.
01. Problem Choice
In order to choose a topic, I created an Instagram survey to ask people about something they did in their daily routines. Based on their answers, the most recurrent topic was “Eating”, so I decided to focus on eating habits.
02. User Research
2.1. Creating a Survey
After having chosen a general topic, I decided to narrow down my options by creating a survey — also quite generic — about food-related issues, like grocery shopping, or eating out, or any ideas for creating new habits regarding this topic. Overall, I just wanted to see what people answered and see the most popular insights so that I could focus more in detail into a specific topic.
I received a total of 89 responses, in two languages: English and Spanish.
I noticed that even though people may feel regrets about going out, they like it and don’t plan to change that habit
76% of respondents said that they enjoy eating out and can afford it; and only 10% of them wanted to decrease their habits of eating out.
I decided to gather all of my ideas into a Lean Survey Canvas so that I could have a clearer big picture on what I wanted to learn from my users, and who would those users be.
2.2. Understanding my users
So I used this feedback to get to know better the interviewees and ask them about their routines both during the week and the weekends and ask them about how those routines had been affected by the pandemic, since I wanted to create useful for the current situation.
I interviewed a total of 8 people, where 5 of them were women. Among the respondents, I had
- 4 people living with their families and 4 living with flatmates. Among the first 4, only one of them had children.
- 5 of them have a relationship, while only 3 of them are still single.
- 4 of them live either in Madrid or Barcelona — the biggest cities —, while the other 4 live in other smaller urban areas.
- 7 of them eat normally at home or bring a Tupperware to their school/workplace.
- 7 of them are transitioning now to gatherings in friends’ places, often this meaning ordering for delivery services.
- All of them used to eat at least 1 per week out — before COVID.
- All of them have decreased their eating out habits due to the pandemic.
- All of them fear another potential lockdown and the effects that such situation would have in their social lives.
Above all, these demographic factors help us understand how often they tended to go out before the pandemic, and some triggers that may cause to them to keep eating out after the pandemic (friends, couples,…). Moreover, the geographic location also gives us an insight on how people are differently affected by the government restrictions. For instance: Basque people will tend to change less their routines, since the government hasn’t imposed very strict measures yet.
So I started drawing an affinity mapping by choosing the most recurrent answers and topics. And, as you can see, “Socializing with food” and “Changes by covid” were the most reiterated topics. So I decided to take that path.
2.3. Problem Statement
And I started asking myself: how can I help people to keep socializing with all the current restrictions? And I thought: well, okay, what if I try to encourage my users to socialize while doing some food-related activity?
2.4. User Persona
Based on the insights of the research that I had previously carried out, I created a user persona which set the stage for whom I would be designing this new app. And that is how Martina, my 26-year-old user, was born. Martina is frustrated that the government restrictions are preventing her from going out and have something with her friends. But again, she wants to find a new hobby, something that inspires her, and we know how to help her.
She will enjoy Recify, an app that enables her to challenge her friends into cooking the same dishes and then vote for the winner among them. With this initiative, she will both keep socializing through eating, at the same time that she discovers new and original recipes.
So I started drawing some crazy 8s to see what my mind was coming up with, and I got quite a lot of ideas. And I started asking for feedback to the people that surround me, and they confirmed my fears: I was overdoing and proposing too many ideas. So I had to converge.
And I reduced a lot of my ideas, to have a simpler flow, in which my user wouldn’t get lost.
Iteration is the process by which you keep improving your product or service based on the insights gotten from the usability testings. In this case, I carried out a first overall feedback in a Group Critique session, where my teammates gave me their first impression about my product, and then, I carried out 3 rounds of usability testing interviews.
Throughout these 3 rounds I kept refining my proposal, until the current one.
CHANGE Nº1: The Home Screen
As simple as it may look, the home screen was iterated several times, due to the fact that the first idea was for it to show not only recipes recommendations, but also restaurants’ recipes’ recommendations, which was a little bit too much for the first version of the app. For that reason, I kept it simple just showing challenges and recommended recipes. I had to work as well in the copies of the main screen, since several users said that they didn’t have a clear idea of what to do.
CHANGE Nº2: The Recipe screen
At first, I wanted for the user to be able to see the price of each ingredient in the recipe page, so that they could directly buy it. After the first feedback, I also considered giving the chance for the user to ask for that recipe/meal in their delivery services, or directly buy ingredients from the platform or through an integrated partner. Nonetheless, it was still too much for an embryo version of the app, so I kept it simple once more. I ended up adding some reviews and videos from other users, to make it more enriching for the users to learn how to make the recipes.
CHANGE Nº3: YOUR FAVORITE RECIPES
As a designer, one of the hardest moments in a project will come when you realize that your ideas — which you believed to be amazing — are not understood by your users, and therefore, you need to change them. This screen is the perfect example for it. When I first thought of it, I imagined it as a Pinterest board where you could save and share your recipes. Nonetheless, even if I tried and tried to make it understandable for the users, I had to keep it simple once more: users wanted lists of their favorite recipes, and they wanted that to be easy and intuitive. So I created 2 tabs, one with all of your favorite recipes, and another one where you could save these recipes into lists created by yourself.
CHANGE Nº4: THE CHALLENGES SCREEN
For me, the challenge part was the main one of the project, and I didn’t really get into it until the end of the first iteration. I thought it would be nice to have like a list of all your challenges at first sight, so that you could see which ones were still “active” and which ones had already “expired”. However, the term “expired” wasn’t really understood by my users, since it led to some misunderstood such as “oh maybe I didn’t sign in or something”. So I created 2 tabs: one for live challenges and another one for past challenges.
As a result, some main interactive screens of my final prototype include the following:
If you want to try out my interactive prototype, you can do so in the following link. Please, any feedback about it will be more than welcome!
Key Learnings and Next Steps
Some things that I realized while doing the project include the following:
- DON’T START DESIGNING MID-FI SO EARLY! If you put too much detail into the visuals, the icons,… too early, then iterations will tend to be more tedious, time-consuming, and focused on design things rather than on usability. The more detailed the lo-fi or mid-fi, the more iterations you’ll make.
- Timebox myself to become more productive. When you have a limited amount of time to come up with a solution, an idea, or a step in the process, you become much more productive — at least that’s my case.
- Benchmarking most used apps helps the user better understand the workflow. Taking for instance, Airbnb, Netflix or Instagram and their screens into consideration to apply the same principles to your own app makes it more intuitive to the user when they are trying your new app.
Some things that I would like to keep on working include making the app a much more interactive app (for instance adding live challenges, or another screen with your friends’ news feed and meal pictures, coming up with more engaging features, …).
As usual, the more changes you would like to implement, the usability tests and iterations you will have to perform.
But overall, the response to this project was quite satisfactory, and some people would really like to see it developed. So… anyone interested in investing on it? 😉