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Plan It Case Study

Understanding the value of the MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

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Problem:

Making plans with friends can be frustrating. Especially when you have to toggle between different apps, emails, and Facebook events trying to find something interesting to do on a Friday night.

Objective: 

Design an app that easily allows users to search for events close to a designated location. 

Plan It was an idea for an app that I designed for Springboard’s UX Design Workshop. This workshop took students through the fundamentals of UX Design and a user-centered design process.

Outcome:

I created a lo-fi prototype that was tested and validated with 3 users. Users could discover new events based on an existing location. 

This was achieved through:

  • Research and persona development

  • Surveys and interviews

  • Identifying the apps core features and building the MVP

  • Sketching user flows and lo-fi prototyping

  • Tools used: Sketch, Invision, Illustrator, Marvel

My prototype tests the following user scenario: You have dinner plans at Ribalta restaurant. You want to find an event to add to your plans and text it to your friend.

Test the prototype yourself!

 

My Process

 

Research: Surveys & Interviews

I sent out a Typeform survey and interviewed potential users of the app to understand how they made plans. Responses were only recorded from participants who made plans with friends at least once a month. 

“67% of survey respondents said that they first check what day their friends are free before searching for something to do.”

With 15 survey respondents and 7 interview participants, I grouped their feedback into two personas:

My research showed that the problem we were trying to solve existed. Users needed an easy way to search for events close to a designated location. Many interview participants also brought up other pain points that I considered incorporating when designing.  

 

User Stories

User stories are short sentences used to organize and prioritize how each screen is designed. They are a good way to help designers stay user focused. I wrote out user stories for each core feature of the MVP:

Image: List of user stories for the MVP core features

 

I sketched out on paper what the flow for these three features would look like: 

 

I turned these into digital lo-fi wireframes, but in hindsight, I would have stopped here and used these sketches as a paper prototype to test with users. This would have saved me time before moving into Sketch and Invision to create digital wireframes. It’s important to test early and often so you don’t get too far with a bad design.

 

Validate

The first iteration was tested with 3 users.

Prompt: You want to make plans with your friend on Saturday. Create an itinerary for the day and text it to your friend. 

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0/3 users were able to complete the task. They all got lost when trying to figure out how to create an itinerary and weren't sure how to add to the itinerary. 

 

Re-Analyze

My first design had failed. I asked myself: Was I solving the right problem? I took the feedback from the 3 usability tests and incorporated them into my second iteration. This led to the following changes:

Image: A side by side comparison of the first and second iteration of wireframes to show improvements. 

Focusing on building an MVP was crucial to an efficient workflow. It became clear that I was trying to include too many features like discovering new venues and creating an itinerary when this wasn't how users were actually making plans with their friends in their day-to-day. I scaled it back and focused on creating an easy to use event discovery app. 

 

Re-Validate

I created my 2nd iteration of wireframes in Sketch and prototype in InVision. I conducted another round of usability testing with 3 new users.

Prompt: You have dinner plans at Ribalta restaurant. You want to find an event to add to your plans and text it to your friend.

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3/3 users were able to complete the task!

 

Takeaways

Designing the MVP first is crucial and helps us stay user focused. After user research, designers can get lost trying to design solutions for too many pain points of just a few users. Testing early and often helps you get the feedback you need to design a solution for the right problem.