Week 3

Abstract Our learning objectives for the week are:

  • Define user personas and their importance to the design process.

  • Explain the value of user flows to the design process.

  • Compare and contrast user flows and wireflows.

  • Determine the competitors on which to focus your research.

  • Conduct a competitive analysis to make a design solution recommendation.

Post 4: User Flows

While searching for our problem statement, we touched on a similar product on the market called 'Find-a-Player'.

Find-a-player is a multi-platform app designed to take the pain out of organising and finding players for sports, games & events.

This app isn't that bad, but I think it could play a more significant part in aiding mental health and include other features beyond finding people to enjoy events.

There's a lot of cognitive load in the app, with no clear channels people can follow. There aren't any visual triggers that aid or inform interactions either.

I took the product apart and found it to have eight essential user journeys:

  1. Create a profile

  2. Find a friend

  3. Find an event

  4. Create an event

  5. Chat/Messaging

  6. Manage events

  7. Pick teams

  8. Collect and make payments

Our app will have the same, but we'll optimise these journeys and add a level of 'gamification' features that will promote sustaining friendships, mental health and keeping fit.

User-flows User flows allow us to think through the individual steps and decision points our user experiences when completing a specific task. Sometimes these conditions are known as the happy path or path to conversion.

Laying out each step of the task is extremely useful as it can help communicate, predict and identify the logical steps and pitfalls of the product we're designing. By detailing how our users could behave, we can remove barriers to conversion and any frustrations within our product.

I decided to brainstorm the key routes a user could take, both as a new user and an existing user. This included event managers and single event participants.

I prefer to mind-map flows (to start) to organise my thinking and work out where content needs to be on each page. If I do that, I can begin to sketch out the screens. The benefits of doing it this way can save us from going too far into the design before we can adjust.

However, we need to be mindful, as users do not always take happy paths. Users will take whatever path they want and paths that are easy for them. User-flows help us to preempt these paths and provide paths of least friction. For example, a user may be frustrated if clicking someone's name didn't take them to a profile page. While technically not in our initial flow, it should be in our application flow and documentation provided to our development teams.

Post 3: User Interviews

Our market analysis suggested our available market to be 3 million men within the UK and males with an average age that felt most lonely to be 35 (The Jo Cox Foundation, 2017).

This is a good ballpark for me to recruit participants—30+, male and located in the United Kingdom.

Facebook Ads Promoted posts on Facebook is my go-to recruitment method. You can reach out to a large number of people in a fast and cost-effective way. You don't have to be an expert to start advertising on Facebook. Using the simple self-service tools, you can target respondents based on age, gender and lifestyle, and more specific things such as page likes and brand preferences. What’s more, because people who use social media channels are generally tech-savvy, it’s a pretty excellent recruitment tool for online user experience testing. The dashboard is excellent too. You can track performance and create easy-to-read reports. The platform is scalable so that you can pivot to a new demographic if you need to. Screener questions To ensure we’re getting the 'right' type of users who are likely to use our app, we need to have some screener questions. Questions to filter out time-wasters and ensure participants meet our criteria. The ones that qualified, I would contact and arrange a qualitative interview. The tool I use is SurveySparrow, as it has Facebook integration, and you can edit and publish your post within the tool.

The screener questions I used are based on the UCLA Loneliness Scale; the scale was developed by psychologist Daniel Russell (1996) to assess how often a person feels disconnected from others. The questions were:

No

Statement

Never

Rarely

Sometimes

Often

1*

How often do you feel that you are “in tune” with the people around you?

1

2

3

4

2

How often do you feel that you lack companionship?

1

2

3

4

3

How often do you feel that there is no one you can turn to?

1

2

3

4

4

How often do you feel alone?

1

2

3

4

5*

How often do you feel part of a group of friends?

1

2

3

4

6*

How often do you feel that you have a lot in common with the people around you?

1

2

3

4

7

How often do you feel that you are no longer close to anyone?

1

2

3

4

8

How often do you feel that those around you do not share your interests and ideas?

1

2

3

4

9*

How often do you feel outgoing and friendly?

1

2

3

4

10*

How often do you feel close to people?

1

2

3

4

11

How often do you feel left out?

1

2

3

4

12

How often do you feel that your relationships with others are not meaningful?

1

2

3

4

13

How often do you feel that no one knows you well?

1

2

3

4

14

How often do you feel isolated from others?

1

2

3

4

15*

How often do you feel that you can find companionship when you want it?

1

2

3

4

16*

How often do you feel that there are people who understand you?

1

2

3

4

17

How often do you feel shy?

1

2

3

4

18

How often do you feel that people are around you but not with you?

1

2

3

4

19*

How often do you feel that there are people you can talk to?

1

2

3

4

20*

How often do you feel that there are people you can turn to?

1

2

3

4

The items with an asterisk (*) are reverse scored. The UCLA loneliness scale was designed to measure relational connectedness, social connectedness, and self-perceived isolation. Although the UCLA scale uses negative wording (for example, focusing on a perceived lack of social connection), it is well-established internationally, aiding wider comparisons and suggesting translations are readily available if required. It has also been found to perform well both in self-completion questionnaires and in telephone interviews.

Scores were totalled and for users that scored between 60-80, I called and arranged a zoom interview. User interviews I conducted one round of qualitative user experience tests with five individuals. The testing pool consisted of males between 33-45 and located in the United Kingdom.

Each user was tested against the same set of scenarios to identify consumer preferences and trends. I wanted to gain insights into the user motivations and put together the following set of questions:

  1. You scored quite highly on your UCLA Loneliness Scale, can you tell me more about why you clicked on the advert and what made you want to participate in this study?

  2. Can you tell me more about your friendship groups and your current situation?

  3. What topics do you discuss in the social groups you are currently part of?

  4. What does friendship mean to you?

  5. What type of physical activities do you enjoy?

  6. Are there any activities you did with your friends that you wish you could continue?

  7. After how long knowing someone would you consider them to be your friend?

  8. How would you go about making friends today?

  9. What is your preference for keeping in touch with people?

The questions were mainly used as conversation starters and not used as a script.

Results

Participants were not comfortable recording the meeting, and I didn't push for this either as participants were not paid for their time. I was, however, able to take notes the following notes and aggregate them below.

  • Participants felt intrigued by the headline, felt disconnected during the lockdown and thought they hadn’t seen their friends in a while, so why not. They felt lonely at the time.

  • Participants felt they had a few work friends and old school friends.

  • All felt disconnected; they haven't been able to meet up because of lockdown.

  • All connected in Whatsapp groups

  • One participant had just got divorced and ended up losing most of my friends too.

  • The main topics of discussion in current social groups (Whatsapp) were: banter, porn, politics, sports, and generally taking the piss out of each other.

  • No serious topics were discussed, but employment came up a few times, as well as money. But no family-type issues during the event (such as divorce).

  • Reliability was a crucial part of friendships, ease of talking and support after grievances.

  • Physical activities in the panel were running, gym, football, tennis and cycling.

  • Overall, participants didn't feel they could ask friends to meet up as schedules clashed, and it was too much of a hassle.

  • 2-5 years was the ball-park length of time they would consider someone being a friend

  • Making friends was mainly done through work, partners, local areas (such as at the pub, walking the dog, commuting). They didn't specifically ask.

  • Preferences for keeping in touch were: Whatsapp, Facebook, Signal and online gaming

Conclusion Overall I was upbeat after the interviews. While neither of the participants’ answers matched any of the Positive and Negative archetypes, had I presented the app to this user set, they would feel optimistic about it. Three participants had taken-up individual activities due to the feeling that friends schedules clashed. Most of them felt they were maintaining relationships via digital platforms so I doubt this would hinder them from creating meaningful bonds outside of their current circle.

References

  1. Russell, D.W. (1996). UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3): Reliability, Validity, and Factor Structure. Journal of Personality Assessment, 66(1), pp.20–40.

  2. The Jo Cox Foundation. (2017). The Jo Cox Loneliness Commission. [online] Available at: https://www.jocoxfoundation.org/loneliness_commission. ‌

Post 2: Market analysis

Loneliness is a subjective, unwelcome feeling that happens when we have a mismatch between the quantity and quality of social relationships. It is often associated with social isolation, but people can and do feel lonely even when surrounded by others. Loneliness affects us all at some point and can become a severe problem when it becomes chronic, which, over time, can grind us down, affecting our health and wellbeing and damage our ability to connect with others. Over the years, studies on loneliness have reached different conclusions on the levels and overall distribution of loneliness across the UK and various groups. A survey commissioned by the Jo Cox Foundation (2017) on Loneliness estimated eight million (35%) men feel lonely at least once a week, whilst nearly three million (11%) feel lonely daily. However, more than one in 10 men admitted to feeling lonely in the survey, also admitted they would not disclose it to anyone. The research, commission by the Royal Voluntary Service (2017), also reveals triggers to loneliness. Those who have felt or feel lonely said the situations that made them feel that way were: moving away from friends and family (18%), going through a break up (17%), being unemployed (17%) and following the death of a family member (17%).

Other key findings from the research include:

  • 26 is the age that men think they had the largest group of friends and 38 when they had the smallest.

  • Of the men who had experienced loneliness, the average age to feel most lonely was 35.

  • Over one in 20 men (7%) say they have no friends, and of those that do, nearly one in 10 (8%) have no close friends.

  • Just under three in 10 (28%) see and speak to friends/family regularly.

  • Nearly one in 10 men (9%) do not see anyone regularly.

  • Men who are, or have been lonely, say it makes them feel isolated (39%), depressed (35%) and less confident (27%)

Preventative measures Some studies have indicated vigorous physical activity positively affects mental health in both clinical and non-clinical populations. Global market research firm Mintel (2017), estimates the industry for private health and fitness was worth £3.1bn in the UK in 2017 and imagines mental wellness as the natural add-on to gym sessions — getting fit inside and out. In conclusion, I estimate the market size to be:

Category

Number

Total addressable market

8 million men

Target or available market

3 million men

Expected market share

£3.1bn

References

  1. Feng, L. and Wei, W. (2019). An Empirical Study on User Experience Evaluation and Identification of Critical UX Issues. Sustainability, 11(8), p.2432.

  2. Kim, C. and Mauborgne, R. (2013). Strategy Canvas | Blue Ocean Tools and Frameworks. [online] Blue Ocean Strategy. Available at: https://www.blueoceanstrategy.com/tools/strategy-canvas/. ‌

  3. Mintel (2017). Health and Fitness Clubs - UK - 2017 : Consumer market research report | Mintel.com. [online] Mintel Store. Available at: https://store.mintel.com/report/health-and-fitness-clubs-uk-july-2017 [Accessed 24 Feb. 2021].

  4. Jo Cox Foundation. (2017). The Jo Cox Loneliness Commission. [online] Available at: https://www.jocoxfoundation.org/loneliness_commission. ‌

Post 1: Stakeholder Interviews

This week, we're going to make sure we were solving the right problems by running an alignment workshop. An alignment workshop is a stakeholder meeting that allows us to structure our thoughts and define the work more clearly—increasing the chances of success. We spend ten minutes talking about the business’s current challenges and asking questions about our customers, problems, solutions, measurement, power, and plans. After that, we close out the meeting and create some preliminary Behavioural archetypes. These archetypes do not explore solution ideas but enable us to create a high-level workflow and visualise initial investment areas. Once the workflow is complete, we'll do some market analysis and get an idea of our market size. Market size is simply the number of potential customers we could sell our product or service to. There are two types of market size to calculate along with our expected business share:

  • Total addressable market is our product's potential market and is usually the first type of market size to calculate.

  • Target or available market is the market size we can realistically reach. It's a subset of the total addressable market.

  • Expected market share helps us learn what share of the market you want to aim for, and what you expect your business to achieve

Alignment workshop As this is a fictitious product, I was the key stakeholder, so I ran it solo.

The alignment workshop canvas is structured into five columns. Each column is allocated five minutes, so the whole workshop should take around 30 minutes.

The interview questions asked during this session were:

  • Who are your customers?

  • What are the problems they face?

  • What is your vision of the solution?

  • How will you measure that your solution is working?

  • Who will you need help from and when do you need to do this?

These questions are inspired by the Blue Ocean Canvas (Kim and Mauborgne, 2013), whose original questions were:

  • What do we eliminate or reduce?

  • What do we raise?

  • What do we create?

After running a few workshops, I moved away from the blue ocean questions as the answers became too wide, vague and repetitive. I had to ask too many follow-up questions which irritated stakeholders.

Additionally, I kept on getting template answers such as, 'we aim to eliminate food waste, by raising awareness of food waste and creating an app that supports this'. Too wide and inefficient. My current session provided the following results.

Question

Answer

Who are your customers?

  • Men over thirty

Have you considered any other demographic?

  • Not yet, I wanted to get the product right first and see if it was sustainable

What are the problems they face?

  • Men find it difficult to maintain friendships as they get older

  • Stereotypes prevent men from expressing feelings

  • Other commitments (work, family, self) allow easy excuses for not meeting up

  • It's difficult to find a new group of friends as you get older

  • There's a social awkwardness about asking someone to be your friend

  • Similar apps in this space do not provide an end to end experience. Find, book, pay, attend and talk.

What is your vision of the solution?

  • Provide men with a platform where they can manage, create and join physical activities

  • Provide unintrusive tips, hints and conversation starters so users can discuss share experiences

  • 50 hours is the theoretical amount of time required to form a bond

  • Physical activities have been known to help mental health issues

  • Shared experiences create strong bonds

How will you measure that your solution is working?

  • Number of events created

  • Number of events attended

  • Track friendship strength

  • Number of articles read

  • App activity (engagement)

Who will you need help from and when do you need to do this?

  • We need to convince credible content creators to provide mental health advice

  • We need to launch when most of lockdown is over

  • We need to create partnerships with sports venue booking platforms/systems

Preliminary Behavioural archetypes I used the answers to create a set of Behavioural archetypes that would represent the user's mindset and intent, rather than the single person view of a persona.

A behavioural archetype encompasses how consumers perceive the brand/product, what motivates them to engage with it, what they expect, and how they reflect on their experience. Behavioural archetypes look at motivations (intent) and are useful for determining what drives or harms loyalty in the long run.

For the basis of application design, each archetype is broken into two mindsets. Active and passive. This approach supports first-time user experience and long-term use of digital products. (Feng and Wei, 2019).

The active mindset supports users when engaging with the application, and the passive supports users when they are not using the application.

Mobile apps tend to have a much shorter service life than most other products; hence designers need to create experiences that serve both first-time and long-term user experiences.

Based on the results of our stakeholder interview I produced the following archetypes:

Active

Passive

I want to participate in physical activities with people I know and people I don't know.

I want to be aware of activities people I know, and people I don't know have created.

I want to communicate with people on the platform to maintain and create meaningful bonds.

I want to look back at communication sent to me and have the ability to respond

I want to create, pay and book physical activities with people I know and people I don't know.