Student Companion is a time management application for university undergraduate students. Effective time management and university grades for students were often linked, with previous research concluding a relationship, although the relationship was found to be weak. But UX (User Experience) is a proven key component of product success. We investigated how we could leverage UX to prototype a novel time management application for students we branded, the student companion.
Current State – At the concept stage of the project, to evaluate the feasibility of the intended project, we conducted a survey that contained qualitative and quantitative questions to investigate if the students needed a time management application. The probe questions in the survey gave students the opportunity to describe their pain points from using their current methods of time management.
Survey outcome – Results from the survey analysis pointed out the need for a time management application by students. We formulated the research questions and below we explain what we did.
Adapting the 2 Diamond Design Model we manoeuvred back and forth among the four stages as the project dictated.
Insight into the problem
Discovery: gathering data We gathered data on the pain points students were encountering when using a time management app as discovered in the survey data we analysed on project inception. Using our research questions as to questions, which can be found in our paper, which you can download >> Designing for a user experience in a time management application, we divided our discovery stage into two, academic discovery and investigative discovery.
Academic Research: We used this stage to investigate the relevance of the product to students as researched by academics. Using this approach, we intended to find out the features that may be included and excluded to ensure the success of the product. We also explored answers to the third research question, what is UX?
Investigative Research: After exploring the meaning of the user experience. This stage looked into research on how to design for a user experience. Vetted literature reviews, reliable websites, and textbooks were poured on to find the latest industry procedures, processes, models, and frameworks for designing for a user experience in digital products.
What’s the solution, how will it be built, what not to do, and using what tools & technology.
Analysis: During the gathering of information in academic and investigative research, we analysed the data and criticized the information to find balance on what was useful to our project. The data from the survey was also statistically analysed modelling such methods as binominal distribution to evaluate boolean value answers. We used this information to define the solution to our problem and formulate a set of methodologies on how to solve it. At this stage, the design brief was created that contained the
See the full define stage in section 4 and 5 of the paper >> Designing for a user experience in a time management application.
Using the methodologies mapped out in the define stage, we moved into the development stage to implement the design prototype time management application. The design process was recorded in a Sketchbook that iterated through the design of the brand and prototypes offering justifications for the design changes.
At this last stage, the solution is polished, tested, and perfected before handoff. The final solution was two versions of the same application. We implemented one of the most important UX Design principles of accessibility, and produced a fully voice activated version for those with disabilities to be found at https://xd.adobe.com/view/252e271a-90b9-4928-8725-7470369404c7-707d/?fullscreen and the regular version is to be found at https://xd.adobe.com/view/f25801b3-ba5e-4459-831d-d020f48158d0-a70b/?fullscreen
Fogg explains that behaviour transpires when three things happen at the same time: Motivation (M), Ability (A), and Prompt (P) culminating in B = MAP. Applied to the research, the student who will be the user of the time management application will need sufficient motivation and ability coupled with an effective prompt to start a time management behaviour such as scheduling a completion date for a task and reacting appropriately to the prompts to complete those tasks until completion day.
Jesse James Garrett co-founder of a user experience consultancy in San Francisco called Adaptive Path, authored a book outlining a web authoring framework called the Elements of User Experience (Jesse James Garrett, 2011). Considering the actions taken by a user when interacting with an application or a product (elements of an experience) an understanding can be gained of how those decisions are made. This will enable a designer to enhance how UX motivates users to interact with the product. Garrett listed five dependent elements or levels with each level building on the level before it, starting at the bottom abstract level building up to the top, the concrete level.
According to the model, designing a product or service with the right user flow will influence user behaviour. The above four components are what a designer needs to create a hooking product.