Project Description

Case Study

WalkShare

walkshare-mockup

Case Study

WalkShare

For my Intro to Interaction Design course, I developed the app concept for WalkShare as a digital solution to the problem faced by female college students of having to walk alone at night in Ann Arbor.

Final Prototype

The goal of the app is to allow female college students around Ann Arbor to find fellow female students in close proximity, whether through sending out a walk request or browsing through existing requests, and meet up with them to walk together at night to a common location.

With the challenge of designing an interactive solution to address a community issue faced, I defined the problem of female college students in Ann Arbor walking alone at night because they don’t have personal transportation and don’t want to use ridesharing services or public transportation for convenience, financial, and personal safety reasons. As a result, the WalkShare concept emphasizes the more trusting nature between female peers, encourages community support between women, and promotes safety through strength in numbers.

Research & Competitive Analysis

With the main problem in mind, I began my process by researching its context to gather data and insights as well as highlighted current related solutions to the problem and the downside of each option to support the need for my digital solution. I then performed a competitive analysis of similar digital solutions, analyzing the positives and negatives of each to influence my own ideas of what aspects to incorporate to build a realistic and comprehensive concept for users.

Brainstorming Alternatives

To get into the creative mindset and explore the possibilities that could satisfy user needs, I brainstormed 8 different kinds of solutions to the problem, both digital and more traditional, and sketched them to expand my thinking and consideration of more unconventional options that could impact the final solution moving forward.

Storyboard

walkshare-storyboard

To supplement these brainstormed ideas, I drew 8 storyboards to step through how each solution would be implemented by the user to solve the problem, which expanded the original concepts and gave me more clarity on which ideas would be more effective than others. After sketching the alternative storyboards, I determined that my interactive solution format would be best as a mobile phone app, which was influenced by some of the other ideas as well.

Personas

Next, I focused on the target users by developing 3 personas that represented female users experiencing different situations in Ann Arbor and having varying reasons for using the WalkShare app, which helped me consider different perspectives to guide the direction of potential features to include in the app that multiple users would take advantage of and value as part of their individual user experience.

Story Map

walkshare-storymap

Using the 3 personas, I developed a story map to walk through how each persona would use WalkShare to solve the problem of walking alone at night, which differed depending on their needs and also established the logical flow of the app’s functions that I was envisioning to accommodate the scenarios representative of what many female college students experience in Ann Arbor.

Question-Option-Criteria Design Analysis

walkshare-QOC

Through a QOC analysis, I synthesized my problem context and defined the critical feature essential for solving the problem, which is connecting and coordinating female users in advance of walking somewhere at night. I then detailed 3 alternative approaches to designing the critical feature along with my design rationale for each, which led me to combine different ideas from the concepts to enrich my design vision for the critical feature compared to my original thoughts.

Paper Prototype & Usability Testing

walkshare-usabilitytesting

Following the feature analysis and development, I applied my design thinking to a paper prototype that showcased each interaction needed for the user to get through two of the main features of the app. Using this prototype, I conducted usability testing with a few target users and solicited their feedback regarding which interactions they had a positive experience with and which needed to be adjusted to improve clarity and create a more effective user experience.

Revised Paper Prototype

Based on the user insights, I produced a revised paper prototype to reflect all of the positive changes influenced by user feedback. The most significant modification included a complete redesign of the app’s home page to increase the user capabilities for solving the problem, while other revisions expanded the power of choice for users to provide them with more control over their personal safety experience.

Low-fidelity Wireframes

The revised paper prototype served as a framework for the low-fidelity wireframes, which I created to form the layout of each screen in terms of interactions and content before applying visual design aspects. The low-fidelity wireframes were also used to establish the flow of the app’s features and functions to ensure that the user needs were being fully addressed to solve the community problem.

Brand Assets

walkshare-brandassets

After finalizing the progression of interactions and prioritizing the app’s functionality through the low-fidelity wireframes, I defined WalkShare’s visual brand style through the happy shoes logo, playful typefaces, and bold color palette. I designed the brand assets to reflect the purpose of WalkShare in a cunning manner, which includes feminine connection and personal safety, that target users would identify with and find approachable.

High-fidelity Wireframes

By combining the low-fidelity wireframes and the brand assets, the high-fidelity wireframes display the WalkShare concept in final form. These wireframes allow users to experience the flow of functions and accompanying design aspects as they walk through the account creation and video verification of student status processes and choose how they want to solve the problem of walking alone at night based on their needs.

The Outcome

This project was very rewarding for engaging in a more in-depth app design process, focusing on using interaction design to solve the problem for the user first and then applying visual details to enhance the user experience.

I learned new stages such as story mapping, QOC analysis, paper prototyping, and usability testing, which helped me keep user perspectives at the forefront of designing the solution and incorporate compelling user feedback to drive the design according to their needs.

I feel that I succeeded in developing a feasible digital solution to a recognizable problem, utilizing logical functionality and design to offer a way to improve the female student experience in Ann Arbor through community support and the simplicity of walking together.