Mac PC on work desk

LATITUDE

Productivity Web App Research & Validation

Productivity Website Application for Creatives.

CHALLENGE

The client created a design solution solving for a  personal need but wanted to know if it could be valuable to a larger audience through validation of the product concept and understanding of the problem space.

MY ROLE

Prototyper

TOOLS

Adobe XD

Google Docs

Google Sheets

Miro

Zoom

TIMELINE

10 Weeks

HOW MIGHT WE HELP FREELANCERS AND FOUNDERS

DO MORE OF THE WORK THAT IS IMPORTANT TO THEM?

OVERVIEW

Picture this, you wake up at the crack of dawn, do your sun salutations or, go for a run. You have breakfast, fresh roast coffee, with an almond bagel as you sit at your desk.  Your laptop open in front of you, ready to tackle the workload, because there is workload, and you just stare...you just don’t know what you should work on first!

 

A client deadline is quickly approaching but you have that overdue logo to create for your freelance business, or that podcast to preview and edit before posting.   Where do you begin?

WHAT IS LATITUDE?

Latitude is a productivity web application.  It’s more than a to-do list...It’s a personal productivity system for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and creators who want to get more done by doing less.  But, it's a new product, more of a concept.  Validation of this concept, with the ability to easily and quickly build the proposed solution, was imperative to ensure Latitude becomes a leading industry platform in the long run.

LEARNINGS

01

02

03

The prototype is NOT the product.

K     keep 

I       it

S      simple

S      stupid!

I am NOT the User!

The prototype is not the product, no matter how good a design, and this initial stage of design and ideation was only the beginning of a larger, longer process I would not be apart of. 

In hindsight, this was my first client as a User Experience Designer and I learned that it’s okay to make mistakes, that there is no one clear cut path to designing and shipping a product.  AND it's okay to think outside the box!

THE CHALLENGE

We were asked to validate the underlying problem space and a potential design solution.  Was Latitude just a passion project or could it be valuable to a larger audience?  We had to find a solution that can be solved simply and effectively with a web application. 


Simply put, we had to design a new web app that allows busy people to do important things.  We first had to ensure that this was a need for our target audience.  The challenge with that is; if you asked 10 people “what is productivity and how can one be productive?” you would get 10 varying responses.  

MY ROLE

As one of the prototypers on the team, I worked closely with the Researcher and Info Architect to discover, understand, identify, test, and prioritize features and concepts prior to design.

GOALS

We needed to develop a research-informed understanding of the target audience’s behavior in terms of work and productivity.

As a team, we set three main goals:​

UNDERSTAND

Understand the current behaviors of balancing tasks and workflows.

  • Whether help with productivity is something these specific users are seeking out.

  • When were they successful in completing tasks, and when did they fall short?

  • Will a more structured approach around daily, weekly, and quarterly tasks/reviews help these people connect deeper with their work (impact, enjoyment, etc.) and allow them to be more productive?

DETERMINE

Determine what they consider to be important work.

  • What are their underlying motivations when working on tasks? 

IDENTIFY

Identify opportunities for further exploration.

  • What are the methods and tools used?  What works well and what doesn't?

  • Are there challenges users face with setting goals and managing tasks?

OUR DESIGN PROCESS

Empathize

Test

Prototype

Ideate

Define

If only it was this easy!

We worked collaboratively, meeting at least once, sometimes twice a week, with remote meetings using Zoom, when necessary, and updating the client weekly.

RESEARCH

During the research phase, we sought to understand the current state of the productivity landscape through user interviews.  Our intention for the research was to uncover the needs and frustrations of the target user and to discover their daily working and productivity routines.

  • How do you prioritize things that are important rather than urgent? 

  • What does it look like when you focus on meaningful work, rather than the tasks?

Competitive Analysis

The products analyzed in the competitive analysis were informed by primary research, in that we included some of the products that participants reported using to manage their workload.

Brand Positioning

Focusing on the theme of personal productivity, Latitude wants to sit in that space beyond what’s currently out there.  Having the simple flexibility a solo designer needs, combined with the higher-level planning capabilities of task management suites.

Interviews

The team conducted 7 remote user interviews, 30 - 45 mins long, to validate our assumptions and identify the needs of the target audience.  

  • Users were not getting all of their important work done.

  • To-do lists were too simple of a tool that doesn’t help with long term planning.

Note-taking tools
Productivity suites
Latitude

FINDINGS

After completing the interviews, we wrote down all of the responses on sticky notes and began to cluster them based on topics and similarities.

Affinity Map

AffinityMap.png
User Insights

Clustering interview responses allowed us to discover trends and patterns from which insights could be constructed. Through this process, the team identified two distinct user types and several user needs:

70%

Users want to do more of the work that matters, but find it challenging to: 

  • Identify what would be most effective to work on a given day and time.

  • Work on important projects consistently when not accountable to a client, or to anyone externally.

  • few users are willing to pay for a productivity tool if it meets most of their needs.

  • Users wanted something with easy integration to their email and calendars, but not a new tool or a tool with a high learning curve.

User Journey

Through the interviews and ideation, two key user journeys and personas emerged:

The Planners

UserJourney.jpg

On one side of the spectrum, there are the Planners

  • Manages their client work by doing extensive work planning.

    • listing out projects 

    • breaking them down into sub-tasks 

    • arranging these small tasks into their schedule (usually putting off personal work and projects) 

The Doers
User Journey.png

On the other side of the spectrum, are the Doers.

  • Takes pen to paper or to-do list tools.

  • Goes right into doing the work.

    • they spend less time on the planning phase 

    • keeps a running task list for the week,

    • or makes a list when they feel overwhelmed by the amount of work in front of them.

Personas

Pam, The Planner

  • Expand (freelance) business

  • Focus more on personal work.

  • Needs a tool with a lighter system

  • Flexibility 

  • Growing a successful business.

  • Accumulating more clients.

  • Doing fun creative stuff.

  • Spends way too much time organizing the work.

  • Prefers Productivity Suites, but some are too feature heavy.

Goals
Needs
Motivations

"I have a system in place for my client work, but I don’t always know where my work fits in."

Frustrations/Fears

Dwight, The Doer

"I like to just get to work and get things done, but am I working on the right things?"

Goals
Needs
Motivations
Frustrations/Fears
  • Expand (freelance) business

  • Get more personal work done.

  • Better organization.

  • A productivity tool that's flexible and has structure.

  • Feels connected to his work when he can physically 'check it off his list'.

  • Growing a successful business.

  • Jumping between task 

  • Knows his system has flaws but does not want to change it.

The Office illustrations by Dominika Hegykő

DESIGN CHALLENGES 

Houston! We Have A Problem

We decided it was time to move forward with designing the product for the planner persona because their needs aligned better with the product.

Our client did not share our same thinking.  He wanted us to target the “Doers,” the persona the data showed least likely to use a new tool.  We had to answer these questions, so we went back to the drawing board.

  • How do you design against the results?

  • How do you design a system for users that do not want a system?

  • How do we get Doers to connect to this idea?

  • Are Doers open to this product, and if not, what is the resistance?

New Affinity Map & User Journey

This new client information changed everything.  We were conflicted on our next steps, do we design for the research or the client?  To answer this, we:

  • Extended our secondary research beyond digital productivity tools.  We looked at digital tools like financial planning, fitness, dieting apps, and analog tools like "Best Self Journals" and mindful philosophies.

  • Conducted more brainstorming sessions, revisiting recorded interviews, notes, etc.

In going over all our deliverables, we found new insights we may have overlooked, didn't know what to do with the information, or maybe we didn't consider them important.

With this new information from the client and our updated research, we had to brainstorm a new problem statement.

At this point in the process, we'd had enough of research and ideation. We had to start somewhere and embrace the messiness, 

NEW INSIGHT 01

  • Both user types struggle to prioritize tasks that matter to them, however, they have different working styles and different tool requirements.

NEW INSIGHT 02

  • Users mentioned yearning for a sense of community.

  • And a way to look back on the work they've accomplished.

building prototypes that:

  • Validated the new HMW statement.

  • But still be based on user research.

  • Not a Frankenstein product.

  • And satisfy the client.

NEW INSIGHT 03

Quotes from stakeholder:

  • “The core idea is basically to have Latitude be something that provides structure for people that don’t already have it.

  • "It would force you to use a new tool and system."

Sketches

As one of two prototypers on the team.    

  • must have - 'personal onboarding,' founder spends one-on-one time acclimating new users to his product, (this makes productivity personal, specific, and structured.)

sketches_edited.jpg

Keeping in mind the Client’s ask of

  • no calenders 

  • a simple, easy to build MVP

I sketched screens focusing on

  • the core user needs that research participants emphasized -  Prioritization, Revision, and Reflection with simple, and clean UI.  

  • We also wanted to test our assumed users' need for community and accountability

sketches1_edited.jpg

HOW MIGHT WE HELP FREELANCERS AND FOUNDERS

DO MORE OF THE WORK THAT IS IMPORTANT TO THEM?

HOW MIGHT WE HELP DOERS, ADD STRUCTURE TO

THEIR WORK, TO GET MORE WORK DONE?

Prototyping

I reminded myself that this was about validating features and usability and, not about aesthetics.  

Landing Page

I based it on Buffer's methodology of their two page MVP.

  • Page 1 of the Landing Page is typical, designed to be informative, and raise awareness of the product. 

  • Specific features were highlighted

    • Accountability

    • Community

    • Personal Onboarding 

Latitide landing page
More than a to-do list
onboarding page 1
onboarding page 2

The next two pages,

  • validated the personal onboarding feature.  

The assumption is, if a user was curious or interested in the product and feature, they would click to schedule a session.

Community section
Personal Onboarding Page

Now we come into the product dashboard, and since our Doer persona just jumps into tasks,

  • I needed for them to stop and think for a moment, forcing users to concentrate on the task at hand.

  • the design was concentrated on extremely simple interactions and intuitive navigation.

  • prototype does not include any complex functionality or distractions, presenting only the features and elements needed.  

Dashboard screenshot2
dashboard screen shot1

As a way of connecting to the work, I came up with a method - Prioritize, Reflect, and Review, giving users the ability to plan, execute, and track progress.  So how does it work?

  • First, you prioritize your goal for the day.

  • Consider what you will need to achieve that goal - targets.

  • reflect by listing and acknowledging milestones you may have noticed and improvements you need to work on.

  • Finally, you review the day's accomplishments, jot down any floating ideas and/or inspirations so you can keep on creating.

  • Education and leading Doers towards behavior change was also a key aspect.

Dashboards
MVP
Latitude Prototype B video
Prototype B done by Yours truly
Usability Testing

The team conducted two usability testing sessions.  What we wanted to know included the following:

  • What suggestions might people have for improving the interaction design of the prototype in order to make it easier to navigate and understand, and to make the experience of setting goals and managing tasks more enjoyable?

  • Would users understand the concept?

  • Are users interested in the personal onboarding aspect?

Next Steps

 

The prototypes aren't perfect, but the results were positive, with a few exceptions. Users were given a scenario under which to perform specific user tasks. Their feedback included more visuals, an interest in the accountability features, and connecting with folks that have similar interests.

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Please, don't hesitate to contact me to discuss a possible project, critique my site, or learn more about my work (or me).

BROOKLYN, NY
917-474-4384
SADE@CALLMESADE.COM

© 2020 BY CALLMESADÉ

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image: MVP Personal Onboarding confirmation overlay