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  • Writer's pictureBukola Alade

Sync App

I finally completed my Interaction Design Specialization on Coursera! (Cue the Hallelujah chorus). It is a series of courses created by UC San Diego that helps students master interaction design and its applications.

For my final project, I created an app I’ll call Sync. Sync is a project and time management app that helps individuals have control of their daily tasks and teams to stay on top of projects while being aware of what individual team members are working on.

I decided to work on this solution because it is something I have personally struggled with as a professional and also something I have seen hinder different teams in my career. Being able to work in “a fast-paced environment” needs more than expertise in your designated skill set, it also requires time management skills and the ability to work effectively in a team.

My design process for Sync involved 6 stages: Need finding, Ideation, Storyboarding & Prototyping, Heuristic Evaluation, User Testing and Final Design.

Need finding

I observed how people managed time and navigated their daily routines. I wanted to compare the different ways people work with time, the habits/rituals they create to make their days easier and how they deal with unplanned activities. I asked 3 participants to walk me through a typical work day and what their routines looked like in terms of time management. I found that each participant had varying levels of control of their time so each day’s outcome was not always as predictable for some.

Ideation

From my 3 participants, I was able to deduce a list of user needs that could be addressed.

Here are some of them:

1. Busy professional needs a way to stay ahead of daily tasks that come in at work.

2. Busy professional needs a way to be in sync with other team mates when working on a project.

3. Busy professional needs a way to prioritize tasks efficiently so that he can attend to more important and urgent tasks first.

4. Busy professional needs a way to get feedback from his superiors ahead of time so he doesn’t have to redo his work when it’s too late.

5. Hotel executive needs a way to be reminded of upcoming agendas on her schedule.

6. Hotel executive needs a way to be alerted when a guest comes (or is coming) to inspect the hotel facilities so she can be prepared.

7. Department head needs a way to see current tasks employees are working on.

8. Department head needs a way to assign tasks based on priority and execution time.

9. Web designer needs a way to manage emergency tasks when they come in.

10. Web designer needs a way to review projects with her department head to iron out all details before proceeding to execution.

15. Web designer needs a way to get upcoming project updates to get a head start.

From the list of user needs, I was able to come up with a point of view (high-level strategy, not a specific solution, that expresses the problem/opportunity)

POV: Proper planning, communication and prioritizing would create a smoother work process.

Words related to my design idea

1. Scheduling

2. Collaborative

3. Timer

4. Feedback

5. Planning

6. Reminder

7. Syncing

8. Prioritizing

9. Update

10. Progress

Storyboarding & Prototyping

I created storyboards to demonstrate who the user is, the usage situation, and the user’s motivations for using the interface. They show what the user can accomplish with my interface, but not a specific user interface design.



Next, I created paper prototypes that connected to my point of view. Each prototype instantiated one of my storyboards. The prototypes show all the essential elements of my user interface, except that it was implemented with pen on paper, as opposed to pixels and code.



Heuristic Evaluation

I conducted an evaluation by getting peers to interact with my prototype. This helped me identify any usability problem that came up as well as possible solutions.

User Testing

I used the list of solutions to improve my prototype and create the first digital interactive prototype of my app.

Once again, I got people (family and friends) to interact with the prototype while observing them. I also used usertesting.com to get more users to interact with it and get a broader perspective. This yielded another list of usability problems and solutions.



Final design

Using my second list of solutions, I fine-tuned my prototype and created a final design.




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