Fall 2018


Tools Used: Paper and Pen, Adobe XD, Adobe Illustrator, Invision, ProtoPie


My Contributions:

Research: In the initial research phase, I assisted in conducting initial observation and semi-structured interviews. After that, I worked with my teammates to analyze the data and distill user needs. I also took the lead for data presentation by making task analysis chart, personas and user journey map.

Design: I took the lead for the design activities including ideation, concept design, and prototyping. I designed the initial wireframes for the group to consolidate user flow, and then the user interfaces; Made changes according to the findings from usability testings.

Evaluation: I prototyped the design that was used in the evaluation sessions. I helped with analyzing users' feedback and made design recommendations.


 Overview 



 Design Objective 


We started with the idea of empowering the Atlanta local artisans to boost their brands by effectively conveying the value of their products online and expanding online outreach. However, with their constraints on time, money and energy, artisans spend most of their time running the business, rather than doing the creative work which is the core of an artisan business. So we ask ourselves this question:

How might we help the artisans to efficiently and effectively
publish their content online SO THAT artisans can spare more attention on their creative works?


Through our research and concept development, we have found the solution of using image generated hashtags to help them market their business on social media efficiently. The Hashtag guru mobile app starts with the idea of suggesting tags to smoothen the flow of content publishing. This app allows artisans to explore suggested hashtags based on their uploaded picture, and craft and share a post across all of their social media accounts. We also provide the artisan with analytics data on their posts’ performance as well as a planner that allows the artisan to schedule posts according to their timetable and upcoming seasonal events.

In essence, Hashtag Guru is intended to assist artisans in managing and expanding the outreach of their social media posts across all platforms.




 Key Features #1: Hashtag Generation 




The app gives a set of possible hashtags after scanning the photo user uploaded. The hashtags are platform specific, and trending hashtags are also provided. Users also can ignore the recommendation and select their saved groups of hashtag for a quick posting.


hashtag generation




 Key Features #2: Hashtag Preview 




"Hashtag is like a black box, and you never know what's in it." Well, now they do. We provided a detail page for each hashtag where users can see the pictures associated with the hashtag to make sure they have selected the right one. Furthermore, a brief quantitative data for the hashtag performance is also provided for users to leverage.


hashtag preview




 Key Features #3: Schedule Posts 


Users can set a time and date for which the post is to be sent out, so users do not have to post manually on a specific day. There're two flows users can schedule a post: One is through general posting and select the date in the end; the other way is to go into schedule section and find the exact date or holiday and directly add a post to that day.



scheduling
scheduling




 Key Features #4: Analytics 


Users can check the actual performance of hashtags through analytics. Users can monitor the overall performance or individual hashtag performance, which can help them decide what hashtags are more efficient and they could save for future use.



analytics
analytics






 Process 


process

 Research 


We started with the idea of helping local artisans managing their online business, and it was a rather broad area. So, we used the following process to not only help us understand the user and context, but also narrow down the problem space that we can intervein.



 Observation 


We went to several farmer's markets, artisan-based stores and artisans studios to understand what aspects the artisans' daily work includes or what habits they have. This method allowed us to understand the context of our users and helped us to form interview questions in the next stage. Some of our findings include:



 Analysis of Existing Online Platforms 


To help us understand artisans online business a bit more, I then analyzed current platforms that they might utilize including social media, e-commerce, and wholesale websites. I intended to understand what the goal of each site and the pros & cons of using each platform.



 Semi-Structured Interviews 


We used semi-structured interviews to get a deeper understanding of our target users and narrow down our problem space, to ask about their experience, their end goal, their daily work, and online business models. Through this, we are hoping to better empathize with the users and distill the information that would help us design something useful for the artisans.



 Information Mapping #1: Affinity Mapping 


Creating affinity maps allowed us to structure scattered data across multiple interviews into organized classifications that reflect common themes shared between our interviewees.


affinity mapping


We were able to identify some higher level themes and design implications which later helped direct us towards specific problem spaces where we could positively impact how these artisans run their businesses.


themes

  Information Mapping #2: Synthesis of Findings 


Through the common themes, we brainstormed various "How-might-we" questions that established a clear problem space worth exploring for:

how might we

The team then got together and determined the most promising problem space by analyzing each "how-might-we" statement (such as doing task analysis and analyzing the domain knowledge required). The problem space we would pursue was: how might we help artisans efficiently and effectively publish their content online.



 Information Mapping #3: Task Analysis 


This process helped us distill the specific steps involved in publish content online and identify possible opportunities for design intervention.


task analysis

 Information Mapping #4: Personas 


Once we had established a clear problem space for our project, we created three types of personas that would help guide the design process based on how they interact with the process of publishing their work online.




persona1

Part-Time Artisan

persona2

Full-Time Artisan

persona3

Emerging Artisan






 Information Mapping #5: User Journey 


While charting out the tasks through in-depth task analysis, we realized the need to also understand the overall experience of our targeted audiences. The figure below captures the journey of the artisan as they traverse the process of publishing their content in online space.

user journey map


 Ideation 


Keeping what we know about the user in mind, we started a brainstorm session where everyone attempted to come up with as many ideas for design solutions as possible. The mind map below captured the areas of solutions.


 Design Alternatives 



 Evaluation and Feedback for Design Alternatives 


We went back to five artisans to present our three design alternatives and ask for their feedback. The team members also discussed the pros&cons and future opportunities for each design alternatives.

User feedback sessions gave us deep insights into how the designs will be used. Post this, the team did our own analysis of each design, taking into account not just the inputs from users but also considering:



pros cons

These inputs and constraints helped us distill our alternatives and arrive on one solution. Based on the results we got, we chose to proceed with Hashtag Guru.




 Concept Development 


At this stage, the app only had one primary function: generating hashtags based on an image. Although it met most of the design criteria and user requirements, there is one theme from the research was missing.

puzzle

This theme had been a puzzle to me since the research phase, and there's not a clear connection to the other issues. However, during the feedback sessions, a quote from a ceramic artist who sells zodiac mugs inspired us.

puzzle2

Then it hit me, and I knew where to put the puzzle. Since holiday sells big, artisans want to grab the opportunity to market their products. But with all the production work going on, how are they going to market if they do not have the energy to manage posting; or what if they do not know some particular days for marketing opportunity?


So, we thought of an idea of adding a schedule post function, allowing users to plan the posts for specific holidays or events.


We also learned that some users like to check the performance for their posts, which seems like a natural next step after posting the content. Therefore, we added another flow for analytics.



 Wireframing 


I then started with wireframing some main screens to help the group decide on a smooth user flow and the information needed to display on each page.


wireframes


 Final Design 


The Hashtag guru smobile app tarts with the idea of suggesting tags to smoothen the flow of content publishing. This app allows artisans to explore suggested hashtags based on their uploaded picture, and craft and share a post across all of their social media accounts. We also provide the artisan with analytics data on their posts’ performance as well as a planner that allows the artisan to schedule posts according to their timetable and upcoming seasonal events.

In essence, Hashtag Guru is intended to assist artisans in managing and expanding the outreach of their posts across social media.


I took the lead on the visual elements of the design with the help of one team member helping me with some section design in the screen which I then incorporated into the final design.




 Key Features #1: Hashtag Generation 


The app gives a set of possible hashtags after scanning the photo user uploaded. The hashtags are platform specific, and trending hashtags are also provided. Users also can ignore the recommendation and select their saved groups of hashtag for a quick posting.

hashtag generation




 Key Features #2: Hashtag Preview 




"Hashtag is like a black box, and you never know what's in it." Well, now they do. We provided a detail page for each hashtag where users can see the pictures associated with the hashtag to make sure they have selected the right one. Furthermore, a brief quantitative data for the hashtag performance is also provided for users to leverage.


hashtag preview




 Key Features #3: Schedule Posts 


Users can set a time and date for which the post is to be sent out, so users do not have to post manually on a specific day. There're two flows users can schedule a post: One is through general posting and select the date in the end; the other way is to go into schedule section and find the exact date or holiday and directly add a post to that day.


scheduling




 Key Features #4: Analytics 


Users can check the actual performance of hashtags through analytics. Users can monitor the overall performance or individual hashtag performance, which can help them decide what hashtags are more efficient and they could save for future use.


analytics

final design

 Click Here for Interactive Prototype 






 Evaluation & Design Iteration 



 Usability Testing 


We hope to test on the overall usability and to identify places that we can improve on, we have conducted a task-based usability testing with some potential end-users.

The users were given three high-level tasks regarding our three main flows using our click-through prototype. By the end of the test, users were asked to complete a SUS score for us to quantitatively measure our application.

sus score


 Improvement: Post Editing Page 


post editing page


  1. Choosing posting platforms: With the new grayed and colored icon, it becomes easier for users to select multiple platforms at once.
  2. Adding customized hashtags: In the original design, we failed to convey that users will have recommendations once they start typing their own hashtags in. Therefore, we changed the input line to a search bar which would function similar to modern search bars with suggestions being listed in a drop-down display based upon hashtags users type in.
  3. Suggested posting time: In the feedback session, we observed that most users did not catch the suggested time change based upon the date selected, due to the small font size. To solve this, we made the text larger and bolded the text for the suggested time.
  4. Post Now & Schedule: We made a clear distinction between Post Now and Schedule by separating the buttons.


 Improvement: Suggested Posting Time 


suggested posting time
posting time


We further addressed the issues of displaying the suggesting time on the scheduling page. Users will have a different suggested posting time based upon the dates they select. To communicate this, we made the time change clearer by giving color to the suggested time when they select a different date.



 Improvement: Onboarding Tutorial 



Although the overall app flow and interfaces were clear to the participants, we recognized that users still need some guidance to get started with the app. A set of feature explanations screens or some tutorial screens would be beneficial for the first time users. Furthermore, we recognized the long-press for preview function is not visible to the first time users, so we added a mini tutorial for them.

on boarding

 Lesson Learned 


Distribute work based on personal skill set: This is the most important lesson I learned from working within a team. It is most effective when everyone's skill is used in the right place. (frankly, that's why we work in a team in the first place.)

Making decisions based on evidence: We certainly need to make decisions based on evidence in ideation and design process. What I learned through working with others is that when we need to reach a judgment as a group, we must also have evidence to support our decision.


Thank you