The Family app was driven out of a personal pain point during the Covid-19 pandemic: disconnection from remote family.
I found it difficult to share in the lives of my family with existing planning tools. Thus, I decided to use the Jobs To Be Done framework (JTBD) to get closer to my family. I settled on a guiding user job: "To share more space with my family, while the world becomes more remote".
The app uses shared spaces such as a shared calendar and shared notes to keep remote groups of people involved in each other's lives and future plans.
The purpose of this case study was to move quickly with MVPs to design, prototype, and test the Family App using the Design Thinking methodology: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test.
Users (aka family "Members") face a behavioral problem and aren't using existing shared spaces, such as Google calendar, to stay connected as family lifestyles are becoming more "remote."
As the world embraces the idea of remote work and socially distant living, families need a place to connect and share the future events in their lives.
Hypothesis and solution
I believe that family groups can stay more connected and present in each other's lives when they have shared spaces designated for family.
My solution was to create a "shared space" app with two main spaces geared toward family: calendar and notes.
The outcome was a mobile-first app where family groups could easily keep up-to-date and collaborate in shared spaces.
Essentially, I created a Google calendar and evolved it for family groups in order to achieve the JTBD. I started with user research and was able to design and test a clickable prototype with my own family and friends.
I was particularly fascinated with the behavioral shifts created through the packaging of the app. Since the app was designed for families, the purpose of the calendar shifts to match the needs of the family and users recognized that distinction.
I follow the Design Thinking methodology: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test
🔍 UX research & Job to be Done (JTBD) framework
Using the Jobs To Be Done framework (JTBD), I settled on a guiding user job: "To share more space, while the world becomes more remote".
Following human-centered design principles, I conducted user research by surveying my family and friends. I found that people already had enough tools to keep connected but simply weren't using them for family.
I gathered that families rarely used a shared Google calendar, Google docs, or other shared space because they are too professional or formal.
People always opted for more casual and informal connection points, which resulted in less connectivity and little shared space.
🛠 Minimum viable product (MVP)
I set out to create an MVP that captured the core functions of the app to see how users valued the product.
I chose a neutral color palate and action color before constructing styles and components to fashion each screen with the core shared spaces.
The MVP helped me gather learnings quickly in order to focus on what presented the most value to the user, saving time and effort in the process.
👀 Questions & observations
After conducting a Usability Audit of my first MVP, I began forming some questions and observations.
To easily document these, I followed the structure [situation], [response], [problem to business or experience] to ensure I'm aware of users and business needs.
When exploring the app, users do not have enough contrast or hierarchy to guide their actions, which causes the user to lose confidence in how to use the app.
When discerning the difference between types of events, users have difficulty understanding the personal vs family events, which causes user confusion about how to use the events feature.
When attempting to use shared notes, users do not have a quick access route to view all notes, which causes difficulty finding specific notes unless you know the associated event.
When collaborating on existing events, users do not have an intuitive way to suggest a change to the event, which causes frustrating back-and-forth or event duplication
How might we
My observations allowed me to form a how might we statement to begin forming a solution.
How might we increase the usability of the UI and educate the user on key features?
Following my How Might We statement, I wrote a hypothesis that helped me frame the problem for user and business goals.
🎯 The user goal is to increase usability and education about the app to increase confidence when using the app.
🎯 The business goal is to increase the number of users willing to share the app in order to acquire new users.
I believe that adding more access points to key features, creating more contrast and hierarchy, and adding educational welcome screens will give the user confidence while using the app.
✏️ Rapid sketching
Following the creation of my hypothesis I rapidly sketched solutions in lo fidelity. This helped me quickly map and understand the possible design options for the product layout.
Low fidelity prototype & wireframes
I mapped the user flow between each page with a lo-fidelity prototype.
Styles & components
I used auto layout and the 8pt rule to create multiple variants for the UI components to help me design easily and constantly.
I also created a branded feel by introducing a logo and brand colors. I used the created styles and components to build version 2 of the MVP.
High fidelity prototype
Below is the second version of the prototype that I created.
With the hi fi prototype, I formed a testing script with scenario and tasks for the user to complete to validate the prototype with real users. With the script in hand, I conducted a moderated test with family and friends.
I tested how users flowed through the app and performed key tasks such as creating an event, completing the welcome screens, and navigating the app. I followed up with questions to ascertain user frustrations, experiences, and opportunities.
The results revealed user trends and frustrations with user flows. This identified key areas of weakness in the user experience and informed my next iteration which centered around consolidating events and notes into a simpler experience.
The outcome was a mobile app where family groups could easily keep up-to-date and collaborate in shared spaces.
Essentially, I created a Google calendar and evolved it for family groups in order to achieve the JTBD. I started with user research and was able to design and test a clickable prototype.
I was particularly fascinated with the behavioral shifts created through the packaging of the app. Since the app was designed for families, the purpose of the calendar shifts to match the needs of the family.
In the end, I used MVPs as baby steps to improve the UX and UI design. I failed fast, minimized waste, and pivoted my time and energy toward the outcome with the highest user value. This process of rapid iterations and testing allowed me to approach the JTBD by simply focusing the digital space that families share as the world becomes more remote and distant.