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FD App connects those who want to read and write reviews about makeup and skincare products. The app also allows users to discover beauty products and trends from other beauty enthusiasts, as well as discuss beauty and lifestyle topics.
As the Female Daily Forum is everyone’s one-stop solution for beauty and lifestyle and is now on the FD App, that is FD Talk, an improvement will always be required to keep FD Talk as everyone’s go-to place.
On top of that, it all started when I wanted to find a product recommendation for my skin type in the FD Talk feature. I was disturbed by too many similar topics, which include the same question but only differ in the group category and its title.
Several variables must be identified to create a user-centered design experience: 1) what customers want, 2) what pains they experience while using the feature, and 3) the reason for each pain as the goals of this research are to dig deep into the more complex defined problem space and to give UI and UX solutions. Hence, the type of research to reach this goal are mixed methods (exploratory & explanatory research): surveys & in-depth interviews.
Strategy: Surveys will be a preliminary study —which will measure the number of users experiencing the same issue. Furthermore, this will provide a chance to find out about the other problems that users may meet. Followed by in-depth interviews to explore users’ perspectives, feelings, and opinions and gather important information that will guide and form the basis of an improvement.
- How many people have the same problem?
- How do users behave in using the FD Talk feature?
- All gender, 17– 40 years old
- FD App users & using FD Talk (both reader and/or reviewer)
Participants were dominated by women, of various ages but the average age was 25 years old. The majority of participants have been using FD App for more than a year and using the FD Talk feature for less than 6 months.
9 out of 16 participants experienced problems. The majority of them struggle to find and choose relevant topics and find the problem quite disturbing. This will be followed up with an in-depth interview.
Whereas, 7 out of 16 participants did not experience any problems.
- They find it helpful in finding product recommendation
- It’s pretty easy to find the topics they’re interested in
- Easy to find the groups they’re interested in
- Overall, they feel helped by the FD Talk feature in accommodating them to discuss various beauty and lifestyle topics.
Findings: In-Depth Interview
5 FD App users in Indonesia (domicile varies) were interviewed according to predetermined criteria. Three are readers, while the other two are both readers and reviewers.
I organized the collected information into 3 broad themes: Behavior, Pain Points, and Suggestions from participants.
Behavior is divided into 2 categories: Motivation and Expectation. In general, the motivations of users represented by participants in the FD Talk feature are: 1) to get product recommendations and reviews, 2) to share personal experiences, and 3) to have a discussion about skin problems.
On the other hand, the overall user expectation when using this feature is to get product recommendations based on the same skin type with honest and trusted reviews.
I categorized all the problems into three categories based on the page components: Recent Activity, Groups, and Other frustration. And the most common issue highlighted by participants during interviews is the confusion between Talk and Topic in Recent Activity.
As shown in the Affinity Diagram above, some participants have their own solutions to the problems they are facing. One of them is the idea of combining Talk and Topic if there is no difference, but if they differ, the difference should be clearly shown.
Since the research participants include Readers and both Readers and Reviewers, so I created two types of user personas: Reviewer and Reader.
- User Persona — Reviewer
The two types of user personas may look similar, due to their common tendencies in terms of need and frustration. The major difference between them, however, is the purpose of using the feature. When a Reader is described as someone who needs product recommendations for acne problems and makeup products and shares personal experiences about it, a Reader and Reviewer (represented by the Reviewer persona) loves to try ‘hype’ skincare and makeup products and write reviews about it.
User Journey Map
As stated in the previous section, User Persona, research participants include Readers and both Readers and Reviewers, meaning that it shows that there are two different journeys. The first is a journey for users who want to find product recommendations (left) and the second is a journey for users who want to give recommendations or write reviews (right).
As shown in the action plan above, three low-effort and high-impact possible solutions are adding onboarding sessions, group details, and creating Recent Activity based on people’s current social media behavior.
After compiling research findings that covered some of the problems in the FD Talk feature, I worked to define the problem statement, which was chosen to be solved in design.
Problem 1: Users (both readers and reviewers) struggle to distinguish between Talk and Topic in Recent Activity.
Problem 2: Even though there’s a short bio describing the group, it’s still not enough. Users are still unsure about which topics they can discuss in the group, and off-topic discussions are common.
As the most common issue, the confusion between Talk and Topic in Recent Activity might be solved by designing Recent Activity based on how people nowadays behave on social media.
Using a new app is like meeting someone for the first time and first impressions are everything. Instead of taxing users’ memories by asking them to remember various areas and components of our app, its function, and what differs one component from another, it would be more beneficial if we spend our time integrating existing mental models, the current social media behavior, and spending time making the app easier to use.
In real life, we tend to respond quickly if someone calls out our names and we tend to mute the group if they give us a lot of information. The current Talk and Topic provides all conversations on various topics that the user did not previously follow, nor did the user even join the group.
2. Group Details
The second common issue is a lack of clarity about what topics can be discussed in the group. The current short bio might be quite attractive and gives a brief description of the group, but still, users don’t have enough information on what topics to discuss. And they often find other users discussing off-topic.
By adding a special section that explains what topics can be discussed, it is hoped that it can minimize off-topic discussions. Furthermore, if this issue is not resolved, users will find it difficult to find topics that reflect the group and will be more likely to leave the group.
But first, what do Recent Activity and Group Details currently look like?
This flow describes the overall flow of users using the FD Talk feature.
The FD Talk flow, content, and hierarchy are represented visually in information architecture (IA). The picture below shows the information architecture of the specific improvement area, Recent Activity, and Group Details.
I created wireframes to help me visualize possible solutions and get an outline of the design.
Here are some mockups built from wireframes that already contain images, icons, typography, and so on.
I’ve made a brief summary of where the improvements are and a brief reason for those improvements.
I’m implementing a design system to ensure visual consistency across all of my designs. This allows me to create more designs easily and minimize processing time.
Prototype & Usability Testing
The next step is to test the prototype which can be seen here. This prototype has 31 screens, including Group Details and Recent Activity (Groups and Mentions).
As the study uncovered several problems and two of which are in Recent Activity, the confusion between Talk and Topic, and Unclear Group Details, therefore, I am trying to develop the Recent Activity by designing the interaction based on current social media behavior and I’d like to test whether the feature meets the user’s wants and needs and is simple to use.
- Join a group and see group details
- Identify the difference in Recent Activity’s components: Groups
- Identify the difference in Recent Activity’s components: Mentions
- Identify the difference between the two components in Recent Activity
The usability testing results show that all participants completed all tasks successfully. This test has given me new insights into the two different behavior of people when it comes to opening group notifications:
- Conditionally open the group notification: a) If they had free time, b) If they needed the information as well, and c) If someone (who mentioned them) truly needed the information
- Will definitely open the group notification when they were mentioned
Afterward, all participants agreed that these improvements were designed to their needs, developed in responding to the problems they frequently encountered, and were made simple to use; it didn’t take long to learn each component of the improvement. But still, some parts still require some improvement.
- The improvement in Group Details was appreciated and well-received by the participants. As a returning user, one participant stated that the idea of the improvement is great as she already knows what is on the group description, which only gives the user a short bio and no explanation of what topics can be discussed, and she understands that this improvement is actually trying to fill that gap. However, a list of topics that can be discussed is required to make everything simpler, clearer, and to the point.
- Testing on Recent Activity has other advantages, such as separating previously followed topics from mentioned history allowing users with limited free time to easily and quickly respond to replies or questions addressed to him.
I’d be grateful for any comments or suggestions you might have. Let’s work together! 🙂
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