Duration: October 2021 – June 2022
Role: UX/ UI Designer
Tools: Sketch, Adobe Suite, invision, Optimal Sort
Client: CareerFoundry (student project)
Create an app that provides you with all your mountain needs. Trip information, friends and all.
– Detailed maps of locations for users
– Option to search for any mountain
– In-depth information displayed sporadically
– Detailed information too specific for the average user
– User flow efficiency increase
– Rating system for weather forecasts/mountain experience
– Other apps that are tailored directly to a group of users within the desired demographic
– Strong Online Presence
– Daily rating system for large quantity of mountains
– Poor Navigational Display
– Information is limited to surrounding areas
– Allowing users to interact with mountain maps
– Gain a larger following through SEO work
– Apps that contain more data
– Limited ability, opposed to too much ability in other competitor
User research was conducted with the intention to understand the research goals displayed below. This was accomplished with a session of surveys and user interviews.
• Identify levels of interest and consistency while using the app.
• Identify pain points within the overall experience of looking up the information needed for a day on the snow (using our app or other methods.)
• Determine behaviors and engagement of users while using the app.
• Reveal issues within the app and areas in which it can be improved.
User Interviews & Surveys
Everyone interviewed likes to go to the mountain during the week; the fewer people on the mountain, the better. This can be a main focus of the app to display the volume of skiers on the mountain.
Participants will travel further to larger resorts in order to have more room on the mountain.
Potential users base their entire trip on what day they can make it up to a mountain in order to avoid large numbers of people.
It is a major deterrent if people spend their time waiting in line to get back up the mountain (lift lines).
Mountain conditions have a major effect on how participants get to the mountain and what they wear.
When planning large trips to mountains, plans can easily fall through due to a lack of resources holding participants accountable.
Two user personas were created based off the reasearch conducted above. These personas define a realistic character that is likely to use the product Snowstee.
User journeys are a visual representation of the user’s experience. The user journeys were a great way to expand upon the user personas and define requirements for the app. The personas were given tasks to complete which helped reveal pain points along with solutions that made the most sense.
User flows further helped in understanding and anticipating the cognitive patterns of users by identifying areas where the navigational flow could be improved. This visual representation would ensure that SnowStee would be intuitive and efficient when it comes to accessing its most basic features.
An initial site map was created during the information architecture phase of the project, this captured all the content available in the SnowStee app. The goal of the initial site map was to identify the pages and categorize them in a way that makes the navigation intuitive. Allowing the user to find the information they are looking for in an easy and straightforward fashion.
Card Sorting & Similarity Matrix
Having created an initial sitemap of the SnowStee app, a closed card sorting was conducted using the OptimalSort platform. Feedback was gathered from 16 participants. This assisted in validating decisions and identifying any points of confusion for the users.
The matrix below showcases the participants’ responses and groups them into areas where improvement is needed.
The Similarity Matrix pointed out an interesting connection between having friends on the app, along with sharing in-depth details about mountains. For this reason, the option to share mountain details on a lesser scale (rather than sharing the details of the entire mountain) was added to the sitemap. Also from the Matrix, validity of sitemap details were provided for “Mountain Details”, “Account” and “Social.” The card sorting brought upon a fresh take on naming different categories.
Using the refined sitemap and the user flows, a low-fidelity prototype was created for the three core features of the app: Create Trip, Favorite Mountain and Comment on a Trip.
The most important part of this process was not making the sketches look good. It is key to visualize the functionality working in a tangible setting.
Low and mid-fidelity prototypes were translated into high-fidelity prototypes. This allowed stakeholders to click around through the application and get a sense of how it will feel and function once it’s completed.
After creating the high-fidelity prototype, it was time to test the SnowStee app on users.
Six remote moderated interviews were conducted over Zoom or at a controlled environment. The users were instructed to perform tasks using the app. Questioning on both ends was utilized to clarify the results of and the test itself. Below are the findings displayed in a Rainbow Spreadsheet.
During usability testing, there was a need for more character in the app coming from almost all participants. An A/B Test was conducted to calculate the aesthetic appeal and how clear the design was communicating to the user.
Conducting the A/B preference test helped to judge the success of design elements and how to move forward with the prototype.
UI Design – Logo
The creation of a logo was meant to highlight what the SnowStee app does and identify it simply and comprehensively. This wordmark logo was based on a script font. The free-flowing curves represent the slopes of a mountain and the connection of the letters indicates the social functionalities.
A design system was created to establish the SnowStee brand personality by fine-tuning colors, typography, grids, elements, and icons. This step of the process is crucial in ensuring a seamless handoff to developers. Click on either image to view the full UI Design System.
Once the design system was created, it was applied to the prototype and the final screens for the application were created. Below are a few of the final screens.
Time to shred! Search mountains, view weather stats, create a trip with friends and more.
Understanding how powerful the benefits of a user-centered design approach are.
Snowstee was the first project where I was responsible for the entire product design process: starting from defining the problem, research and ending with UI solution.
Every step of the process is crucial in reaching the solution of the problem statement.
The biggest challenge in creating this app was incorporating the highest amount of empathy possible. Keeping the user in mind at all times; it can be natural to go with what seems to be the best route.
There will always be a more refined version of the product available, for both users and stakeholders.
Incorporating a more robust social component
With social media incorporating itself into everyday life more each day, the app will need more social components: user submitted videos, reviews and articles are a few of the next features to be built.
Develop a sustainable subscription-based business model where users can schedule lessons both on and offline.
Live Mountain Feed
Pairing with ski resort’s videographers to get a feed of each mountain in real time. This would add an appealing visual element to parallel statistics displayed on mountain pages.