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Youcerto

Project Brief
Project Timeline
Jan - Feb 2021
Project Type
UI/UX Design
Status
LIVE

Foster intelligent conversations between interesting people.

This case study will take you through all the design processes and decisions. All the problems I faced and how I tried to solve them. This is one of the most complex apps that I have built so far. Many great ideas didn’t make through since we were playing on time.

Understanding the current application.

Current App

Youcerto is a social podcasting app that aims to create a platform for people to socialize while talking about topics they love and care about.  With their tagline being “Back to Conversations”. They started with the goal of giving people a voice, and a platform where they can share their thoughts.

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”
― Bryant H. McGill
Current Features

Currently, Youcerto has two main features, reading articles and joining rooms to talk about the articles. Articles can be anything from books, movies, recent news, sports, and finance. In every article, you have the ability to comment and join rooms.

Currently, there can be many rooms for every article. Allowing users to join different conversations within the article. Users also have the ability to create their own room and invite friends to talk about the topic. 

These features make Youcerto a very social place where people can have conversations about things they love and enjoy. And the goal of the project was to extend the range of features of Youcerto to better serve their customers.

The Task

Goals of the Project
(01)

Youcerto wanted to build a place where people can find and discover podcasts, and jump in a conversation and talk about topics they enjoyed.

My Role

I was in charge of coming up with a new user interface and experience. Having had previous experience designing an IOS app from the ground up. I coordinated and led all facets of design including Information architecture, user task flows, interaction, visual design, and prototyping. I also conducted user research using methods such as interviews with current users, surveys, and participatory design in order to address both user behavior and attitudes.

“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”
― Larry King
1. Visual Redesign
2. User Connectivity
3. New Features
4. Make it Fun

Understanding The Customer

Discovery
(02)
The Survey

I conducted a survey with 15 users in order to gain quantitative data. I prepared a survey with Google Forms and distributed it among 15 users of the app. This, in combination with 5 personal interviews. Led to a good understanding of the pain points the users had.

Of users did not like that reading an article takes you out of the app.
Of the users wanted the ability to create podcasts and share articles.
Of the users faced problems in finding  new content.

The Customer

Defining the Customer
(03)
The Customer

The key customers that we wanted to optimize the experience for were Podcast Listeners and Podcast Creators.  We decided to not focus on the articles as much since we wanted the app to be more focused on listening & talking.

From the two groups mentioned, We decided to focus primarily on the Podcast Listeners. While giving creators easy access to creating podcasts.

We came up with the user persona in order to better understand our user and their needs:

A User Persona, is a fictional character created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way.

The Customer - Continued

Persona ~ Continued
(03)+1
When

We are going to connect with our customers at every step they have time to listen and/or talk to other people. Whether it is while driving to work, when they are at a coffee shop, while at home, or even while doing work.

Where

Listening to podcasts means that our users have a mobile device in front of them at various places -- at home, in coffee shops, co-working spaces, airports, etc.

Their Needs

Our user needs to be able to find something that they like quickly, they need to share podcasts with others, and they want to hop in the conversation with others fast. And to do that I believe these are the questions our users should be able to answer when using our app.  

1. What podcasts can I listen to right now. 
2. What conversations can I join.

Customer Summary

Based on the persona and our survey we can see that our targets are young professionals that want to be heard. These users have a strong preference for mobile-first, fast, real-time communication.

This user group already listens to podcasts on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, so they want something that feels like those experiences, with conversation rooms included. With the need of being part of the podcast rather than just a listener. 

Using  Jacob's Law we wanted to create something that feels familiar to the user. This helped us leverage prevailing mental models and to creating designs that meet our users’ expectations.

Solving

Solving the Problem
(04)
Storyboarding

Knowing the user can be using the app in different situations, with different limitations. We decided to storyboard and solve for a car ride. With this being the most limited scenario on attention and time, this needed to be addressed. This would also benefit us for a better experience in any other scenario.

Defining Tasks

Before starting to build the app UI flow, I mapped the user tasks that explain the steps the user should take to use our app with success: 

1. Finding Recommandations

2. Searching For a Podcast

3. Listening to podcasts

3. Joining Voice Rooms

6. Quickly Changing Podcasts

Mapping

Before starting the prototyping of the interface, the functionality of each page of the platform was analyzed. Such a map made it easy to navigate through many attributes during prototyping.

Early Sketches

I started off the design by making some sketches of the main function of the app. Including all the main features of the app.

Since there was no testing of the early sketches, I decided to draw them out on procreate so I could get the ideas out of my head.

Low Fidelity Design

I started making some low-fidelity wireframes in order to get my thoughts out and gain a basic understanding of what I’m doing. Mapping out the interface, all the screens, and the basic information architecture.

The Solution

How the Pain Points were solved.
Personalized From the Beginning

87% of surveyed users answered that finding relevant content was difficult. With that in mind, we focused on recreating the onboarding experience from the ground up.  

To solve this problem, we decided to put in place a screen when the app opens for the first time, giving users the ability to set their preferences. Users would also be able to go into their settings and change the topics even after sign up.

This leads to a personalized feed from the first moment they join the Youcerto. With this system in place, users will always have a personalized feed of podcasts and conversations that they enjoy listening to.

Creating Podcasts

Users wanted the ability to create their own podcasts, share their articles and have people join them in conversations. I did some research on podcasting to further learn about how often the users would create podcasts, as well as the process of creating one. Learning that this would not be a feature our users would use daily, I decided to go with the approach of not having it as a main button on the tab bar. But rather hiding it on their profile page.

Learning that this would not be a feature users would use daily, I decided to go with the approach of not having it as a main button on the tab bar, rather having it on the home page when users first sign up in order to promote the feature and let users know that creating is possible as well as on the profile page as we can see on Image 2 on the Profile section

Reading, Listening and Having Conversations

Reading.
Reading articles is currently one of the best features of Youcerto. But with 72% of the users finding it difficult to read them outside the app, we had to come up with an in-app solution to reading the articles. Making for a flawless experience between listening and reading. 

Listening.
We wanted to make listening to podcasts really simple, so we made it really simple.

Conversations.
Giving the users the ability to create and join voice rooms meant we also had to create a way for them to join through the podcast/article. This meant we had to include the voice rooms inside the podcast player. Using the bottom of the bar as support, we decided to develop secondary navigation within the podcasts. A place to navigate between Listening, Reading, and Conversations.

Feature Conclusion

Having all these features, meaning that we had to make a way for the user to tell if something is a podcast/article or room from the home screen. Therefore we made each section resemble what it actually is. Negating confusion and making for a better experience depending on what the user is feeling like.

Final Design
(07)
Deliverables

The final deliverables included user research takeaways, personas, information architecture, User Flow, Wireframes, Hi-Fi Prototypes, Visual Design Mockups, Design systems, and Specifications. And a total of 3 Documents, 2 Presentations, and 46 Screens.

In Conclusion

This project was super fun for me although it took longer than it was supposed to. The only thing left of this project is the implementation of the changes and gather insight into the behavior of the users.

What can I do better? 
Research about the features and results of competitors. Survey more users (or potential users). Usability test of the prototype with users. Better design direction.  

What did I learn? 
Designing the app has been a challenging and rewarding journey. It was clear from the beginning that the major challenge would be mixing articles, podcasts, and voice chats altogether. I also faced a challenge in creating a visually appealing application with so many features with a big focus on usability and experience.

Reflection

Personal Takeaways

It was exciting to work on a real-world project with professionals in the field. I gained valuable experience and was able to develop skills that are more difficult to emulate in the academic world. Like leading a UX project.

There are also a few stand out things that will stick with me: 
Sketched storyboard + hi-fi components make for a great way to express the context for certain features without requiring a complete build-out of an experience.

Thank you for viewing.