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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, decisions, problems we faced on the way, and how we tried to solve those. This is one of the most complex apps that we’ve built so far. Many great ideas didn’t make through since we were playing on time.

Understanding the current application.

Current App

Youcerto a social podcasting app that aims to foster intelligent conversations between interesting people. With their tagline being “Back to Conversations”. They differ from other podcast apps because they allow users to converse over a topic by joining rooms and talking to other users. They add conversations in podcasts giving it a nice human connection to listening to podcasts.

“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, science etc. On every article you have the ability to comment and join rooms. Currently there can be multiple rooms per article in order to allow users to join different conversations (talk about different things, regarding the article). Users also have the ability to create their own room and invite friends to talk about the topic.

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

The Task

Goals of the Project
(01)

Youcerto wanted to build a place where people can find and discover podcast they might want to listen to, and even jump in a conversation and talk about topics they enjoyed. Extending the range of features Youcerto currently offers benefits the market by minimizing the entry barrier to publishing podcasts, which would lead to an increase in the marketplace supply, and as a result, their revenue.

I believe that conversation rooms are a great piece of technology and with the Youcerto team we believe that with the addition of podcasts to the conversation room, their experience could be improved.

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 10 potential users that fit the persona in combination with 5 personal interviews to collect qualitative and quantitative data to validate or invalidate the features of Youcerto.

I prepared a survey with Google Forms and distributed it among 10 users of the app. The purpose was to determine the basic ‘pain-points’ of the users when it comes to the app.

Learning about the problems of potential users is a great way to be inspired and motivated. Working with real-world data is a good starting point to help avoid guesswork. Using this information provided a better chance to discover the root of the problem and how to solve it.

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

Our key customers that we could optimize the user experience for would be Podcast Listeners and Podcast Creators.

From these two groups, We decided to focus on the Podcast Listeners. Listeners are also part of the majority since people listen to podcasts much more than 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. Wether it be 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 their voice to be heard. These users have a strong preference for mobile-first, fast, real-time communication. Listening to Podcasts just isn’t enough.

A key differentiator of this user group is that they already listen to podcasts on Apple Music and Spotify, so they want something that feels similar to those experiences, with conversation rooms included. They want to be part of the podcast rather than just the listener.

Using Jacob's Law we can create something that feels like the users have used Youcerto before, therefore making the design familiar to them. This helps to leverage prevailing mental models and to create 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 constraints. I decided to do a storyboard for a car ride. Since this one poses the most constraints on attention and time, and needs to be addressed. This would also lead to a better experience in any scenario.

Defining Tasks

In order to start building the app UI flow, I mapped the user-tasks that explain the steps the user should take in order to use our app successfully:

1. Finding Recommandations

2. Searching For a Podcast

3. Listening to podcasts

3. Joining Voice Rooms

6. Quickly Changing Podcasts

Mapping

Prior the interface development stage, the functionality of each entity of the platform was analyzed. Such a map makes it easy to navigate through numerous attributes during prototype development.

Early Sketches

I started off the design by making sketches of the main function and flow of the app with all the features such as listening to podcasts, reading articles, and joining conversation rooms included.

Since there was no testing of the early sketches, i decided to draw them out on procreate just so I could get the ideas I had out of my head. In a perfect world these would either be hand drawn or printed and tested with potential users before moving into lo-fi and hi-fi.

Low Fidelity Design

I started making some low-fidelity wireframes in order to get my thoughts out and have a basic understanding of what I’m doing. Mapping out the interface, the different screens, and the basic information architecture in order to see what needed to be changed and whatnot.

The Solution

How the Pain Points were solved.
Personalized From the Beginning

With 87% of surveyed users saying that finding relevant content was difficult, we focused on fully recreating the onboarding experience from the start.

In order to solve this problem, we decided to go with the implementation of an extra screen at the start of the interaction, when users first sign up, letting users set their preferences on what topics they like and what topics they don’t like. Users would also be able to go into their settings and change the topics even after signup.

This leads to showing a personalized feed from the first moment they join the app. With this in place, users will always have a personalized feed of podcasts  and conversations that they enjoy, not wasting the users' time with endless scrolling in order to find a perfect podcast.

Creating Podcasts

Users wanted the ability to create their own podcasts and share articles they recently read, talk about them and have people join them in the conversation. In order to add this feature, I did some research on podcasting to further learn about how often the users would create podcasts.

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 bar as support, we decided to develop a secondary navigation within the podcasts. A place to navigate between Listening, Reading and Having Conversations.

Feature Conclusion

Having all these features, meant 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 them each section resemble what it actually is. Negating confusion and making for a better overall 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 System and Specifications. 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 to implement the changes and gather insight into the behavior of the users. Which is the last stage of my design process.

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 to implement and mix articles, podcasts, and voice chats together. I also faced a challenge in creating an interesting app both from the user experience side as well as the visual perspective.

Reflection

Personal Takeaways

It was really exciting to work on a real-world project with professionals in the field. I gained invaluable 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.