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DecideIt: See what other people are thinking

The importance of questions cannot be overstated — everyone has them, whether driven by curiosity or decisions that need to be made. Getting answers quickly is often needed, and let's face it, we all crave making fast and well-informed decisions.

DecideIt Iphone mockup of a poll-it with a slider bar.
DecideIt Iphone mockup that shows how to sign up for an account
DecideIt Iphone mockup that shows a poll-it with multiple choice options.
DecideIt Iphone mockup that shows the "circles" interest groups a user can join.

My Role:

Project Lead, UX Researcher

The Team:

  • Michelle Lee - Visual/UI Designer

  • Kaiya McCormick. - Visual/UI Designer

  • Roen Procter - UX Researcher

Timeline:

December 19, 2022 - January 11,  2023

Tools used:

Figma, Miro, Notion, Slack, Google Suite, Pen & Paper

The Problem:

People want a user friendly, visually intriguing, and interactive community so that they can quickly and confidently give or receive advice to answer everyday questions.

Overarching Goal:

Balance business and user needs by effectively communicating DecideIt's unique purpose and position in the market while attracting and retaining an active community of engaged users.

Background

A decade ago, Prentice and Kwasi created DecideIt as a solution to slow and inefficient decision making. They envisioned a polling platform that would allow users to receive quick and visually-focused answers to their questions while eliminating the need for prolonged back-and-forth communication. 

Planning for Innovation

What were the stakeholders' goals for our four week sprint?

  1. Clearly communicate the purpose of DecideIt to new users

  2. Identify DecideIt’s unique position in the market

  3. Investigate user interests and the reasons for their online engagement

  4. Design a visually pleasing and easy-to-use interface

  5. Develop a thriving community of active users

** Our team was instructed to focus on the web version initially as it was more built out and the product the stakeholders felt would be the most beneficial moving forward.

What was my role as the Project Lead and a UX Researcher?

As project lead, my focus was to provide structure, organization (utilizing Notion and Slack), and create a collaborative environment through open and honest conversations and communication. During stakeholder meetings, I steered discussions to stay focused and timely when necessary. In regards to research, I leveraged my research skills from my Master's and occupational therapy background. I spearheaded the creation of our survey/interview questions, usability tests, and data synthesis. Additionally, I mentored and provided feedback to our other UX researcher, who lacked formal research training but was eager to learn.

A graphic of the project timeline. Week 1 focused research and meeting with the client, week 2 focused on research and user interviews, week 3 focused on synthesizing research findings, discussing the findings with the client, and iterating on design solutions, and week 4 focused on the design, usability testing and  presenting/delivering the prototype to the client.

Research

Despite being a decade old, many aspects of DecideIt remained unknown. With the clock ticking, our team dove into the complexities of tackling a diverse range of stakeholder goals and considerations. We conducted a survey, user interviews, and a usability test on the current DecideIt website to help shape our redesign. 

Survey Says

Our stakeholders wanted help identifying DecideIt's unique position in today's market and understanding user interests. Given the array of platforms available for posing questions online, we decided to create a survey to explore user preferences. To ensure a broad and diverse reach, we shared our survey in public groups and forums across various platforms (yes, quite meta).

What were we hoping to discover from our survey?

  1. Understand what motivates people to engage online

  2. Identify which platforms people are using to post questions

  3. Highlight features thaencourage an active user base

  4. What devices people prefer to use when asking questions online

Pie chart depicting where survey users go online to ask questions:

Google: 63%
Reddit: 18.2%
Quora: 12.5%
Other: 3.1%
Youtube: 1.2%

Where do you go online to ask a question?

Infographic highlighting some of user's favorite features of apps they like

These included: community, user friendly, visuals & images, fun content, algorithm, and updates/news

What are you favorite app features?

We had 128 respondents to our survey. These visuals showcase the results of two of our survey questions.

What were some surprising takeaways from our survey?

  • Many respondents did not like posting content online, which was a primary focus of the current DecideIt platform. This made us take a step back and consider new ways users could engage on DecideIt beyond crafting polls.

  • None of the survey respondents over the age of 40 expressed interest in online polling. So, for our redesign, we decided to focus in on the 18–39 age group.

A Deep Dive into Research Findings

We arranged 18 follow-up interviews coupled with quick usability tests with some of our survey participants. Our goal was to better understand how and why users engage online, especially when it comes to polling, and gather insights into their experience with the current DecideIt website

During these interview and testing sessions, an interesting insight surfaced: the current focus of DecideIt wasn't grabbing the attention of our participants. It became clear that for growth and engagement, we needed to tailor the user experience to have a more personalized touch and community feel.

A user quote: "Any app that I'm on,  it really depends on the user base. So if people that I want to follow are on it, I would be on it."

Click Check: The Usability Test

A screenshot of the DecideIt website with annotations based on user interview feedback.

A large paragraph describing "DecideIt" but users found it difficult to understand

Random icons at the top were confusing to users (a speedometer, arrow pointing up)

A video describing Decideit that users thought was an advertisement.

Users liked that it was easy to see where to post a question
A screenshot of the DecideIt website annotated with user feedback from interviews.

Some users stated they didn't want to type personal information into the site to create a poll

Users did like an option to remain anonymous

Users liked community interest but there were limited posts within groups.
A screenshot of the DecideIt website with user feedback from user interviews.

Users did not understand what "expired" meant on posts

Users were confused that responses to polls were graphics and not text comments

Users didn't always understand the units of the graphics

Growing Pains

Upon synthesizing our research, we had uncovered many valuable insights related to our stakeholders' goals. However, implementing these discoveries would require significant changes to the current vision and design of DecideIt. Because of this, our design team initiated a focused conversation with our stakeholders to discuss our findings and figure out the best way forward.

Our conversation focused on the idea of crafting a modern, personalized user experience. We honed in on the target age group, their interests, and the value of incorporating a community element. Additionally, we suggested pivoting towards developing a mobile app, considering that a majority of participants preferred engaging online through their phones for convenience. We also discussed how we could take inspiration from established social media platforms to make DecideIt more user-friendly and intuitive in design.

New Beginnings

After sharing our research findings with the stakeholders, it became clear that they were shocked by our participants' feedback. Allowing stakeholders time to voice their thoughts and concerns proved crucial and helped us better understand their core values surrounding the product.

These honest conversations about the pain points of the current platform, we collaboratively worked towards solutions that aligned with both client and user goals. In the end, the stakeholder team was open to significant changes and expressed curiosity about how we could reimagine their product. Our transparent and open dialog paved the way for a bold redesign, offering the stakeholders a fresh perspective on their product moving forward.

If we had more time, I would have liked to use personas during this conversation to better highlight and "humanize" user perspectives for our stakeholders.

Iterate

This is where teamwork became invaluable. Faced with numerous possibilities and ideas from four designers, I took the lead on structuring and organizing next steps. Implementing a voting system allowed us to make swift decisions, while ensuring everyone's opinions were heard. As choices were made, roles were assigned based on individual strengths and interests (to the best of our ability).

Sketch for Success

One area we needed to address was how to clearly communicate the purpose of DecideIt to potential users. Our research revealed that many participants struggled to grasp the platform's purpose, finding the lengthy paragraph introduction overwhelming and confusing.

During one of my brainstorming sessions, I thought about utilizing a carousel style tutorial to illustrate how users could engage on the DecideIt platform. Blending concise text with visuals aimed to provide users with a clearer understanding of the app's look and feel.

I also started brainstorming ideas for creating a thriving community within DecideIt. Incorporating groups and topics of interest into the initial onboarding process could help connect users with shared interests and present them with relevant polls and personalized content immediately.

Holly's sketches depicting the interest page and a carousel onboarding tutorial to help define what DecideIt is.

Some of my brainstorming sketches/ideas that were incorporated into the final design

An example of a wireframe

Wireframes of the carousel tutorial and interest groups.

Setting the Mood

While my primary focus wasn't on the visual aspect of this project, our team collectively decided to have all designers create a mood board. The vibe I wanted was focused on fun, playfulness, joy, and a touch of whimsy. These words brought to mind bubbles and their iridescent shimmer, inspiring me to draw colors from them as my central palette.

We held a vote and ultimately chose Kaiya's mood board. It encapsulated a trendy retro aesthetic with sentiments of happiness, optimism, and energy. The colors chosen, featuring shades of red, orange, pink, and green, are often associated with creativity, confidence, enthusiasm, and passion. When considering all factors, our design team felt that these colors best aligned with our target age group (18-39) and stakeholders' goals and vision for DecideIt.

My mood board.

An image of the final mood board with a hot pink, orange, and green aesthetic providing a retro/vintage vibe.

Kaiya's winning mood board for DecideIt's redesign.

Test & Prototype

While our team crafted more wireframes, flows, and information architecture, gathering user feedback became a priority, even with our tight timeline. I led the charge in developing validation testing activities and conducted tests with four users – two new to the design and two we had interviewed earlier. These insights proved invaluable in fine-tuning our design before advancing to the final prototype for delivery.

Testing the Waters

Did new users understand the purpose of DecideIt?

A key component of validation testing was gauging whether users understood the purpose of DecideIt after completing the introductory carousel tutorial. Our testers successfully identified key elements our stakeholders wanted to convey: DecideIt’s a polling platform, that is visually focused, interactive, and community-based. While I wished we had more time for comprehensive testing, I recommend that the DecideIt team conduct further validation testing as they move forward.

User quote in relation to usability testing: "I think DecideIt is a polling app... I feel like it's a little bit more visual than just your regular standard poll. I feel like it's kind of a platform within itself to bring people together."
User quote in relation to usability testing: "The tutorial really gave me an understanding of what I should expect."
User quote in relation to usability testing: "It does a really good job of grabbing my attention with the pictures. I am thoroughly entertained by it. You can tell that this is really personal and anybody wanting a quick option could use it."

How new users defined the purpose of DecideIt and feedback after completing the introductory carousel tutorial.

Data Driven Decisions

Our validation tests also looked at our wireframe's layout, functionality, flow, and appearance. Users completed various scenarios, including navigating the onboarding process and creating a new poll, to assess if our designs were intuitive and easy to use. Our users highlighted some small but important pain points that we fixed and incorporated into our final prototype (see visuals below for before and afters with annotations).

Before

After

Screenshots of the changes to the prototype based on user feedback. 

We added additional visual cues to alert new notifications

We added additional visual cues to alert new notifications as users frequently missed this icon 

Screenshots of changes made to the prototype based on user feedback. 

We decided to move the preview feature of a "poll-it" post to the bottom of the screen and we added an option to turn on or off comments.

We decided to make the preview feature a drop down option and in a different color to better highlight the feature

We also added a comment on/off feature for more user choice

Before

After

Screenshot of changes made to the prototype based on user feedback

This frame showcases what a "DecidED" post or an expired poll looks like (added cloud symbol with a checkmark on it).

Testers wanted examples of “DecidEds” or expired polls, so we added an image to the introductory tutorial and prototype for additional context of what these look like

PrototypeIt:

Next Steps

With only four weeks allocated for the redesign and reimagining of DecideIt, certain aspects remained unaddressed. Though we were unable to continue working on this project, we ensured our stakeholder team had a plan moving forward with this project.

What Comes Next?

What steps should the DecideIt stakeholder team take next?

  • First, it is important to conduct additional usability testing with a more diverse sample of users. This will help to ensure greater accessibility/inclusion, usability, and identify additional pain points within the current prototype.

  • Add additional animations and gamification for increased customization and differentiation from other polling platforms. I had the idea of polling answers growing or moving after the user interacted with it to provide more visual and universal cues of results.

  • Prototype the “DecidEd” flow and functions within the app to further define what expired polls look like on the platform and how users could engage with this form of content​.

If/when these recommendations become live in the future:

  • Collect data to monitor app traffic, user drop off, and engagement. This will help to ensure the design solutions we have created are working as planned and how further iterations could improve user needs/client goals. 

Reflect and Grow

A screenshot of what a profile looks like on DecideIt

This project deepened my understanding of the intricacies of the design process, the delicate balance of meeting both stakeholder and user expectations, and the challenges that can come when collaborating with diverse perspectives.

Upon presenting the final prototype and research findings to our stakeholder team, it became evident that they were genuinely impressed with our reimagined version of DecideIt. However, certain feedback suggested a lingering attachment to elements from the previous design that users had expressed displeasure with. Despite providing substantial evidence reflecting user preferences, this underscores the reality that stakeholders might have emotional or personal attachments to specific design elements, potentially restricting the extent of user experience improvements we can implement.

While the fate of our design remains uncertain, I am confident that we highlighted the pain points of the current DecideIt platform. This journey served as an intensive lesson in the intricacies of design collaboration. It underscored the importance of consistent and transparent communication with stakeholders, complemented by research findings to advocate for user-focused improvements. Navigating toward the optimal design solution requires a nuanced balance that incorporates both user insights and stakeholder perspectives. The success of the design hangs in the balance of this symbiotic relationship; without it, the project's outcome is in jeopardy.

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