How can we afford casual event planning in social groups through a digital platform?
UX Research • Digital Design • Sketch Paper • Paper/Digital Prototyping
I, along with 2 other students worked with Northwestern startup HearYe on UX/UI design. HearYe is a social app that seeks to streamline the casual event planning experience – playing basketball, going to the bar with friends, etc.
Our team conducted user research to understand the social dynamics behind event planning and then designed features to afford those dynamics in a digital environment. Those features tested initially through paper prototypes and later developed digitally. The entire project was carried out through an agile development process.
My main responsibilities were the UX/UI Research – both conducting interviews and designing tests to mimic the social dynamics HearYe’s app relies on. Additionally I assisted the paper and later the digital prototyping (done via Sketch & Marvel).
Initial research allowed our team map out the different ways invitees respond to event invitations and highlight the scenarios with the highest. Scenarios from top to bottom are:
Scenario 1: Succesful co-dependant attendees. Both attendees will only attend the event if the other does.
Scenario 2: Fluid details. Event details and personal schedules, especially in regards to more casual outings are much more fluid, and consequently, invitees are more likely to change their attendance status.
Scenario 3: Unsuccessful co-dependant attendees. Both attendees will only attend the event if the other does. In this scenario one of the attendees does not want to attend, so neither party attends.
Scenario 4: Incorrect RSVP. An invitee responded yes, however in the time between their RSVP and the event their schedule/event details changed, and consequently did not attend.
Scenario 5: Invitee never responds to the RSVP and still attends the event.
Based our initial formative research we found a connection between the major paint point of flakiness and the co-dependency phenomenon. We found that invitees generally did not trust the accuracy of RSVPs and consequently reach out to friends to ensure invitees they feel comfortable with at the event. However, now more invitees are linked together and prone to cascading chains of flakiness.
We tested those insights largely through paper prototypes. This was done in an agile development process where we would work through 2-week sprints. Our team would formulate designs based on our insights, prototype those designs, and then test those in user panels. We ran through 4 sprint iterations over the course of 8 weeks.
Finally, we presented our designs in a digital medium that built upon the visual identity that HearYe developed. The final designs were built in Sketch and interactivity was done through Marvel. Key takeaways include a feature to afford the minimal co-dependence communication required, features that accounted for logistic fluidity of casual events, and these features delivered in a linguistic and visual medium that fostered the informal planning envionrment users needed.