A mobile app that aims to improve the lives of people in
I have been designing and coding websites as a freelancer since
2006. However, I recently realised that being a web designer was so
2008 – the tech industry has grown up and there is a whole new world
of fancy job titles to choose from.
I took the decision to realign my career and focus on user
experience. This transition wasn’t a huge leap, but I’ve had to learn to
think differently about how I design. Fortunately, the skills I’d already
honed are still highly applicable to this discipline. For the parts I didn’t
understand, I read a stack of books, attended many workshops, and
annoyed anyone willing to answer my questions about what it takes to
design and deliver thoughtful digital experiences.
I also design for print, but this portfolio is mostly about the UX stuff.
“To help the residents of a building
improve their health and wellbeing.”
With my team, we set about discovering as much information as we could about the issues that residents in
shared buildings face. We decided to focus on residents aged 20-35, living in ﬂat/house shares.
We employed two methods to research our audience:
The interviews were conducted in the homes of the participants, to best understand how they live and what
problems, if any, they faced. The web survey was shared via social media.
Digging through the survey responses, most people felt their shared home was supporting a healthy lifestyle,
although some still had experienced some adverse effects on their wellbeing.
Afﬁnity mapping the qualitative data uncovered a few common pain points, under the broader issue of anti-social
We found that people had various methods of communicating with their housemates to resolve these
problems; face-to-face conversations, WhatsApp, Facebook messenger and notes pinned to the wall in
the shared space. Many respondents preferred to do nothing:
“Nobody wants to be seen as making trouble:
landlords can evict you, other tenants can assault you. This has happened to me
Diving deeper during the interviews, it became clear that anti-social behaviour caused stress for the
residents. This issue was magniﬁed if there was a clash over residents’ schedules.
Following our research we were ready to narrow our focus on the problem we wanted to solve:
“To improve household harmony in shared living environments through better
Before diving into solutions, I created personas to
maintain focus on who we were designing for:
Designing a solution
If we could foster better communication between housemates over individual schedules, we hoped we could
alleviate the stress that results when unexpected events occur in a household.
We felt that a dedicated app to for housemates to share and acknowledge personal schedules could replace
the existing tacky solutions (notes on the fridge, WhatsApp/Facebook messages) revealed during our
research. The app would allow a housemate to notify others in the house if something in their schedule was
likely to impact others in some way, so that they could manage their own behaviour accordingly.
I created a storyboard to describe the concept
to the rest of the team:
To determine how this solution would ﬁt into the real-world, I created various user journeys.
Once I knew how the app would ﬁt into the user journey, I created a ﬂow to determine how the user could interact
with the app. This was a sample part of the ﬂow:
Sketching the UI
I sketched concepts for each screen. Keeping the ﬁdelity low allowed us to iterate through ideas quickly.
Prototyping and usability tests
When I had enough screens for a prototype, I put the experience together using Marvel and put it in the hands of
some users for a usability test.
The tests revealed some ﬂaws in the designs. For example, the phrase “There’s a snag” was confusing. But
overall the test subjects were able to complete basic tasks and they could see value in the idea.
Buoyed by this feedback I resolved to ﬁx the problems identiﬁed during the tests, designing new screens and
upping the ﬁdelity for a more realistic prototype.
The sample wireframes from the next prototype looked like this:
The next round of testing with this prototype was even more insightful. The increased ﬁdelity of the screens
made the prototype feel more rounded in the hands of the test subjects. This gave them to conﬁdence to be
more critical, which provided me with more valuable feedback.
I discovered the the giant plus button on the dashboard, used to create new diary items, was not as obvious
as I thought it was. The possibility of a connection to a third-party diary also came up many times.
The good news was that all participants understood the concept and were able to complete the tasks I
asked of them.
Prototyping and usability tests
This project is ongoing. We plan to continue the cycle build-test-learn cycle to validate further ideas.
To test the broad concept, we also plan to leverage existing tools such as WhatsApp and Google Calendar,
employing a diary study to monitor any effect that using the app has on residents' behaviour.