Connecting with locals to play sports can be a hassle, especially when you are new to an area or your friends are busy. The solution should facilitate that process by allowing for users to schedule games and join others free of worry.
I decided to create a survey of 5 key questions to narrow my focus and allow for a more educated approach to the design process. These questions focused on determining user needs and discovering gaps in my personal research. I sent this survey out to a few local gym's Facebook groups.
The results determined that users have a very difficult time summoning the courage to approach stranger and ask to join their game. Another key point is that the majority of people use texting to schedule games with friends currently.
Next I listed 4 specific pain points that users encounter while finding local sports to play currently. This will help me focus on educated points throughout the process that I can reference when hitting roadblocks.
These pain points were identified from a variety of sources including feedback from my user testing and personal experiences.
The biggest challenges facing a crowd-sourced app of any kind revolves around trust. Making sure GroupUp evokes a sense of transparency and honesty is a key pillar in this project.
I created two divergent personas based on user studies. I listed key information that I can reference such as preferred method of communication and hobbies outside their workplace. From this information I gathered that my key persona's spend most of their days inside using technology frequently. Therefore, in their free time I expect them to gain solace in putting their phones down as much as possible. I incorporated that knowledge into my process by streamlining the user flows as much as possible to keep the phone down and the user active.
Creating a user flow is important in creating an intuitive interface and anticipating challenges before designing. In the case of GroupUp I encountered an interesting situation where the flow of creating a game and finding an existing one have a lot of steps that overlap. Creating similar interfaces during both of these flows can help increase information way-finding.
Moving forward I designed a user journey map of the user to visualize the experience a user would have finding a game on Group Up. I broke up the map into 5 categories based on the scenario the user is taking part in at each stage of the process.
From this process I realized the importance of the engagement step. Users want to feel thrilled when they join a game and set a date to meet up. This screen should be engaging and clearly display the information they need the most. Who are they playing with, where are they playing, and what time.
The wireframe stage went through many iterations for GroupUp. It was difficult to synthesize a user flow into an amount of screens I would be comfortable in using.
In particular the flow of creating a game puzzled me for a while. I used paper prototypes to test with a few users my ideas and gleam information that could help me passed this barrier.
I got a quote from a participant that changed my perspective on the project.
"What if the screen function like ordering from a restaurant online?"
This realization helped me reference online ordering services such as UberEats and DoorDash an how they manage order the multiple form screens users need to fill out when ordering food. Using this new information I was able to simplify the "Create a Game" user flow.
Group Up's brand needed to embody trust. As a main pain point in the current process of finding people to play locally I set out to solve this using visual design. Taking influence from the Uber successful mobile app Uber and its common goal of creating trust, Group Up uses a gray-scale color palette with no-nonsense copy accompanying.
The UI design focused on being minimal, but impactful. Keeping the persona in mind our, users are going to be on the move and want the phone down as much as possible when outside. Large icons and bold type are used to indicate key interactions that can get the user in a game and playing as quickly as possible.
Throughout the design process I found it was very tempting to "over design" the screens. GroupUp needed to be simple and easy to understand for all ages and it took me a bit to realize that.
Pain points of the current process surprised me quite a bit. There was a large emotional aspect to why people did not want to reach out to others, on top of the physical limitations.
Next steps for this project almost certainly lie within the emotional side of design. How might we minimize even further the insecurity of asking strangers to play with them?