Schedulist App Design Overview
To many users, many existing calendar apps are powerful tools that they would use daily for precise work schedule management. However, those apps are not the easiest tools when it comes to personal life management. First, many users don’t add small personal events such as dinner with friends and grocery shopping in these apps because these events don’t always have a set time to be precisely added. However, as a result, they always forget about their personal plans and end up adding contradicting plans. Second, these apps lack the feature to manage “to do” items and thus the users must turn to other apps such as Apple Reminder or Apple Notes to do so. Therefore, our team designed a lightweight calendar tool to satisfy the user needs on both managing personal life effectively and creating to do items in one integrated app.
Time Span: December 2017 - January 2018
Team project: 2 people (1 programmer and scrum master and me as a researcher and UX/UI designer)
What Have I Observed In Daily Life?
In order to understand how people arrange their daily activities and social events, I used observation, context inquiry and competitive analysis methods. They helped me to learn people’s behaviors in day-to-day life and understand the goal state of time management.
I first recorded 50 conversations of my friends and I in real life, which happened when we arranged our time for social activities. A typical conversation was like this: my friend asks “would you like to hangout this weekend” and I said “Sure, what day”.
In these 50 conversations, 88% of them (44 conversations) started with asking about each other’s availability in a time period, such as tonight and tomorrow. In these 44 conversations, only 29.5% of the conversations (13 conversations) included follow ups regarding the exact times of the activities, for example, my friend asks me “would you like to hangout tonight” and I responded “what time”. The most frequent words of time period that were used in these conversations are now, tonight, tomorrow, this weekend and night.
To Do List Collections
From interviews, I also learned that a lot of people like writing down to do lists on paper calendars but they found no place to do so on digital calendars. So I collected some “to do notes” from my friends and myself. I found that most of the to do items were not marked in a calendar but in separate apps or paper notes. The reason is that these items don’t always have a set time to be precisely placed in a calendar.
The Apple calendar only shows the users that the days with plans but not indicating what events and when they are, which is like telling the users “hey you’ve got something to do today”. It doesn’t allow the users to determine if they could add plans during the morning, the afternoon or at night at the first glance. Also, if the users pull up the add event page, they would see an “endless” list of details and lose patience in filling out all these information for a daily event, such as grocery shopping, dinner with friends and etc,. The Google calendar is also the same way.
Who Are The Users & What Do They Need?
The User: college students and young professionals (especially freelancer) who has unfixed time schedule and fragmented daily activities.
The Pain Points: people can’t put their small activities precisely in the existing calendar apps; people has to go back and forth to put to do items in separated apps.
The Essential Need: check daily schedule quickly and arrange daily activities in generic time frames.
How Does The User Interact With The App?
How to Communicate with the Developer?
To better communicate the app idea with the developer, I visualized them by drawing the possible user scenarios.
User Story Board
According to the possible user scenarios, I summarized the user needs and then created a user story map to prioritize the user needs, create features and build the release plan.
How Did The Design Iterate?
Before I did the actual design of the app, I spent a few weeks in studying design tools and the ios Human Interaction Guidelines. I first started with Axure and took an online class to learn it. Soon after, I realized that it is a powerful tool for interaction design but not the easiest tool for visual design. I then tried Sketch which made my work much more efficient. I’ve updated my design countless times but I can basically put them together in two versions. It was my first time designing the interface of an app and took me a long time to make every little detail perfect.
In the second version of the app, I focused a lot on subtracting abundant elements from the first version. My goal is to make the interface look clean and neat so that the users can easily find the important elements without distraction. I first took away those unnecessary divider lines since there are not many sections in the app. I shrank the size of the icons and texts but also emphasized the time cards by making them fully colored. In this case, the time cards are the most eye-catching elements in the interface. I used gradient color to make it look delightful and elegant. I also used cube to indicate the selected date instead of the circle in the first design, since I’ve seen many circle in traditional calendar apps but the cube brings more technological sense. I’d like to make the users feel delightful about their life while using the app.
My Ideas Behind The App
Getting Ready For Launch
This app is currently under the progress of development by Jojo Ding now. During the three months of the design, it was first frustrating and clueless to me. Often times we went back and forth to change the concept, the features and the visual look of the app. The reason for the chaos during our design process was that we didn’t establish an efficient project plan and timeline. In order to solve this issue, we adopted the scrum/agile method to improve our design process. It helped us to define the primary goal and the essential requirements that we should focus on for the first release of the app. Although I am not from a design background but I self-learned a lot in this project. I will definitely know how to manage the whole design process and improve my efficiency in each step in my next project.