Design aims- The design aims for this project were to develop a prototype for a social media application to support students studying with the new college. It could either be a native app running on the android OS or as a web app optimized for a smartphone.
Planning targets- First was research, then the mini (success-ometer) project, then the PACT analysis, then a mood board and after this we had to figure out what font and colour scheme to use and which ones would go well with each other. Once we made our choice we had other people evaluate it, then we made a navigation map whilst also detailing what the app would contain, we then designed a lo-fi prototype and had people evaluate it and then it was time to make a Hi-fi prototype and have the evaluated as well.
Testing- For the font & colour design some of my ideas worked a treat with almost everyone liking them and with almost all the highest score but there were other ideas that were not so impressive that most people didn’t take to. For the Lo-fi there was not a score below 4, everyone seemed to like it but there was some constructive criticism. Finally for the Hi-fi prototype nearly everyone knew what to do and if they didn’t they knew how to correct their mistake. So overall almost everyone liked my ideas and they knew how to work my app.
Process- At first I was to do some research on subjects such as Mobile devices, apps, Social media and Hyper local media. This part was very informative and it gave me some good ideas for my project. Next we had to do a mini project on a Success-ometer which was basically to give us an idea on how to go through the design process and this helped a great deal as I instantly knew what to do when it came to designing the app. We then moved on to doing a PACT analysis which was probably one of the most difficult parts of the project because of the various things we had to think about before we made our app. After that we needed a mood board including info and images from other similar apps and then we had to think about actually designing the app. For example what colour schemes would be used, the typography we would use and a mix of the both to see what went well together. We then got people to evaluate our choices to find out what was the most suitable for the app. Once we had a preferred colour and typography we had to make a navigation map and detail the content of the app. This gave me a good understanding of of the layout of my app. With that done we then had to design a low-fi prototype and ask people to evaluate the look to see if it was acceptable. I showed off my designs by uploading my images to a website and using the app of said website on my phone. With the images displayed on my phone it gave everyone a good idea of what the app would look like if the app was on mobile phones. My design was well liked with a few criticisms but there was no rating below 4 (1=poor, 5=Great). With my Lo-fi done I then moved on to my Hi-fi prototype. I made my Hi-fi prototype by using Dreamweaver to link all of my pages together. Once I and done this I got six people to try out my prototype. Almost everyone were able to complete the task that I had given them (get from the log in page to the results page and back again) and even though there were some that made a mistake when trying to complete the task they immediately knew how to resolve the problem and finish the task. Almost everyone felt that it was simple and easy to use apart from one person who felt that it was a bit daunting at first but they did they were comfortable with it in the end. Overall I felt that everyone was comfortable with using the app in the end and they enjoyed their experience.
Problems encountered- I did not encounter many big problems but there was few smaller problems. The first problem I encountered was that some of my colour choices for my Lo-fi prototype were not well received by the people I asked to evaluate my work. In particular my red and white combination didn’t look good to some people and worst of all it made the text difficult to read but in the end it was fine as I had other colour schemes that were better recieved and they even fitted in with the college colours so it fitted together perfectly. Another problem I had was that someone said that my pages did follow the same style so I thought that it would be a problem but the rest of the people I showed the design to were did not see this problem so I never acted on the feedback but I kept it under consideration.
Changes- I only really made one change which was adding another page to my prototypes. This was because I didn’t think that they went deep enough and this would be a problem for when it came to the Hi-fi evaluation as I would need people to follow a path and if it was too short it would not really be testing the path of my app design.
The main thing that I have learned from this project is basically following the design process. I learned to be thorough to make sure that I have a product that the target audience will like and that will fit the brief. I believe that I achieved the aims of this project and I have learned some things along the way like linking pages through Dreamweaver. If I were to do this next time I would expand from the experience from this project and be more adventurous. I would try things like making my app deeper and trying a more sophisticated way to link the pages together like using flash or any kind of code. Overall I think that my product meets the brief requirements and the design and the functionality of the app are well liked by those who I asked to evaluate my work. So I would say that I am happy with my product.