Nature Hunt Design Process

Understand

• Problem Statement
• Potential Solution

Research

• Competitive Analysis
• Research Plan
• Interviews

Analyse

• Insight Statements
• User Personas
• Business Requirements
• User / Job Stories

Ideate

• User Journeys
• Task Analysis
• User Flows
• Content Audits
• Card Sorting
• Sitemap
• Wireframes
• Mockups
• Interactive Prototype

Evaluate

• Usability Testing
• Preference Tests
• Prioritised Changes

Visual Design

• High Fidelity Prototype
• Styleguide

Understand

The first step was to define the problem to be solved. Using the 5 Ws provided in the design brief, I drafted a problem statement and potential solution.

Problem statement

The Scavenger Hunt player needs to have an easy way of organising games at different locations because she wants to share a refreshing outdoor experience with her friends and family.

Potential solution

I believe that a gamified mobile app that uses augmented reality to discover virtual items will simplify the set-up of a Social Scavenger Hunt game and motivate people to learn and explore nature.

Research

The next step was to conduct secondary online research to identify what products are currently being used by the target users to solve the problem and to understand how my solution will fit the market.

Evaluating Competitors

There are several solutions to Social Scavenger Hunts. I chose GeoCaching and GooseChase because they focus on visiting physical locations. I ran a competitive analysis that included a Competitor profile, a SWOT analysis and a UX Analysis.

Conducting Interviews

The research plan consisted of conducting semi-structured interviews with participants who matched the target audience. The goal was to learn more about:

  • their thoughts about playing games in order to learn and to exercise; and
  • their previous experiences of scavenger hunts, as well as of geolocation and augmented reality apps

Analyse

Synthesising user research

I went through the interview recordings and notes of each participant looking for behaviours, attitudes, quotes and facts that could help to inform my research goals and to identify their frustrations, needs and goals. I organised the data using colour-coded cards per participant.

Gaining insight

Using affinity mapping, I identified common themes in my research findings and created the following insight statements

Outdoors

Outdoor activities are a way to explore and connect with nature

Motivation

Reward, challenge and achievement are vital motivators to play a game

Games

Games are a way to wind down and keep the mind active

Social events

Scavenger hunts are a fun activity to play as a social experience

Framing the problem

With this new understanding, I re-framed the problem as a “How Might We” question and refined the first proposed solution.

How might we motivate people to connect with nature through social scavenger hunts?

Building empathy

The insights gathered during research provided a starting point to understand who I was designing for and to develop user personas.

Setting the direction

Before moving into the design stage, I compiled a Business Requirements Document to help me communicate the goal of the project, including a list of functional requirements and a roadmap. Finally, I built a Trello board with the roadmap to plan and action the workload ahead.

Digging into the why

I broke down functional requirements into user stories and job stories to develop a clear understanding of the user’s context and what their motivations and the desired outcome might be.

Ideate

Visualising the user’s experience

Working with Tegan as the primary user persona, I developed journey maps and user flows, so I could imagine the users context and the way they could potentially interact with the app to achieve their goals.

Defining hierarchy and navigation

A part of this task was to perform a content audit to learn from competitor products. Using the content audit outcome, journey mapping and user flows, I designed the initial Information Architecture of the app and refined it using open card sorting tests with participants online.

Information Architecture

Finding the best idea

Using rapid prototyping, I started sketching ideas and kept iterating towards a testable version of the app.

Initially, a fogged map that cleared as the player walked along sounded like a good idea. 

Paper sketches

But bushwalking after a big storm made me realise that the player’s surroundings could be unsafe, and having clear navigation was best. So I removed the fog but kept the concept of showing a cue for something to be discovered only when the player was near it.

Mid-fidelity wireframes

After the first round of testing, it was clear that the map wasn’t engaging the players in a quest to be completed by discovering everything, so I added cues for all the hidden items along the track.

High-fidelity wireframes

Evaluate

Once the first interactive prototype was ready for testing, I developed the usability test plan and scripts, recruited participants, and conducted moderated in-person usability test sessions.

Usability testing

Using affinity mapping, I grouped the test findings under Observations, Positive Quotes, Negative Quotes and Errors to finally compile a prioritised list of recommended changes for the next iteration.

Preference testing

Preference Testing using UsabilityHub was another quick and inexpensive way to seek feedback. The goal of this test was to explore and evaluate two different approaches for the onboarding screens.

Refining the design

The findings from the usability testing plus expert feedback from the course mentor, tutor, and other students were a valuable input to iterate the design and build a high fidelity prototype. 

Visual design

The visual design of the app was done incrementally as the prototype evolved from low to high fidelity with each design iteration. The end goal was to produce a style guide, UI kit, and high fidelity prototype for a viable handover.

Key takeaways

Usability testing saves time

The results of the usability testing highlighted that the participants found the initial concept confusing. It was eye-opening observing the participants interacting with the prototype in a totally different way than I expected. Because this was early in the design process, I was able to revisit and change the design with ease.

Build the case study as you go

As a software developer, you don’t often think about presenting your work in the form of a case study. This project has taught me the need to build each case study as you go, so once finished, it is easier to keep a portfolio up to date.

Thanks for reading!

Here are other projects I worked on

Fitted

Motivating people back into exercise with routines that suit their fitness levels and lifestyle