Interaction 18 App Design
Designing an app that makes it easier for the attendees to navigate the conference schedule and get more value out of Interaction 18 organized by IxDA.
The Interaction Design Association (IxDA) hosts an annual conference. Interaction 18 takes place in Lyon, France in February 2018. The conference has a website but IxDA would like to offer attendees a robust experience on a mobile app, too. I was tasked to design an app for Interaction 18 with two other UX designers.
Attendees need a way to quickly create and manage their schedule for the conference based on their interests because they want to get the most value for their time and money, but they don’t want to spend a lot of time browsing the entire conference catalog.
IxDA is a member-supported organization which aims to connect professionals in the design field and hosts events that will promote the knowledge. The satisfaction of the attendees and members is important for the organization, due to its positive effect in helping the organization expand in size and profitability.
We believe that by developing an app that allows attendees to quickly browse, search, and filter conference options, we will make it easier to navigate the conference to best customize their experience based on personal and professional interests.
UX/UI Designer, User Researcher
Sketch (Wireframes), Marvel App (Prototyping), Mindmeister (Site Map), Xtensio (Competitive Analysis), Paper, Pencil, Pen (Sketching)
I started with domain research and collecting information on IxDA and on previous conferences it held. We combined our notes with competitive analysis including some tech conference apps. We identified standards, conventions and unique features.
I found the filters at SXSWGo app very helpful to narrow down your search. Also “PAX 2018 app”s “create a customized personal schedule” and “easy toggle between the overall schedule and their custom schedule” features were my favorites. I agreed with the team that CES app’s “Discover” feature, which provides suggestions for the visitors were great for first-time attendees.
I used the discussion guide to conduct two interviews with professionals who attend at least one conference every year and used conference apps before.
Affinity map technique is used to develop key takeaways from all six interviews. We clearly saw that the users want to save time and have the ability to browse easily while looking to the conference schedule. Also they mentioned about customizing their personal schedule.
Based on user interviews, primary persona Sam Thomas was born.
She is a 34 years old professional with high degree of tech literacy who has a busy schedule and wants to get the most out of her time at Interaction 18 conference.
Goes to 2-3 conferences a year.
Returning IxDA attendee.
Spontaneous yet organized planner.
Attends conferences with friends or colleagues.
Customer Journey Map
I created a customer journey map to empathize with Sam and improve her experience while using the interaction 18 app.
While the size of the schedule overwhelmed Sam, she liked the ease of browsing and filtering. Also the ability to register easily on the app and customizing own schedule increased her satisfaction.
The team decided that registering for the workshops is one of the pain points. Given the limited number of seats available, attendees need to register and pay to be able to attend the workshops. Therefore, we decided to include "registration" in the user flow beside browsing the schedule and customizing own schedule.
Site map which includes a global navigation that provides easy access to the most needed features and the ability to find an event by multiple ways was created. Later I tweaked it according to the last iteration of the design.
“Design Studio” technique was applied to rapidly produce ideas for the interfaces. After reaching consensus on functionality on the main screens, the team worked separately to create more detailed paper sketches. I worked on ideas for “Home”, “Browse By” and some individual screens for sub-categories.
Sketch was used to create a template including general style guides, conventions and top navigation bar layout of the app. Sketch template has given us a chance to produce wireframes independently and save time while benefiting from team work.
I worked on the production of the “Sign In” flow, “Home” screen and “Browse By” and “Browse By Topics” screens. After combining our wireframes, the first version of interactive prototype is created with InVision.
Multiple ways to filter and browse through the schedule was encouraged with the links provided on the home page, however, I was curious to see if the users would utilize the filters to narrow down the schedule and if their functionality was clear without additional info presented on the page.
Registration for the workshop adds another layer to "add to schedule" flow and it is an important task because attendees would not be able to attend the workshops. The challenge was to give users an option to add workshops to their schedules but find a way to emphasize that registration is needed. I have heard stories from conference app users that most of the apps takes the user outside of the app to complete registration. Because of that they delayed the task and couldn't attend the event since they forgot to register later. The team agreed that the user should be able to register on the app, after "add to schedule" action or later clicking to the event on "my schedule" page.
Customizing "my schedule" to add external events was one of the features we decided to add, but to make editing and deleting intuitive was a design challenge. I though pencil icon is a widely used design convention so the users would figure out how to edit on "my schedule" page.
I conducted 2 usability tests with users who had downloaded and used conference apps before.
“Plus/Delta Chart” methodology was used to synthesize findings from 6 usability tests.
Major takeaways were:
The users got confused with links that help to browse by event types and topics at “Home Page”.
It wasn’t clear to the users if the event was added to their schedule. Prompting an option to set a reminder confused them.
12 hour time display was mentioned as a preferred choice.
Some of the users said that the ability to pick multiple topics when filtering the schedule and a feature to export “my schedule” would be helpful.
Home Page: Information hierarchy is improved by moving “Schedule” and “Discover” links to the top and separating them from other links which act like filters for the schedule. The users were confused about the functionality of the filter links so "Filter By" title is added at the top of the section. “Info”, "Maps" and "Discover" are moved to the global navigation and a drawer menu is added to organize the section.
Schedule Page: Wording for “Browse By” on the schedule page is changed to “Filter”. The time display is switched to 12 hour time display and a couch mark is added to inform the users on how to adjust it.
In the previous version the users were asked to add a reminder after they add an event to their schedule. Instead of that we added a confirmation message on the modal and give them a chance to register for the event, if it is needed.
My Schedule Page: Informed by the usability testing finding, “Export” function is added on the “My Schedule” page for the users to be able to sync their schedule with personal calendar.
Color scheme of IxDA is applied for the comps and interaction 18 logo is altered in color to match the style of the app. Also, I redesigned some screens to improve consistency and usability.
A new layer of filter for event types (keynotes, talks, workshops) is added on schedule pages, below the filter for day. I achieved more consistent design and eliminated an extra step for the users who would like to easily browse through the schedule for each day. Also filter icon on the page is changed to “filter by topic”, which created a clearer message for the users who prefer to start by browsing the topics (majority of the professionals we interviewed).
Please click on the image below to view the prototype.
What We Achieved
For the attendees: A mobile platform to help the attendees of interaction 18 organize their schedule easily and make the most of the conference.
For IxDA: By offering a robust mobile app that improves attendees' experience at Interaction 18, IxDA promotes its image and increase member loyalty.
Conduct more usability tests.
Get feedback from IxDA.