Expert Consulting App, “OnIt!”

Case Study UX Design Project

The Problem

Problem Statement:
People have busy schedules, numerous responsibilities and frequently need a way to quickly access answers to issues from trusted (human) sources.

Solution:
The Expert App aims to be this streamlined solution for advice seekers because they need accessible information from trustworthy, knowledgeable people without extra hurdles or concerns. We’ll know this to be true when we see the Expert app not only be a go-to resource for expert information but prompts both users and experts alike to value the service enough to opt-in for premium, paid plans.


ReSEARCH:

Research Goals:
1. Understand how users interact with expert apps and online advice sites in general.
2. Understand users general thoughts on online expert advice and its “trustworthiness”.

Research Methods:
1. User interviews
2. User surveys
3. Contextual inquiries


Results:

FUNCTIONALITY (ACCESSIBILITY/EASE OF USE):
Users want simplicity and something easy to use to quickly gain answers. They enjoy the accessibility they get with Google. They still want streamlined information. They don’t want to swim through a sea of options, unable to discern what’s accurate or not.

TRUSTWORTHINESS:
Users want to know the experts can be trusted. Users also want to know the resource they’re using will be consistent and reliable. They rely on both credentials and user ratings to assess if expert knowledge and the app itself is trustworthy.

AFFORDABILITY:
Users overwhelmingly want free information and don’t see paying as validation of expertise. However, in complex areas (finances, taxes, and healthcare), users are willing to pay and potentially willing to pay moderately high costs if they deem the information and feedback timely, accurate and beneficial.

FOCUS:
Establishing the complicated topics users would find most beneficial will be paramount in not only delivering quality to users but in potentially monetizing the application.

USEFULNESS:
Users want an expert app where they can find useful information on a variety of topics. Providing not only text chat features as well as video or phone calling ability will add the apps flexibility in delivering the service how and when they need it. Location can be useful for some users depending on the topic and can offer another means of engagement.


PERSONAS:

Adam Ganley, 25, welder

Adam is in the process of getting into real estate investment. He has limited finances and wants to know where to begin to buy distressed homes, fix them up for resale/investment.

Goals and Needs:

  • Needs trustworthy information on real-estate
  • Needs timely responses to questions as property moves fast
  • Needs someone familiar with the Austin market
  • Needs simple, quick way to get advice

 

Regina Kaden, 36, therapist

Regina and her husband are thinking of starting a family, but before they do, are trying to get a better understanding of their financial future and options.

Goals and Needs:

  • Needs trustworthy financial advice
  • Needs an app that’s intuitive to use
  • Wants to quickly locate reputable financial advisers
  • Needs access to experts up-to-date on latest market trajectories

 

Anthony Martin, 55, Tax Attorney

Anthony enjoys DIY projects and home repairs in his spare time, especially creating projects for his young grandson. But as an attorney, spare time is at a premium.

Goals and Needs:

  • Wants quick easy to find information on DIY home projects and repairs
  • Needs video access
  • Would definitely enjoy method of networking with others learning similar hobbies/projects

(Click persona images below to enlarge view)


Information architecture and features:

Based on my user research and developed personas, I created an infrastructure and initial sitemap for the “OnIt!” app that focused on a simple, streamlined and intuitive design. Accessing professional advice and consultation at your fingertips was important in my research as well as easily verifying the credentials and expertise of the experts.


“Chat w/ Expert” User Flow:


LOW FIDELITY PROTOTYPING:


MID-FIDELITY WIREFRAMES:


USABILITY TESTS:

The Participants
I conducted usability tests for my OnIt! Expert app with six different participants. I prepared my participants by creating a plan that included letting them know the scope of the test and having them sign consent forms ahead of time for the recording session. My participants varied in age and technical adeptness for more rounded results.

The Tests
The tests were conducted remotely due to scheduling and availability. I sent them the necessary links ahead of time so that they could prepare. I also made sure to conduct the test using software that my participants were most accustomed to and likely already had access to; in this case, Google Hangouts.

The Technology
My participants received a link to my InVision online app ahead of time. They used their laptops and built-in cameras and microphones within the Google Hangouts software so that I could watch their interactions and they could share their screens. I used Quicktime to record the sessions.

Reflection
This test gave me a great gauge of how efficient my design was and my participants actually breezed through most of it. At first, I thought I maybe I should’ve added more tasks, but upon reflection, I think it was mostly that I had successfully laid out most of the app in such an intuitive way that they were able to complete the usability test before the time elapsed.


changes made:

The Dashboard progressed through a few changes based on user testing and feedback. It serves as the “Home” screen and the first real introduction to elements like the tab navigation which went through the most changes.

The Expert Listing screen became cleaner in design, yet provided adequate information for users to navigate.

The Chat screen didn’t change a lot from initial iteration, however, after user testing and feedback mentioning needing labels for further clarity, I added those. I also added the text reader feature for more accessibility.

The main change to the Profile screen was moving Settings under this heading. In early iterations Settings didn’t have many subcategories anyway, so it made sense and was more efficient to move those features under Profile so users had more and clearer tab navigation options.

HIGH-FIDELITY MOCKUPS, GUIDELINES AND DESIGN LANGUAGE:

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LINK TO CURRENT PROTOTYPE

 

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