Gathering inspiration + capturing the mood
While I'm extremely proud of myself for what I accomplished within 10 short weeks, I'm also critical of the product I've created. In general, users loved the idea of a customizable journaling app but I'm not sold on the way I approached the idea. My solution largely relies on the user's manual input to add, remove, or edit questions within the journal template. And even if users were able to do this easily in user testing, I'm not confident that real users would have the patience to do things manually.
With that being said, my next steps to improve Journey would be to ideate (sketch, wireframe, test, repeat) new ways to implement the customization features. Rather than having the user input questions manually, could they be given suggestions the same way that Spotify suggests songs for a playlist based on the songs that are already inside it? I'd love to explore emerging technologies and how they might make the process of customizing a journal quicker, easier, and more intuitive.
Here are a few lessons from reflecting on my wins + mistakes over the past 10 weeks.
I used epics and user stories to explore potential features and functionalities that would relieve Toby's pain points or help him achieve his goals. Organizing everything with user stories has the added benefit of everything being prepped for agile development cycles if this project was to be funded and put into production.
Embrace emerging technologic trends.
Keeping in line with my next steps, I realized there are emerging technologies that I could have leveraged for a more seamless user experience. Going forward, I'm going to adopt more "blue-sky-thinking" into my personal projects.
Plan the information architecture early.
Thinking about information architecture before jumping into wireframing would have saved me an enormous amount of time and effort. Going forward, I'm going to ensure that IA considerations are integrated into my design process.
Tighten the feedback loop as much as possible.
It's easy to only seek validation, but I've learned that it takes real courage to invite criticism. During this project, I tried to surround myself with people who held me to a high standard and didn't accept anything but my very best effort.
A usable feature isn't an optimal feature.
Just because a task is completed successfully in user testing doesn't mean it's perfect. In fact, user testing success should be the usability baseline, rather than the standard.