In the skiing community, there is an issue with what slopes to find and how to find them. I believed that people would be interested in an app that let them crowdsource the conditions of the slopes, so that they can find out where they want to ski before they go down the slope.
Interviews and Research
After noticing the problem, several interviews were conducted. Skiers and snowboarders from the Columbia University Ski/Snowboard club/team were interviewed, and an affinity map was arranged form their answers. The problem statement was not validated through these interviews, which was a setback for the project. I kept digging through the information that the interviewes provided me, and I was able to find a common thread. People like skiing with friends, since they feel like it enhances their experience. The skiers need to start out the day with a group, because it gets difficult to coordinate how to meet people in the mountain. This was a concern for several, if not all of the interviewees, which is why I set out a way to solve this new problem.
“Coordinating [to ski] with friends can be a balancing act ” - Liz Sobolik
Instead of an application for crowdsourcing the conditions of the mountain, I came up with an application for locating people in the mountain. It would have to be an app that used bluetooth, because the mountain doesn't have good signal. Another important factor is that the location needs to be shared constantly, without the person who the user wants to find getting a notification to accept to share the location. If the person needs to take off their gloves to accept the sharing, it would be the same as texting, which is what I wanted to avoid.
With these screens, I created a prototype of the application using InVision. Finishing this prototype was a great way to learn a new skill, and it gave me the knowledge to be able to complete other prototypes with great success.
After the screens were finished in sketch, Usability testing was conducted on the app. These are the notes that I took on the usability tests.
A few key things that the usabily tests brought attention to were the need for more screens and the positioning of the main navigation button. The new screens were needed in order to have a more comprehensive flow of the system, since it was too simple before and the friend-requests were not well developed. The main navigation button issue was that the buttons were too far from the thumb when people were using their phone. I observed several of them using two hands, and in a skiing/snowboarding situation, when you don't want to take off your gloves, it can get uncomfortable to use two hands. So I believe that it is better for the application to have the main navigation menu items on the bottom of the screen, so that the users don't have to reach with their thumbs and don't need to take of their second glove.
With the new screens, a new prototype was developed to show the user flow of the new version. This prototype still needs to be validated through Usability Testings, and it is the latest version of the application.
• Maria Fernanda Garcia • 545 West 111th, New York, NY • firstname.lastname@example.org •