URX is a Y-combinator startup that provides a deep-linking mobile platform. Publishers that leverage their products encourage linking to other apps and expose people to more content.
The co-founders felt they had unique technology and wanted us to validate different use cases with rapid and robust user research.
I worked primarily with one other designer to execute on the re-design for one of their products.
Re-designing a Mobile App Feature
A significant purpose of URX's various products is to trigger people to click on the call-to-action. The product we focused on was the trigger within Sworkit (a guided workout app) that links you to listen to music in Spotify / Soundcloud and allows you to explore other content related to music.
In order to validate their design choices for the triggers included in Spotify, we conducted guerilla usability testing with 6 users. We asked them to perform easy tasks and encouraged them to voice all their thoughts. The insights led to many visual design changes. Some changes were very subtle, but had significantly different reactions from users.
A second round of usability testing validated some hypotheses, and invalidated others.
We created one final set of prototypes for them to continue validating against.
The URX co-founders were impressed by some of our findings and will be incorporating them into near-term product releases.
Guerilla Usability Testing
Our main focus of the usability testing was to gauge how well the experience met their expectations. For example, we decided on the following areas to explore because we wanted to know in each stage, if people were surprised or confused by what they saw:
- Call to action (music note icon)
- Explore experience (this was an intermediate screen that allowed users to explore other content)
- Returning to original app (upon getting ported to Spotify, how would people get back to Sworkit?)
Then we went to a coffee shop and conducted guerilla usability testing with 5 users to get their reactions to these areas.
- Users mistook the music icon as turning on music from within Sworkit
- Upon entering the 'Explore' screen, users were unsure if the playlists were from their own music collection or Sworkit
- Upon selecting a playlist, users were surprised when they were taken out of the Sworkit app and into Spotify
- Users were unclear how to get back to Sworkit once they were in Spotify
A significant piece of positive feedback was that none of them recognized the call-to-action or experience as an ad.
We had a simple approach to improving the experience - design multiple ways to account for the pain points and test them with more users. This was a perfect example of rapidly prototyping and getting the designs in front of users. There was no need to do high fidelity designs because we wanted to get feedback as quickly as possible, so we could move onto further refinements.
Call to Action
We tried two ways of setting more clear expectations of what they would see upon clicking on the initial music icon.
We played around with using different icons for Spotify and the "play" icon / carrot to better align expectations that they would be taken to Spotify.
We leveraged upcoming technology (iOS 9) and brainstormed an alternative for those on older versions of iOS.
Usability Testing Round 2
For the most part, we reduced some confusion from the first test. However, we uncovered a few more feedback points:
- Users understood the new music icon + hamburger to indicate they would see a list on the next screen
- Users were confused by the additional content instruction link + hamburger icon
- Users did not know what they could search for in the 'Search' bar on the 'Explore' screen
- Users thought clicking on "Listen in Spotify" was a different experience than clicking on the carrot
- Users thought the music would play within the 'Explore' screen when seeing the play icon
- Users were surprised by the iOS 9 indicator to return to Sworkit, but were inclined to click it
- Users used the push notification
Before & After Prototypes
URX has such a unique product in that its success relies heavily on context. Every setting lends to a different behavior, and thus the design has to reflect accordingly. Guerilla usability testing was perfect for this to capture as many behaviors as possible for multiple contexts. Other key takeaways include:
- People like to have their expectations met, so the more clear you can show what they should expect, the better
- Interactions like notifications can be an easy way to get people's attention
- Proximity of call-to-actions to each other can confuse people - minimize the appearance of multiple call-to-actions