In May 2018, I took a week long General Assembly course focused on UX design. We were given the task over the course of the week to develop a conceptual app starting with research and culminating with a presenting a high fidelity prototype. As an art director taking the course, I took this opportunity to expand my skills in user research, testing, personas, storyboarding, and information architecture.
Reimburse App: Automatic Expense Reporting
I set out to solve a problem felt by so many working people: filling out expense reports. I set out to make expense reporting an automatic process that makes people feel at ease rather than filled with dread.
Starting with empathy
I began the project by talking to fellow classmates to try to identify common pain points. I used an affinity mapping technique to sort a number of results into groups, which helped me to start forming an ideal user journey. Conducting research helped me to step outside my own thoughts and consider different use cases.
Surveying the field
Because expense reporting is not a new idea, I needed to get an idea of what mobile solutions already existed. I wanted analyze not only direct reporting software competitors, but take a look at other ways that people who I interviewed were keeping track of their expenses- notes apps and banking apps. I went into a deeper dive on apps focused on expense reporting to find out pros and cons of each app. I didn't want to reinvent the wheel on expense reporting apps and doing this research helped me to have a head start on solving a similar problem.
Personas, storyboards, and user flows
I then began to come up with a persona and storyboard to help transform my ideas from initial concepts and research to a functioning app. I erased, re-wrote, and iterated until I came to a point where my story board could become a low fidelity prototype.
Testing and Iteration
The next step I took was creating a paper prototype for the user flows. I conducted tests with the paper prototypes with my classmates then tweaked screens. I also conducted a variety of card sorting exercises using Optimal Sort to ensure that users were understanding the information architecture.
After multiple rounds of testing and iteration, I moved on to creating a digital experience- starting with low fidelity wireframes and moving on to full visual design. For me, this is the part of the process I was most familiar with.
As a visual designer, this project tested my patience at the start. I felt myself itching to start designing buttons, interactions, and picking fonts. I learned to embrace the process, not get attached to any ideas, and to constantly be searching for ways to enhance my problem solving skills.