UX/UI Designer, Personal
Figma, Balsamiq Mockups
Localite is an effective and efficient location-based mobile app that aims to educate about the importance of eating, shopping and supporting everything local, no matter where you are. Localite users are those who want to support local artisans, vendors, restaurants and more.
Small businesses are an essential part of our communities. They provide opportunities for entrepreneurs by driving innovation and competitiveness, along with creating meaningful jobs for their workers. Overall, small businesses help keep money within a community. With that said, small businesses face stiff competition from big-box chain stores and online retailers, which usually offer lower prices and a more extensive selection. Even with Amazon being in the palm of every consumer’s hand, many consumers still choose to, and believe, in shopping locally.
The main question I continued to ask myself and users throughout this project was, can an app that is strictly used to list small businesses improve the effectiveness of consumers that are wanting to locate and support them?
This platform was created to take into account all of the issues that have arisen by consumers when trying to support locally. We want to deliver a convenient and enjoyable search experience for users, while increasing the customer reach and market share for local businesses.
THE DESIGN PROCESS
Conduct user surveys to better understand user pain points.
Create several sketches and potential solutions.
Design the low fidelity wireframes.
Prototype the design to detail fixing.
Having multiple ways and apps to find local small businesses is distracting and requires knowledge of which business is considered a 'small business'. With the Localite app, users will be able to conveniently locate businesses, share findings and save money with discounts.
Understand what users are looking for when searching for small businesses
Meaningful grouping of items into departments based on IA techniques
Availability of quick search for locations/businesses across the app
Develop a mobile solution that users can use anywhere, at anytime
I conducted a user survey to gain user insight on my overarching question. To reach a larger audience, I designed a survey and sent it to a wide variety of friends, family and others. These individuals matched the target user profile; those who would most likely be interested in supporting small business on a weekly basis.
10 questions ・14 responses
25-34 years old
92% said they care (either strongly or pretty strongly) about supporting small businesses.
60% said they try to support small businesses daily or weekly. Insight: Make the login process fast and seamless so users can quickly use app.
An overwhelming majority of respondents indicated they would be most interested in supporting local restaurants and food stores. Insight: Offer restaurants as the first small business type.
35% said they use Google and Social Media primarily to help discover local opportunities. Insight: Compare the positives and negatives of those tools.
76% said they are interested in supporting small businesses when traveling. Insight: Target travelers with suggested blogs and a simple map feature.
84% said they are interested in receiving rewards and coupons while shopping at a small business. Insight: Invest in marketing campaigns with promotional offers.
92% said they were likely to donate to a small business someday. Insight: Offer a donation or support feature on the app.
Based on my discussion with colleagues and friends who use social media apps to find restaurant and activity ideas, I created three personas who will be the target users.
These personas helped guide my design decisions for the application.
After summarizing the information from user interviews and data analysis, I began sketching paper prototypes that would help me brainstorm and test my initial thoughts.
I tested the sketches on a couple of users and found:
Users appreciated the on-boarding screens because it helped them better understand the main functionalities of the app.
Users did not have a hard time navigating around the app because it was fairly similar to the tools they are using already (Google maps).
In order to help me plan and start visualizing what the navigation of Localite would entail, I created a sitemap. I was able to simplify and trim off unnecessary pages while making sure I focused on the important features users would need.
LOW FIDELITY PROTOTYPE
After conducting usability tests with the sketch mockups, I began digitalizing the designs.
By using a simple tool like Balsamiq Mockups, I was able to define initial UI elements, design patterns and visual hierarchy for the main flows.
I tested the prototype and found a few findings:
Users wanted the ability to filter search results while in the map view.
Users wanted the ability to quickly contact the business or get directions without having to open the business detail card.
Users wanted the ability to search by business type to view options.
A filters button was added to the map view.
Buttons were added to the compressed business card, such as: directions, call, go to website, share and save.
A filter button was displayed in the map view where users could "See nearby [business type]".
MID FIDELITY PROTOTYPE
When I had a good understanding of the main flows for the app, I brought my low-fidelity mockups into Figma.
Here, I began cleaning up the design and started giving it a modern, crisp look after a few iterations.
Using my high fidelity prototype, I found users willing to complete a number of tasks to help me gain insights on the app's usability so far. I used a testing software called Userberry to send out a step by step task test to users and received some valuable feedback based on the data and heat maps it provided.
7 tasks ・5 users
The main screen has been designed to allow users quick access to primary functions of the application
The size of the icons make tapping easier
The order of the icons are based on ease of reach and the layout was chosen to provide a way for the design to scale for future releases.
PROJECT LEARNINGS ⭐️
Designing Localite through the eyes of a UX designer really opened my eyes to how important it is to understand your users, through surveying and user testing. I found myself needing to take a step back sometimes with the design I initially wanted, in order to make the right design decision for users.
Localite had a couple of main functionalities I tried to focus on before adding more. In the future however, I plan to focus more on the discounts, blogs and support for the app.