Gathering User Data
User data was gathered in two ways: in-app analytics (Kissmetrics and Google Analytics) and through regularly-scheduled (five per week) qualitative user interviews. Trends were compiled by the product manager and UX researcher respectively, and discussed with the team every Monday.
One of the major challenges of our shopping- and cooking-intensive vegan population was differentiating meals that were:
Not shopped for or prepared (meal plan, shopping list)
Shopped for but not prepared (prep list)
Shopped for and prepared (archive)
At the same Monday meeting, the team would examine trends in the data and select the user story to develop that week. We’d weigh the stories’ complexity, lift, and relationship to broader testing and product development strategies. The “groomed” this data into the following user story: "As a Lighter user, I'd like one place to view the recipes that I've either added to my upcoming week's menu or that I've already shopped for."
Concepting & Testing
Once groomed, I’d work with the product manager, UX researcher and dev lead to create some early prototypes, usually in a whiteboarding session. Together, we’d ensure that the data was being translated properly and the potential feature solutions were within dev’s scope.
Once we felt good about the general direction, we’d create paper prototypes to test the concepts with users, iterating as we shift from internal instincts to proven directions.
Inheriting an app is a challenge, especially as it's maturing out of its very early stages. Simultaneously codifying and refining the existing UI allowed me to quickly build new designs without abandoning the existing look and feel.
I also identify and design out central elements, allowing for big-picture, long-term vision in short, isolated iterations. Recipe cards live in various places throughout the app and play a central role in many user stories in our pipeline.
The sketch below shows various possible expressions of a single visual style, which gives the team confidence in applying it to the story at hand.
Ready for Engineering
Once testing is complete and considerations are made for how this new element fits into the app's overall design, I mock up several designs.
Launch & Iteration
Finally, and in close collaboration with engineering, the story is visually integrated into the product's existing design.
After launch, the development of related features required a slight redesign. This smaller story is queued alongside all other stories in our product pipeline.
The entire process takes about a week. After launch, the story is tracked against its pre-identified KPIs to measure performance and gauge the need for review and revision.