REDEYE MOBILE APP REDESIGN
The RedEye mobile application allows users to access articles from this newspaper through their smart phones. Although the application looks well-designed at first glance, there are several usability problems concerning its navigation and accessibility to users. For my first project in Advanced Principles of Interactivity, I redesigned several pages of the app utilizing design principles for information applications.
OBJECTIVES To redesign RedEye's mobile app utlizing design principles for information applications
TOOLS Axure RP Pro
SKILLS User Experience Design
PLATFORM Mobile App
CONTEXT Class project for Advanced Principles of Interactivity
RESEARCH AND PLANNING
At first glance, this application looks very well-designed. It utilizes a clean layout, legible text, and guides the eye towards featured content in a subtle way. However, this application can become very difficult to navigate. The following are the main usability problems found in the interface:
The organization of article lists and search results lack clarity and consistency
Many pages are unlabelled
Article pages do not have a consistent layout
Users are not able to enlarge text or change text settings in articles
Add consistency to the organization of lists and layout of articles and pages
Give users more control by providing a way to filter or organize lists
Update the design to allow for better ease of navigation
Allow users to change text options when reading
It can be assumed that this application will be used by people who will likely have previous experience with technology and will use the application to read articles for extended periods of time.Target users for this application will primarily consist of young people currently living in Chicago. The following personas summarize the target users of this application and their needs and motivations.
Linda considers herself a busybody, being a working full-time student. However, despite her quick-paced life, Linda likes to stay updated with specific current events. She would like an application that allows for efficiency so that she does not have to spend more time than necessary to find what she is looking for.
To be able to use the application efficiently
Ease of navigation
Quick loading time
Control over navigation
Clean layout (minimal ads)
Minimal learning/consistency with other technology
Marcus is a full-time student who commutes to school. His morning commute can take up to an hour, and he often finds that he has nothing to do during that time. He would like an application that would allow him to find articles on topics he is interested in, sit back, and enjoy reading.
To be able to browse and read articles at a leisurely pace
Control over text settings
When the application is first opened, users arrive at the “All” category, which shows all news articles. From there, a user can use the search function to search for an article, browse through the categories to find an article, or access more options. Users will see the same navigation options from the home page and article pages. The user can tap on a back arrow when in the search function to go back to the home page.
Because the main usability problems present in this application center around a few key areas, this project will focus solely on the problematic pages, namely the home page or browsing pages, the search function, and the article pages. The following site map made in Axure shows the pages users are able to access in the map. Pages marked in red are those that were targeted by the redesign.
The folllowing are high-fidelity wireframes created for this project.
My design explores design principles for information applications specifically in the context of a mobile application. I included principles such as wayfinding in the navigation of the application, five hat racks in the organization of listed articles, and proximity, alignment, and highlighting in the design and arrangement of elements on the screen. My design provides users with a clean layout that is easy to navigate. Something that greatly motivated me in the design process was getting feedback from peers. I took every written and verbal comment into consideration when updating my design, and I feel that those changes made a big difference in its
usability, particularly in relation to navigation and mobile design pattern choices. I realized, going through this process, that there are many different elements that must be considered when redesigning some sort of application. Additionally, what a designer thinks of as important may not reflect how the users feel. For instance, I thought that the lack of text options in the original application was a serious problem for users. I myself have found ease in reading lengthy texts due to being able to customize text. However, I am not sure how well this reflects actual users of the application; although I am sure many users will find the feature I implemented as convenient, they may not use it.