Borrowing Board Icon

Dec 2020

Borrowing Board

Facilitating on-campus borrowing and lending through digital bulletin boards to decrease excess spending and waste.

Project Details

Project Type:  UX Design & Research

Purpose:  Academic Team Project

Timeline:  18 Weeks

Methods:Stakeholder Analysis Interviews Affinity Diagramming Competitive Analysis Surveys Literature Review Task Analysis User Personas Contextual Inquiry Divergent Designing Wireframing Prototyping Usability Testing Expert Review

My Contributions

Market Research: Responsible for conducting stakeholder research, identifying the context of use in the current market, analyzing the user environment, and researching competing solutions in the problem space.

User Research: Constructed user personas and empathy maps based on findings from background research and user interviews.

Prototyping: Adapted our low-fidelity wireframe to an interactive, higher-fidelity prototype based on user feedback sessions.

Interviews & Testing: Assisted with user interview sessions, user testing sessions, data review & analysis through affinity diagramming, and writing up results & implementation plans

Sketching & Wireframing: Assisted with sketching & wireframing our divergent design ideas.


01  The Problem

Suffering From Excess

The Georgia Institute of Technology is Georgia’s premiere research institution, drawing over 36,000 graduate and undergraduate students from all over the globe[1]. Students who have either just moved out of their childhood home or from far away have not likely had the time or means to acquire home necessities such as small appliances, vacuum cleaners, or specialty cooking items. Due to their inexperience with independence, students may end up purchasing items they may not need regularly, living without essential household items that they cannot afford to buy, or creating significant waste by disposing of items when moving around. Throughout our research process, we aim to explore the possibility of borrowing and lending as an alternative to purchasing infrequently used, but necessary, household items.

Problem Statement

How can we help college students currently in LDDRs connect over distance and increase companionship within their relationship?

Preliminary research suggests that students can combat these problems by borrowing and lending items on-campus, yet there is currently not a formalized platform to facilitate this, suggesting that this problem area is primed for innovation.


02  The Solution

The Future of Borrowing and Lending

We designed Borrowing Board, a web app that facilitates borrowing and lending on the Georgia Tech campus by using digital bulletin boards to connect students within and between residence halls, decreasing excess spending and waste.

Mockup of 3 screens of the Borrowing Board app

  Skip to Live Prototype


04  The Process

Planning Our Research and Design Process

Background Research

  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Literature Review
  • Contextual Inquiry

User Needs Research

  • Interviews & Surveys
  • Affinity Diagramming
  • Personas & Empathy Maps
  • Storyboarding

Design Ideation

  • Divergent Designs
  • Interface Sketching
  • Wireframing
  • Prototyping

Evaluation

  • Usability Testing
  • Heuristic Evaluation
  • Expert-Based Testing

04  User Research

Background & Environment

The Sharing Economy

One of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy right now is the Sharing Economy, best defined as the commodification of privately owned resources[2]. Participation in this market sector has allowed people to gain access to assets without the financial or logistical burden involved in private ownership[2]. Its fast growth has not only resulted in a large influx of resources available to share, but also a significant paradigm shift about the way people conceptualize and practice ownership. There are a variety of forms of participation in the Sharing Economy, but the form we are most interested in for the scope of our research is peer-to-per (P2P) sharing, where the sharing of resources between individuals is completely free of cost and done with charitable intention. Examples of this mode of sharing include lending a tool to a neighbor or borrowing an air mattress from a friend. However, there is no product in the P2P sharing market that currently specifically targets college students[3]. The user base of students at Georgia Tech forms a community with many similar characteristics to a typical suburban neighborhood, and stands to benefit from a formal and localized P2P sharing platform to use within their community.

The flow of shared goods in the Sharing Economy

The flow of shared goods in the Sharing Economy[8]

Be A Good Neighbor

What does it mean to be a good neighbor? A survey in 2019 found that 79% of homeowners in the United States believe that being friendly to other neighbors is the top quality of a good neighbor[4]. Another 54% of responses listed that doing things to help other neighbors is also a top quality[4]. More extensive studies on communities and neighborhoods have backed up these findings, and specifically suggest that acts of borrowing and lending amongst neighbors builds up a community by forming and strengthening connections within it[5]. Additionally, research has shown that these actions help to stave off loneliness and the detrimental effects of social isolation, improving mental health[5]. Even just small-talk between neighbors is proven to increase happiness afterwards, even when people reported not wanting to engage in small-talk[5].

Waste on College Campuses

Due to the periodic nature of on-campus housing, the heightened mobility of the student population, and the cultural norm of moving home for the summer, students frequently relocate during their time in college. The ephemeral nature of students’ living situations leads them to opt for throwing away belongings with a low perceived value instead of finding temporary storage for them[6]. Additionally, the role of “back-to-school” marketplaces cater to students by offering low-cost essential goods while also reducing the lifetime & durability of the product. These two factors create a large material waste problem for colleges, especially around peak moving times at the start and end of the school year. Georgia Tech campus stakeholders stand to benefit from a solution that would encourage P2P sharing instead of increased consumption.


Market Analysis

Through our research into the user environment and the current market, we have identified a number of products within the second-hand market and the borrowing & lending market related to our problem space. We examined three of these products to evaluate any strengths and pain points that can be addressed by our proposed solution.

GT Thrift Shop

The GT Thrift Shop is a public Facebook page intended for Georgia Tech students, faculty, and recent alumni to facilitate the buying and selling of used items within the Georgia Tech community. There are other Georgia Tech related pages that are made for the same purpose, but this page is the largest with over 33,000 members. While the GT Thrift Shop is a great platform for directly connecting with others in the community to conduct second-hand buying and selling, it was not designed to facilitate any kind of borrowing and lending amongst the community. This is due to the design limitations of the Facebook Marketplace platform and item listings, as well as the interests of the page itself.

Nextdoor

Nextdoor is a social media platform intended to connect users (i.e. neighbors) in a “hyperlocal” area[7]. Users can make posts under a host of different categories, including Recommendations, Classifieds, Free Items, Events, Crime & Safety, and more. Nextdoor is another great platform for facilitating second-hand buying and selling through the Classifieds category, but again was not specifically built for borrowing and lending. Nextdoor still has a long way to go to fully meet the needs of users in our problem space.

Streetbank

Streetbank is a local borrowing and lending platform based in the United Kingdom. Streetbank is one of the only formal platforms we have come across in our research that is based in the borrowing & lending market instead. Once registered, users can begin lending & borrowing within their neighborhood. The main strength of Streetbank is that users can not only lend items, but also post specifically about skills they are willing to lend. However, Streetbank still has a host of weaknesses that our solution should address and avoid. The first is that the platform requires each user to post an item to lend out to complete their registration and access the platform. This creates a considerable barrier to the platform for users who are uncomfortable lending items and for users who do not have items to lend. The second is that Streetbank does not have a mobile platform unlike the other two evaluated platforms. Lastly, Streetbank is marketed at older adults and not our college-aged student population.


Target User Group

Primary Users

Our primary user group will be Georgia Tech students who currently live in on-campus or near-campus housing that is college-owned, college-operated, or college-affiliated. About 50% of all undergraduate and graduate students that attend Georgia Tech fit into this category[8].

Secondary Users

Our secondary user group will be the spouses and children of Georgia Tech students. As a research-oriented university, Georgia Tech has approximately 20,000 graduate students enrolled, and a significant portion of this large population will include graduate students who are married and/or have children living with them [1]. If these family members reside with Georgia Tech students in campus housing, they are likely to take part in and benefit from the solution we propose.


Behavior of Interest

During the course of our user research, and the project as a whole, the behavior we are most interested in exploring is how Georgia Tech students living as neighbors in campus housing go about procuring items they need but don’t currently possess. Specifically, given the current informal marketplace of lending and borrowing goods amongst students, we are interested in contextualizing the following behaviors:

  • What types of items do students seek to borrow?
  • Who do students prefer to contact about borrowing a desired item?
  • How do students contact other students inquiring about borrowing items?
  • What influences the willingness of students to lend out items they possess?
  • What type of guarantee (implicit or explicit) is needed to make the lending exchange happen?
  • What type of guarantees are both lenders and borrowers comfortable with?
  • Why do students sometimes choose to purchase the required item (new or secondhand) over asking to borrow it from another student?

Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholder Analysis Diagram based on user research

Stakeholder Analysis Diagram based on user research

The stakeholders for our solution primarily fall within the ecosystem of Georgia Tech:

  1. Students: Georgia Tech students are our primary users and the group set to benefit most from our proposed solution. Therefore, their participation, feedback, perspectives, and behaviors are of utmost importance to study in order to devise a potential solution.
  2. Spouses & Children of Students: he spouses and children of Georgia Tech students are our secondary users. These users share their belongings and home with the student, and may act on behalf of the student.
  3. Parents of Students: Parents often financially support their students while they attend school. Therefore, it follows that parents will be interested in a solution that can potentially alleviate financial burden from the student and themselves by proxy.
  4. School Administrators: A school’s cost of attendance directly impacts parents’ and students’ perception of its affordability, which may impact application and enrollment rates. Therefore, universities have a vested interest in lowering their cost of attendance. A product that will help to lower students’ personal expenses is likely to be of interest to the administration, so they will want to be kept informed of our development efforts.
  5. Second-Hand Stores & Services: While not necessarily in the campus ecosystem of Georgia Tech, students’ interactions with the second-hand marketplace puts these entities in direct competition with our proposed solution, since buying items cheaper and secondhand is a current alternative to borrowing. We consider competitors a stakeholder to monitor in our analysis since as a competitor they hold some power over how we approach and adapt our solution to best serve our users.

Context of Use

The context of use for our proposed solution will be within communities formed within campus housing (college-owned, college-operated, or college-affiliated dormitories and apartments). According to our analysis of the current sharing market, with no formal marketplace to facilitate the borrowing and lending of goods between college students, users turn to the second-hand market to buy needed items at a discount instead of borrowing them when needed. This makes products in the second-hand market direct or indirect competitors to our proposed solution. The second-hand market has two sub-markets of relevance to our study: locality marketplaces and community marketplaces. Locality marketplaces are aimed at all persons in a similar geographic location, and include products such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace which focus on local pickup/delivery. Community marketplaces on the other hand are focused on providing a market to communities in a similar geographic area that share personal or cultural values, worldviews, practices, or circumstances (i.e. students at the same school). Products in this space can be digital, such as the GT Thrift Shop (Georgia Tech’s largest resale page), email lists, and apartment group chats, or physical spaces such as community bulletin boards, “free stuff” bins, or garage sales. While effective resale tools, products in the second-hand marketplace are not set up to easily facilitate the lending and borrowing of items. Therefore, we aim to propose a solution to facilitate this behavior in a market currently undeserving students: the borrowing & lending market.


Significance of the Problem

This problem is significant and worth addressing for the following reasons:

  1. A solution will help Georgia Tech Students save money.
  2. A solution will help Georgia Tech students cut their consumption and reduce unnecessary waste.
  3. A solution will help create a more interconnected community of neighbors at Georgia Tech.
  4. A solution will help the emotional wellbeing of Georgia Tech students.

05  Contextualization & User Needs

Research Method 1: Semi-Structured User Interviews

Information Goal

We conducted semi-structured interviews to gain an in-depth understanding of Georgia Tech students’ lending and borrowing behaviors. There are three main questions that we wanted to address with the interviews:

  1. Do Georgia Tech students actually borrow and lend items between each other?
  2. How do Georgia Tech students define borrowing and lending?
  3. How do Georgia Tech students approach borrowing and lending?

Method Justification

The strengths of semi-structured interview, in the context of our project, is its ability to yield rich qualitative data, uncover unexpected insights, and help us understand the attitudes and emotions associated with lending and borrowing. On the other side, the weaknesses of semi-structured interviews lie in having a small sample size and the discrepancy between what people say and what they do.

Interview Protocol

We conducted the 30 minute semi-structured interviews with the following interview protocol. Given that the interview format was semi-structured, the interview questions listed below are not a conclusive list of all the questions asked during the interview. Based on interviewees’ response, we asked appropriate follow-up questions to solicit specific details relevant to our study.

Key Questions:

  1. "What do you do if you realize you need to use something but don’t have it?"
  2. "Have you borrowed anything from people recently? Can you walk me through a specific example?"
  3. "Have you lent anyone anything recently? Can you walk me through a specific example?"
  4. "What do you consider when deciding whether you would lend someone something that you own?"
  5. "Have you ever borrowed and/or lent stuff from people that you didn’t personally know?"
  6. "Has your borrowing and lending behavior changed since COVID-19 started? If so, how? If not, why?"

Analysis & Results

Affinity diagram for Semi-Structured User Interviews

Affinity diagram for Semi-Structured User Interviews

After analyzing the results of our 7 interviews using affinity diagramming, we identified some key pain points for our users:

  • Users don’t know who to reach out to if they need to borrow an item
  • It is inconvenient for users to lend an item, especially to people who live far away
  • People who borrow from users sometimes fail to return borrowed items
  • It’s difficult to borrow from people that the user don’t personally know
  • It can be difficult to contact the borrower when the user needs the item back if they do not know the borrower well
  • It is difficult to borrow items that are higher in value
  • It can take users a while to locate a needed item
  • Users are afraid to borrow/lend things because of COVID-19
  • Users are not sure whether they need to do something in return if they borrow from someone

Research Method 2: Surveys

Information Goal

We used a survey to validate the information gathered in interviews and ensure it was representative of the Georgia Tech population at large. To do this, we needed to make sure we received responses from a variety of demographics. From there, our main goals were to find out:

  1. What items are Georgia Tech students borrowing and lending?
  2. What prevents Georgia Tech students from borrowing and lending?
  3. Have Georgia Tech students' behaviors changed significantly since the COVID-19 Pandemic began?

Method Justification

The strengths of electronic surveys, in the context of our project, are that they allow us to ask questions to a larger sample in a shorter period of time, and participants experience anonymity in their responses, eliminating some response biases. On the other side, electronic surveys must be short to encourage more responses, they prevent us from asking follow-up questions, they are subject to the biases of the researchers who are writing the questions, and finally they are subject to the biases of the participant based on their emotion at the time of taking the survey.

Survey Questions

We hypothesized that lending and borrowing behavior would be significantly different before and after the coronavirus lockdown began. In order to increase responses and not leave out the behavior of students who did not attend Georgia Tech in Fall 2019, we created two distinct lines of questioning: one focusing on Fall 2019 for returning students, and one focusing on Fall 2020 for new students. We also added questions for returning students about how they feel their lending and borrowing behavior may have changed since the COVID-19 Pandemic began.

Categories List

For several questions in the following survey blocks, we refer to the following list of categorized items for participants to choose from:

  • Kitchen Appliances (Blender, French Press, Dishes, Utensils)
  • School Supplies (Pencils, Printers, Sharpies)
  • Electronic Services (Chegg, Netflix, Hulu)
  • Musical Instruments (Guitar, Bass, Keyboards)
  • Laundry Supplies (Detergent, Dryer Sheets)
  • Furniture (Coffee Table, Chairs)
  • Clothes and Clothing Accessories (Dresses, Jeans, Dress shirts)
  • Home Improvement Tools (Hand Drill, Hammer, Wrench)
  • Transportation (Bike, Car, MARTA Pass)
  • Sporting and Camping Goods (Tents, Sleeping Bags, Hammocks)
  • Books or Digital Media (DVDs, Dictionaries, Novels, Textbooks, Video Games)
  • Moving Equipment (Boxes, Suitcases)
  • Everyday Electronics (Phone, Headphones, Phone charger, Laptop)
  • Cleaning Products (Clorox Wipes, Vacuum Cleaner, Dish Soap)
  • Foodstuffs (Salt, Pepper, Produce)
  • Personal Hygiene (Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap)
  • Other

Block 1: Eligibility & Flow

  • How long have you attended Georgia Tech?
    • This is my first or second semester
    • 1-2 years, not including this semester
    • 3-4 years, not including this semester
    • More than 4 years, not including this semester
    • I do not attend Georgia Tech

Analysis & Results

Using analysis tools offered by Qualtrics (our survey platform) and Google Sheets, we analyzed information on participants demographics, borrowing and lending behavior, and how their behavior has changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic from the 122 survey responses we received. We found interesting results from each question we asked, a few of which are highlighted below:

  1. Approximately half of our participants moved to Atlanta to attend Georgia tech from over 5 driving hours away
  2. The median response for frequency of borrowing and lending was “about once a month”.
  3. The most common types of items borrowed were cleaning products, school supplies, electronics, kitchen appliances, and foodstuffs.
  4. An overwhelming majority of participants indicated that they have not recently declined to lend an item to a friend asking to borrow it.
  5. In cases where participants did decline, they most commonly indicated that they declined out of distrust for the person returning the item undamaged.
  6. Also of note, over half of participants indicated that their borrowing and lending behavior has changed since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Research Method 3: Task Analysis

Information Goal

We conducted task analysis of Georgia Tech students’ borrowing and lending behavior to understand the process through which they conduct the exchange. Specifically, we are interested in developing a comprehensive understanding of their goals, motivations, knowledge and behaviors in relation to their borrowing and lending behavior. Furthermore, by delineating and visually presenting the steps students go through to borrow or lend an item, we hope to identify their pain points, frustrations, and subsequently areas for improvement that our project could potentially address.

Method Justification

The strengths of task analysis, in the context of our project, lie in its ability to help us develop a complete picture of user tasks, identify user goals, sub-goals, plans, and behaviors, and provide a graphical representation of the tasks, making results easier to communicate and understand. On the other side, the weakness of task analysis is its limited scope - by nature of the problem and environment, we cannot possibly capture all of the possible use cases with our task analysis.

Procedure

We started the task analysis by analyzing the interview and survey data we have collected to identify common themes and behaviors. We were able to pinpoint common user goals, subgoals, motivations, knowledge, and behaviors. We then discussed the specific tasks to focus on. Given that we were interested in both students’ borrowing and lending behaviors, we decided to create two task analysis, one focusing on borrowing behavior while another focusing on lending behavior.

Results

Sarah is a senior living in an on-campus apartment. She is living with a suitemate but they both have their own individual rooms.

Task analysis for Sarah borrowing a vacuum

Jake is a graduate student who is currently living in an off-campus apartment. He has a lot of cookware so his friends often contact him when they need something.

Task analysis for Jake lending a saute pan

Research Findings

After a synthesis and final analysis of the findings from each of our research methods, we have identified 6 key insights into users and their borrowing & lending behaviors, which we will utilize in the ideation and creation of our solution.

  1. Urgency drives frequent, short-term borrowing.
  2. Trustworthiness enables lending and borrowing.
  3. Convenience encourages lending and borrowing
  4. Familiarity affects what students ask to borrow.
  5. Information asymmetry negatively influences behaviors.
  6. The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the frequency of borrowing and lending behaviors.

User Needs

Our findings allowed us to identify a set of user needs & resulting design implications:

User Need

 

Design Implication

I don’t have much extra spending money.

The solution should be low or no cost.

I live off campus.

The solution should work both inside and outside the Georgia Tech campus.

Lender: I don’t trust people I don’t know well to return my items.

Borrower: It is difficult to borrow items that are higher in value.

If the solution connects people who do not know each other, it should include some type of system to reward returning items in good condition and/or punish returning items in bad condition.

I consider food to be something that can be borrowed, even though it is a consumable.

The solution should work for borrowing/lending items that need returning and that don’t need returning.

I am concerned about contacting COVID-19.

If the solution will be used before the pandemic ends, it should help users navigate the health risks of borrowing and lending in a pandemic.

It is inconvenient to lend an item to people who live far away.

The solution should include information about how far away a potential borrower / lender is.

I am not sure whether I need to do something in return if I borrow from someone.

The solution should help students set an agreement about what is expected before they make an exchange.

It is difficult to borrow an item if I do not personally know someone who owns that item.

The solution should give students a larger network of potential lenders to reach out to.

It is most common to borrow, small, inexpensive, everyday items.

The solution should support borrowing of small, inexpensive items.

Design Implications

  • The solution should be low or no cost.
  • The solution should work both inside and outside the Georgia Tech campus.
  • If the solution connects people who do not know each other, it should include some type of system to reward returning items in good condition and/or punish returning items in bad condition.
  • The solution should work for borrowing/lending items that need returning and that don’t need returning.
  • If the solution will be used before the pandemic ends, it should help users navigate the health risks of borrowing and lending in a pandemic.
  • The solution should include information about how far away a potential borrower / lender is.
  • The solution should help students set an agreement about what is expected before they make an exchange.
  • The solution should give students a larger network of potential lenders to reach out to.
  • The solution should support borrowing of small, inexpensive items.

Personas & Empathy Maps

Our personas and empathy maps are born out of the data we collected through semi-structured interviews and surveys. Although most people we interviewed act as both a borrower and a lender, depending on the context and the item in question, we decided to emphasize only one behavior in each persona. We believed that this would help us better understand each behavior from the perspective of potential users.

Based on our research findings, we identified several factors which influence an individual’s borrowing and lending behavior which are reflected in the personas and empathy maps. The first factor is one’s financial resources. We found a divergence in that interviewees who are more comfortable financially are more likely to purchase an item they need instead of borrowing it. Given this finding, we included information of one’s financial resources in the background section of the personas. The second factor is one’s living arrangement. People who live on-campus can easily get in touch with friends OR strangers who live on their same floor to borrow items more easily than people who live off-campus, who are more likely to use digital communication to contact nearby friends to borrow items. Given this discovery, we specified the type of housing each persona is living in in the background. We also leveraged these two factors to contextualize the experiences of our two users in our personas, expanding upon their story & background to explain their behaviors and motivations.

Persona diagram of Sarah

Personal Diagram of Sarah

Empathy map for the Sarah persona

Empathy map for the Sarah persona

Persona diagram of Jake

Personal Diagram of Jake

Empathy map for the Jake persona

Empathy map for the Jake persona


Storyboards

Our storyboards highlight several key takeaways from user interviews and user surveys about the process of borrowing and lending of Georgia Tech students. Specifically, they reflect the various means of communication used to enable lending and borrowing, the types of relationships that enable lending and borrowing, the information asymmetry with lending and borrowing, and the types of items that are lent or borrowed. Users mentioned their use of text, group messaging, and in person communication to lend/borrow items. They most frequently lent and borrowed food items, kitchen tools, and hygiene products. They talked about the types of relationships (friends, roommates, neighbors/dorm-mates) that allowed for borrowing. In some cases, expressions of gratitude were mentioned. Finally, the information asymmetry between the lender and the borrower (especially in cases where the lender does not know the borrower well) was depicted in thought bubbles.

Storyboard 1:

Borrowing a whisk from a friend via text to make cookies

I would really like to bake some cookies…
I don’t have a mixing tool though…
My friend has a whisk!
I’ll text them… they responded!
Thanks for the whisk!
I’ll make the cookies and give them a couple…
I think they’ll let me borrow from them again!

Storyboard 2:

Borrowing a vacuum cleaner for a crumb spill via group chat

I’d like to clean up but I don’t have a vacuum
Let’s see if anyone in the dorm has one…
Someone in my dorm has a vacuum!
I have to grab it from their room…
Now I can finally clean…
I’ll put the vacuum back in front of their door…
I’ll text them in the group chat that I returned it...

Storyboard 3:

Lending cocoa to a neighbor going door to door on a floor of an apartment complex

Who’s knocking on my door?
Oh it’s my neighbor… What do they want?
Oh I do have some cocoa!
I’ll give them a disposable baggie of cocoa...

Storyboard 4:

Roommate asks to borrow a curler in person

My roommate is preparing for a party...
They ask borrow my curler... Of course they can!
They’re leaving in a rush, I’ll check my curler...
Great! It still works.

06  Design Ideation & Iteration

Sketches

Concept 1: Digital Bulletin Board

The digital bulletin board has two components: a physical television / large screen and a mobile-friendly website. The bulletin board should be located in a space where students walk past frequently, such as the common room in a dorm or the mail center in an apartment building. If a student wants to post a note to the bulletin board, they can go to the mobile-friendly website to add a note. If they would like to contact the poster of a note, they can scan the QR code on the digital “sticky” note and use the contact form on the website.

Sketch 1: The “digital bulletin board” which should be placed in a common area. The board contains virtual “stickies” along with buttons to post a note, delete a note. In later iterations, the buttons are replaced with links to the website and the stickies contain a QR code to access the contact form.

Sketch of the Digital Bulletin Board on a wall

Sketch of the Digital Bulletin Board on a wall

Sketch 2: Two screens of the mobile-friendly app. The first is the “post a note” page. Users can set the expiration date of their note, decide which locations the note will appear, and choose a color for the sticky. The second is where the note is screened for offensive language.

Sketch of the post writing screen of the mobile app

Sketch of the post writing screen of the mobile app

Sketch 3: This sketch also shows two screens. The first is for showing all notes you’ve ever posted to the board. The second is a messaging app within the website.

Sketch of note management screen and messaging screen

Sketch of note management screen and messaging screen

Concept 2: Venmo for Borrowing & Lending

Our second concept is a smartphone app. We want to create a complete solution that will help students locate people to borrow from, form an agreement about when the item will be returned, allow lenders to remind borrowers that they need the item back, and message one another. Our inspiration for the solution is Venmo, a popular app for lending money digitally that has reminders and social components. Additionally, a core functionality of this concept is that it allows users to create a borrowing contract. In our survey results, we found that the most commonly cited reason that respondents did not agree to lend an item to someone who asked for it was that they “didn’t trust the other person to return it undamaged.” We hope that an app which encourages creating a borrowing contract will alleviate that concern and encourage lending.

Sketch of note management screen and messaging screen

(A) This is the landing page. You can see a newsfeed of who has borrowed items recently, and buttons to show your user information, the news feed, your personal requests, and a button to make a new request to borrow items.

(B) This is the user screen. You can send “pings” or reminders, view pending agreements, and view account settings.

(C) All pings you have received

(D) All agreements that are pending that you are involved in.

Sketch of note management screen and messaging screen

(E) A borrowing contract.

(F) The screen when someone denies your request.

(G) The form to create a new borrowing request.

Sketch of note management screen and messaging screen

(H) Your currently active agreements for borrowing and lending.

(I) A detail screen for a currently borrowed item.

(J) A detail screen for a currently lent item.

(K) Report an item not returned or damaged.

Sketch of note management screen and messaging screen

(L) A borrow request.

(M) The screen to deny a request to borrow

(N) The screen to approve a request to borrow.


Feedback on Sketches

We conducted three within-subject feedback sessions with participants that resemble our target user group. We recruited our participants through convenience sampling by posting in the MS-HCI slack channel. Our goals were to: understand whether our proposed solutions address the user needs we have identified through semi-structured interviews and surveys previously, identify which features would be most useful to potential users, and understand how our proposed solutions would fit into their daily routine. After conducting the three sketch feedback sessions, we came together as a team and did an affinity diagramming exercise with the notes we took during the sessions.

Affinity diagram for feedback on sketches

Affinity diagram for feedback on sketches

Concept 1: Digital Bulletin Board

Overall, this design concept received relatively positive feedback from participants. They liked the community aspect of the concept, believing that the digital bulletin board would serve as a venue through which they stay updated on what is going on in the community. Furthermore, they remarked on the ways through which our concept addresses some of the issues associated with using a traditional bulletin board.

On the flip side, participants pointed out shortcomings in our design which helped check our underlying assumptions. The first issue participants raised was with the embedded chat function of the app, with most stating they would prefer to use existing communication channels such as text messaging. The second issue is that users want to ensure a high level of anonymity when posting on the board, although our findings indicate they are comfortable having their phone number posted on the board for respondents. Lastly, participants expressed some concerns with legibility and accessibility of posts, which we plan to address in the higher-fidelity phases of the design process.

Concept 2: Venmo for Borrowing & Lending

We received very mixed feedback on our second concept. Though overall participants’ perceived satisfaction of the concept is clustered on the lower end of the spectrum, they agreed on a few features that they thought were useful. These include the borrowing & lending agreement tracker and agreement terms, as well as the automatic and manual reminder options they have to nudge borrowers to return their items. On the other hand, participants expressed concerns for the social implication of using such a concept to mediate borrowing and lending and the necessity of the service it provides. Participants were worried that by subjecting borrowing and lending between friends to such a formalized process, they may end up alienating their friends. Furthermore, many believed that they can borrow and lend just as easily with existing mediums of communication, such as text messages and GroupMe. Therefore, there does not seem to be a strong need for the services the concept provides.


Wireframes

Concept 1: Digital Bulletin Board

Wireframe of the actual bulletin board

The actual bulletin board. This screen should be shown on a digital display in a common area. Notice the QR codes on each “sticky” and the link to post on the board.

Wireframe of post creation screens

Screens for posting a new post, as well as 2 versions of screens to alert the user that their post contains offensive language and needs to be rewritten.

Contact screens

Screens containing a contact form for connecting with the post author, and the text message that the author will receive from the contact form.

Concept 2: Venmo for Borrowing & Lending

Sketch of note management screen and messaging screen

(1) The landing page. This shows requests of people who would like to borrow something nearby.

(2) Lending and borrowing interactions that you are currently a part of (active) or have been in the past.

(3) A user screen that lets you look at pings, pending requests, and your user settings.

Sketch of note management screen and messaging screen

(4) People who have pinged you to remind you to return something.

(5) Requests you have made with the status pending.

(6) The screen that appears when someone requests to borrow an item from you.

Sketch of note management screen and messaging screen

(7) The agreement modal. Users can add extra items to the borrowing contract.

(8) The screen for lenders to report if an item was returned broken or was never returned.

(9) The screen used to initiate a borrow request from someone. You can make the request to a group of friends, to anyone nearby, or to specific people.

(10) The confirmation screen shown after an item has been lent out.


Feedback on Wireframes

Similar to our sketch feedback sessions, we conducted three within-subject feedback sessions with participants that are representative of our target user group. We recruited our participants through convenience sampling by posting in the MS-HCI slack channel. Our goals were to: understand whether our proposed solutions address the user needs we have identified through semi-structured interviews and surveys previously, evaluate whether the design changes we have made based on the inputs we received during the sketch feedback sessions improved our design and subsequently provided more value to our users, and identify any issues in our design that may cause confusion for our users. After conducting the three sketch feedback sessions, we came together as a team and did an affinity diagramming exercise with the notes we took during the sessions.

Affinity diagram for feedback on wireframes

Affinity diagram for feedback on wireframes

Concept 1: Digital Bulletin Board

Our feedback from this concept can be grouped into 3 overarching themes:

Ways with which the system operates:

  • Issue: A lack of indication on the frequency at which the digital bulletin board updates.
    • Possible Solutions: We can include information on when the board was last updated on the board.
  • Issue: Confusion about if it is possible to automatically censor content on the board.
    • Possible Solutions: We can explain to users how the content of their notes would be censored. We can also hire a moderator to approve all the notes submitted for publication.
  • Issue: Confusion on whether users need to sign in in order to post a note.
    • Possible Solutions: We can include a sign in interface in the prototype to address this issue.

Issues about timely feedback for actions users have taken

  • Issue: Did not provide a note preview for users before they submit a note
    • Possible Solutions: We can provide users with a preview of their note before they submit it.
  • Issue: Lack of indication on how one’s contact information will be used
    • Possible Solutions: We can provide users with an explanation on how their contact information will be used.
  • Issue: Lack of feedback on when a message has been sent
    • Possible Solutions: We can provide users with a confirmation message once their message has been sent successfully.

Recoverability:

  • Issue: Inability to revise note content
    • Possible Solutions: We can provide users with the ability to revise their notes after they have been posted.
  • Issue: Inability to manage one’s notes
    • Possible Solutions: We can create a platform where users can manage their notes.

Concept 2: Venmo for Borrowing & Lending

Our feedback from this concept can be grouped into 3 overarching themes:

Completeness of the user flow:

  • Issue: Currently do not provide a means for users to communicate on the platform or a way to coordinate the exchange of an item in question
    • Possible Solutions: Adding both of these features would help complete the user flow of borrowing and lending
  • Issue: Lack of easy access to frequently used functions
    • Possible solutions: provide shortcuts to actions that users may perform frequently, similar to those seen in the interface of Amazon Shopping.

Recoverability:

  • Participants also suggested that we can modify our design to make it more tolerant of errors; hence integrating the principle of recoverability into our design. Moving forward, we would incorporate concern for recoverability into our design.

General UI feedback:

  • Issue: Confusion about why requests initiated by the user do not have an arrow associated with it
    • Possible Solutions: We will add arrows to all the post and enable users to view details about both their requests and those submitted by others.
  • Issue: Confusion about the way information is organized
    • Possible Solutions: We will separate borrowing requests from lending requests.
  • Issue: Ineffective information organization
    • Possible Solutions: We will remove the user’s own posts and only display those submitted by others.
  • Issue: “Ping” is a confusing name for the feature
    • Possible Solutions: We will change the name so something that reflects the feature better.

Convergence

We decided to choose our Digital Bulletin Board concept to converge on for our final prototype design. We made this decision by comparing user feedback for both concepts, and seeing the more obvious enthusiasm, utility, and potential this concept brings to the table, as well as being a better overall fit to fulfill our user goals. After reviewing our user goals, and the previous two rounds of feedback on this concept, we compiled this list of specific improvements to make for the prototyping phase:

  • Instead of just a webpage to add notes to the Bulletin Board, the mobile portion of the platform should be an independent mobile application or a website with the ability to login.
  • Ability to view notes on the Bulletin Board on your phone.
  • Populate list of bulletin board locations so users can choose without typing a location in
  • The mobile version should have a QR scanner or text entry box for a manual code
  • The mobile version should allow users to browse more than one board
  • Digital Bulletin Boards should make clear the last time they were updated and update frequently
  • Notes should be consistently formatted as Title & Message
  • Reduce colors and fonts
  • Ability to preview what a note would look like before it was shared on the board
  • Add confirmation messages to every point in the borrowing process
  • Clarify what is necessary and what is not on forms
  • Make it clear phone numbers will be shared
  • Notes can have additional details not immediately visible on the bulletin board
  • Ability to manage your own notes posted on a board

Prototype

Introducing Borrowing Board, a web-based system that incorporates 2 modalities: large displays (such as TVs or monitors), and mobile devices. The first modality, which we refer to as the widescreen modality, has a limited set of features, allowing users to simply choose which bulletin board they want to view, and displaying it fullscreen. The widescreen modality is simply intended to be displayed on the TV system of a residence hall or dormitory, so users may browse the board and see what notes they can respond to. The system can be left alone to refresh in real-time after the webpage is loaded. The second modality, which we refer to as the mobile modality, affords users more control within the system. Within the mobile modality, users may scan QR codes, enter board/post codes, respond to posts, view boards, create new posts, or manage their own posts.

The Digital Bulletin Board

The Borrowing Board will be displayed on a television screen in the main entryway of each dorm. Resident Assistants or Building Managers may be responsible for setting up these screens with the platform loaded into a browser. Screens of what the board looks like are presented below.

Digital bulletin board setup screens

The residence hall staff will set up the board by choosing the correct building.

Digital bulletin board main screen

The actual “Borrowing Board”. This is an example of how it will look when students come to the dorm to view any new notes. To respond to a note, they can either scan the QR code of that note, or type the code in (Shown above the note) online.

Responding to a Note

A student can respond to a note by scanning the QR code of the note with their phone. This will direct users to the platform within their browser, which then shows the note and gives users an option to respond via SMS.

3 screens from responding flow

Scanning the QR code (L) takes you to the web app which shows the note and gives users an option to respond (M). Clicking respond takes users to their default texting app.

Viewing the Board on Mobile

In addition to viewing the Borrowing Board on the television screen in the dorm, students can view the board on the go on their phone.

3 screens from viewing a board flow

The landing page on mobile (L). Clicking “View a Board” takes users to a list of boards to choose from (M), then selecting one brings them to a mobile-friends version of the board (R).

Logging In & Creating an Account

Although students can view the board and respond without logging in, in order to make a post they must be logged in. Clicking Login brings users to a login screen. If they have not yet created an account, they can click “Register” which brings them to the Registration Screen.

Home screen, login form screen, registration form screen

Clicking Login (L) brings users to a login screen (M). If they have not yet created an account, they can click “Register” which brings them to the Registration Screen (R).

After filling out the registration form, users are texted a verification code to their phone to ensure the number exists. They must put this code into the app, then are redirected to the landing page for logged in users.

Registration confirmation screen, expanded home screen

Clicking Login (L) brings users to a login screen (M). If they have not yet created an account, they can click “Register” which brings them to the Registration Screen (R).

Making a Post

To create a post, students must fill out a form with fields for title, note, start date, end date, and the boards to display the note on. The start date represents the first date the note will be visible and the end date is when it will automatically be taken down. Students can select boards to display the note on from a list of all boards on campus. Next, the student can preview the note and select it’s color before posting.

Posting draft screen, building select screen

The form to create a note (L). Note that the preview post button is disabled until all fields are completed. The options of where to display the notes (R)

New post preview screen, New post confirmation modal

The preview note screen where users can choose a post color (L) and the confirmation modal that the note has been posted (R).

Managing Posts

If a user would like to take a post down before the automatic end date, they can do so through the “Manage Posts” screen. On this screen, the user can see all active and previous posts, and there is an option to edit or deactivate active posts.

Post management screen, Deactivation confirmation modal, Post management screen with post deleted

The managing posts screen, where users can see all active and previous posts (L). After clicking to deactivate an active post, users are presented with a confirmation modal (M). Deactivated posts are moved to the past posts section (R).


Live Prototype

Digital Bulletin Board Modality



Mobile App Modality


07  Evaluation

Expert Heuristic Evaluation

Information Goal

We conducted expert heuristic evaluations to gain an in-depth evaluation of our prototype and proposed product from the perspective of user experience design experts. There are three main goals that we wanted to address with our heuristic evaluations:

  1. To assess the overall usability of our prototype
  2. To gather experts’ feedback on our design and recommendations for ways to improve our design
  3. To assess that our key functionalities work as intended and address any usability issues.

Method Justification

The strengths of our expert heuristic evaluations are that these evaluations are quick to perform, easy to perform if users are familiar with Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics, and are well-suited for lower-fidelity prototypes like ours. On the other side, these evaluations rely on participants to apply the usability heuristics accurately and appropriately, and feedback is less representative of the views of actual users.

Evaluation Protocol

We recruited a few of our peers from the Master’s of Science in Human Computer Interaction program at Georgia Tech to act as experts and perform a heuristic evaluation of our prototype during a task-based think-aloud session. We ensured that our participants were already familiar with Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics to ensure that they could conduct the heuristic evaluation as “experts” for our purposes.

For the first phase of the evaluation, we asked our participants to explore the prototype on their own and think aloud as they do so. We asked follow-up questions based on their responses and feedback. For the second phase of the evaluation, we asked participants to complete four tasks:

Task 1: You just walked into Armstrong residence hall and started browsing the digital bulletin board. Now please find a note about moving on the board.

Task 2: You happen to have some free time on your hands, so you would like to be a good samaritan and help this person out. Now please respond to the post about moving.

Task 3: You realize you have a microphone that has been lying idle in your room, so you would like to lend it out to others who might need it. Now please make a post about lending your microphone.

Task 4: Someone just responded to your post about lending your microphone. Now you want to take down your post. Please go ahead and deactivate your post.

After participants have completed the four tasks. We asked them to fill out the usability heuristic evaluation survey (for Nielsen’s Usability Heuristics) and explain their answers while doing so. Lastly, we asked for additional feedback and thanked them for their participation.

Interview Analysis

Affinity diagram for expert heuristic evaluation interview notes

Affinity diagram for expert heuristic evaluation interview notes

After analyzing the results of our interviews using affinity diagramming, we identified a few areas for improvement within our prototype. In summary, our participants enjoyed that our design emulated and expanded upon the analog bulletin board, affording users the freedom to post on the board digitally and easily from their mobile devices, and they were happy with the amount of features, error prevention, and flexibility the product implemented. The majority of constructive feedback we received about the product centered around confusion regarding the necessity of logging in to create posts (and that it is not required to view or respond to posts), and the user flow for responding. All participants additionally remarked about security concerns with attaching their phone number to their posts, which conflicts with our previous interviews where users expressed dissatisfaction with the built-in messaging feature and stated that they preferred to utilize existing methods of communication such as SMS texting. Finally, participants expressed confusion when they saw that a post that originated from another residence hall on the board, not understanding that users can choose any residence hall on campus to display their post - analog bulletin boards on college campuses frequently display flyers and posters from all across campus and especially within grouped residence hall communities.

Nielsen’s Usability Heuristics Evaluation Analysis

Participants rated the severity of usability issues in regard to each heuristics on a 5-point scale:

1 = I don’t agree that this is a usability problem at all

2 = Cosmetic problem only: don’t need to be fixed unless extra time is available on the project

3 = Minor usability problem: fixing this should be given low priority

4 = Major usability problem: important to fix

5 = Usability catastrophe: imperative to fix this before product can be released

Average scores, standard deviations, and key insights are listed below, with indicating a positive response from participants and indicating constructive feedback participants gave us.

  1. Visibility of system status: 2.33  (SD=1.15)
    • Ample and timely feedback
    • More guidance on what to do and what to expect when responding to a post
    • More clarification on the status of requests
  2. Match between the system and the real world: 3  (SD=0.81)
    • Bulletin board prototype is easy to comprehend due to its similarity to analog counterpart
    • Issues with user flow for scanning QR code
  3. User control and freedom: 1.67  (SD=0.58)
    • Design gives users lots of control over actions & freedom to explore
  4. Consistency and standard: 4  (SD=0)
    • Inconsistencies in the way interfaces are designed
  5. Error prevention: 2.5  (SD=1.29)
    • Design accounts for many possible user errors
  6. Recognition rather than recall: 2.25  (SD=1.26)
    • Post can be seen again on mobile once QR code is scanned
  7. Flexibility and efficiency of use: 2.67  (SD=1.15)
    • Task shortcuts were not easily noticed, leading to questions regarding the efficiency and flexibility of the system
  8. Aesthetic and minimal design: 2.5  (SD=1.73)
    • Includes all necessary features despite very minimalist design
  9. Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors: 1.67  (SD=1.15)
    • Not a lot of room for errors to occur in design, but easily recoverable when present
  10. Help and documentation: 2  (SD=1)
    • An FAQ or help feature would provide helpful guidance for those unfamiliar with the system

From these scores, we identified that our three main heuristics to focus on addressing were: consistency and standards, match between the system and the real world, and flexibility and efficiency of use.


Remote Moderated Usability Study

Information Goal

We conducted remote moderated usability studies to gain an in-depth evaluation of our prototype and proposed product from the perspective of our potential users: Georgia Tech students. There are three main goals that we wanted to address with our usability studies:

  1. To understand how well our interface supports a representative user in completing a set of relevant tasks, such as locating a note/request, responding to a request, and posting a request.
  2. To gather users’ feedback on product functionality, design elements, and user experience. Furthermore, we want to understand their level of satisfaction with our design.
  3. To evaluate the overall usability of our product. Specifically, we want to identify any usability issues in our interface and interaction design as well as information architecture.

Method Justification

The strengths of remote moderated usability studies are that these studies are are better suited for lower-fidelity prototypes like ours, they help to test the key functionalities of the prototype, and that think-aloud protocol would allow us to gather rich, qualitative data to complement the behavioral data that we would gather. On the other side, the weaknesses of these studies are that we cannot fully observe the participants’ body language when the study is done remotely, a potential moderator bias could be present due to different moderators running interviews to maximize the number of participants, and finally, our participants are aware that they are being observed, which may cause them to alter their behavior (the Hawthrone effect).

Interview Protocol

We recruited 6 current Georgia Tech students to participate in our usability studies. We conducted the 30 minute remote moderated usability studies by asking users to complete four tasks identical to those from the expert heuristic evaluation, while asking users to express their thoughts out loud as they explored the flows and completed the task.

For the first phase of the evaluation, we asked our participants to explore the prototype on their own and think aloud as they do so. We asked follow-up questions based on their responses and feedback. For the second phase of the evaluation, we asked participants to complete four tasks:

Task 1: You just walked into Armstrong residence hall and started browsing the digital bulletin board. Now please find a note about moving on the board.

Task 2: You happen to have some free time on your hands, so you would like to be a good samaritan and help this person out. Now please respond to the post about moving.

Task 3: You realize you have a microphone that has been lying idle in your room, so you would like to lend it out to others who might need it. Now please make a post about lending your microphone.

Task 4: Someone just responded to your post about lending your microphone. Now you want to take down your post. Please go ahead and deactivate your post.

We asked participants to complete an after-scenario questionnaire (ASQ) after they had completed each task. Therefore, each participant completed four ASQs in total. In addition, they completed a System Usability Scale (SUS) evaluation at the end of their study.

After-Survey Questionnaire Analysis

Users scored their agreement with each statement in their ASQ on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being Strongly Agree and 7 being Strongly Disagree. We calculated the average score with each question of each ASQ below:

Task 1 ASQ:

  1. Overall, I am satisfied with the ease of completing the task in this scenario
    • 2  (Agree)
  2. Overall, I am satisfied with the amount of time it took to complete the task in this scenario
    • 1.5  (Agree/Strongly Agree)
  3. Overall, I am satisfied with the support information (online help, messages, documentation) when completing the task
    • 3  (Somewhat Agree)

Task 2 ASQ:

  1. Overall, I am satisfied with the ease of completing the task in this scenario
    • 2  (Agree)
  2. Overall, I am satisfied with the amount of time it took to complete the task in this scenario
    • 2  (Agree)
  3. Overall, I am satisfied with the support information (online help, messages, documentation) when completing the task
    • 2  (Agree)

Task 3 ASQ:

  1. Overall, I am satisfied with the ease of completing the task in this scenario
    • 1  (Strongly Agree)
  2. Overall, I am satisfied with the amount of time it took to complete the task in this scenario
    • 1  (Strongly Agree)
  3. Overall, I am satisfied with the support information (online help, messages, documentation) when completing the task
    • 2  (Agree)

Task 4 ASQ:

  1. Overall, I am satisfied with the ease of completing the task in this scenario
    • 1  (Strongly Agree)
  2. Overall, I am satisfied with the amount of time it took to complete the task in this scenario
    • 1  (Strongly Agree)
  3. Overall, I am satisfied with the support information (online help, messages, documentation) when completing the task
    • 2  (Agree)

System Usability Scale Analysis

Users scored their agreement with each statement in their SUS on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being Strongly Disagree and 5 being Strongly Agree. We totalled up the scores for all 10 statements for each user below, with a higher score representing a better perceived usability of the system:

U1: 87.5   U2: 92.5   U3: 65   U4: 80   U5: 72.5   U6: 77.5

There is a lot of variability in the SUS scores we received. Some participants thought that our system has high usability while others thought differently. This suggests that there is room for improvement in our design to increase the usability of our prototype.

Interview Analysis

Affinity diagram for remote moderated usability study interview notes

Affinity diagram for remote moderated usability study interview notes

After analyzing the results of our interviews using affinity diagramming, we identified some common themes about where users felt lost or confused within our prototype:

  • Participants were confused about the meaning of the QR codes.
  • Participants had questions about the way information will be organized.
  • Participants were confused about the location listed on each post.
  • Participants had privacy concerns about the way people who made the post would be contacted using their phone number.
  • Participants were confused about whether they needed to log in in order to respond to a post.
  • Participants indicated that they would like to use in-app messaging instead of texting, completely contradicting our previous research findings in the sketching & wireframing phase.

Design Recommendations & Iterations

  1. Finding: Users are uninformed about where a QR code may send them.
    • Recommendations: QR codes should be labelled to indicate that a user can “scan to reply online”. The placement of the QR code on the post provides enough context that a user understands that the QR code and post have an association and the additional label allows users to understand where the QR code will send them.

    Version 1

    Version 2

  2. Finding: Users are confused about posts originating from other residence halls.
    • Recommendations: Adding a “posted from” or “posted by someone from” label to the origin of the post clarifies that the hall name on each individual post is the origin of the post, not which board the post is currently being hosted.

    Version 1

    Version 2

  3. Finding: Users prefer to see who they are replying to on the digital bulletin board
    • Recommendations: As opposed to only displaying the post author’s name on the mobile version of the post (seen after the QR code is scanned), the author’s name can be displayed on the digital bulletin board version of the post as well. However, to preserve privacy, the author can elect to not display their name on the digital bulletin board version.

    Version 1

    Version 2

  4. Finding: Users consistently tried to attribute meaning to the different colors of posts
    • Recommendations: This is an area that requires more research. Adding encodings to coloration adds another visual element that requires explanation, and users approaching the board would likely not immediately understand the meaning of the color without some form of key or explanation. Until this research can be conducted, we recommend adding an explanation that “color does not carry a meaning” when users are selecting a post color.

    Version 1

    Version 2

  5. Finding: Users do not like sharing their phone number on a public forum.
    • Recommendations: Using an in-between SMS messaging service instead of directly contacting post authors could increase the privacy that users experience. Our platform would send a message to act as a middle-man to connect the author and the responder.
  6. Finding: Users want to know what information is being shared with others.
    • Recommendations: With the recommendation about a middle-man phone number, phone numbers are not shared to the public. Including a note that says “Your number will not be shared” on the Preview New Post view and the option to leave their name anonymous on the Post form view will address user uncertainty about what information is being shared.
  7. Finding: Users are confused about what dates mean throughout the app.
    • Recommendations: When making a post, we should change the form to simply have an “Expiration Date” instead of a start date and end date. Removing this ability to schedule posts ahead of time will increase learnability for users. Additionally, the date visible on the post should be the date the post was made.

    Version 1

    Version 2

  8. Finding: Selecting residence halls from a large list is difficult.
    • Recommendations: Adding an accordion view, separated by directional location on campus and a search bar allows users to search for their building and see buildings nearby. This significantly reduces the amount of scrolling and information that is present on the screen on this view.

    Version 1

    Version 2

  9. Finding: Users want to see their post in its “natural” setting after it’s posted.
    • Recommendations: Instead of simply offering an option to go back to the home screen, we can add an option to view one of the boards the user added their post to in order to view it in its “natural” setting.

    Version 1

    Version 2

  10. Finding: Users do not think some screens have large enough text.
    • Recommendations: By increasing the size of the fonts used and relying more on scrolling, users would be able to access the same amount of information while being able to easily read words on the screen.
  11. Finding: Users are confused by the display of the in-app QR code scanner and post code entry
    • Recommendations: By clearly dividing the two methods of finding a post on the mobile application, users would be able to understand the distinction between the two methods. Our recommendation also adds labels and iconography to each method to further clarify how each method will identify a post and what actions they will make a user’s device take.

    Version 1

    Version 2


08  Takeaways & Future Work

Key Takeaways

Through researching & designing Borrowing Board, I learned how to:

  1. Conduct user research through competitive & market analysis, literature review, user environment research, personas, and empathy maps.
  2. Create and facilitate surveys, and interviews, as well as analyze resulting qualitative data through affinity diagramming to gain key insights.
  3. Conduct user-based and expert-based evaluation and iteration of storyboards, sketches, wireframes, and prototypes through usability testing and heuristic evaluation methods.
  4. Adapt traditional research, interview, and team collaboration strategies to an online & remote format due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Future Work

Our prototype evaluation suggests that we still have room to continue iterating on the design of Borrowing Board to improve many aspects of the interaction, flows, and interface. While our group did not have enough time during the semester to iterate on the mid-fidelity prototype, I am currently working on the next design iteration of Borrowing Board to create a high-fidelity prototype based on the feedback we received.

Tools Used:

Figma Miro Qualtrics Adobe Illustrator

The Team:

Jack Towery, Grace Barkhuff, Matthew Lim, Sara Lin

References:

[1]  U.S. News. Here’s What Student Life Is Like At Georgia Institute of Technology. Retrieved September 23, 2020 from https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/georgia-institute-of-technology-1569/student-life

[2]  Giana M. Eckhardt and Fleura Bardhi. 2015. The Sharing Economy Isn’t About Sharing at All. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved September 24, 2020 from https://hbr.org/2015/01/the-sharing-economy-isnt-about-sharing-at-all

[3]  Myriam Ertz, Fabien Durif, and Manon Arcand. 2016. Collaborative Consumption: Conceptual Snapshot at a Buzzword. Social Science Research Network, Rochester, NY. DOI:https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2799884

[4]  Neighborhoods.com. Do Neighbors Really Lend Out Cups of Sugar? Retrieved September 23, 2020 from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/do-neighbors-really-lend-out-cups-of-sugar-300926830.html

[5]  Sarah Lazarovic. This Is How Borrowing Things From Our Neighbors Strengthens Society. Yes! Magazine. Retrieved September 23, 2020 from https://www.yesmagazine.org/issue/dirt/2019/03/18/community-relationships-borrowing-from-neighbors-strengthens-democracy

[6]  Willona Sloan. 2018. Conquering the Trash Mountain After College Move-Out. Waste360. Retrieved September 24, 2020 from https://www.waste360.com/waste-reduction/conquering-trash-mountain-after-college-move-out

[7]  Nextdoor. Nextdoor is the neighborhood hub for trusted connections and the exchange of helpful information, goods, and services. Join your neighborhood. nextdoor.com. Retrieved September 24, 2020 from https://nextdoor.com/

[8]  Business Model Toolbox. Sharing Economy. Business Model Toolbox. Retrieved September 25, 2020 from https://bmtoolbox.net/patterns/sharing-economy/

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