Overview:
E-Nect is an online communication system that can enhance the relationship during the COVID-19 phase.


My Role:
UX Research
UX Design
Type:
Mobile App

Design tools:
Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe After Effects, 
Adobe Premiere Pro

Duration:
4 months, 2021


Problem: 
There are currently a lot of people who haven’t had a chance to meet their friends, family, and their loved ones for a long time during the global pandemic. According to the article from BBC News, one in five people experience depression compared to one in ten people before the pandemic. The article adds, “almost 20% of people met the criteria for depression, based on their responses, in June 2020 compared with just under 10% between July 2019 and March 2020.

Solution:
"Journaling as a “form of self-expression that can lift and empower people to understand their complex feelings… Effective journaling can result in many positive outcomes and improvements to your quality of life” 
- Courtney Ackerman
Creating a communication system and daily mood checker/ photo journal to share their daily lives with friends and family, possibly in different parts of the country can relieve frustration in times of stress, to feel connected virtually. In times of stress, having someone to talk to and share feelings is significant to cope with depression, also known as “Corona blue depression”.
User Research
Target Users:
Friends, family, or any long-distance couples under lockdown during the COVID-19 situation.
Research Question:
#1 For friends or family members who cannot meet in person under the COVID-19 circumstances, what are they willing to share in their daily lives to feel connected to each other and maintain their relationships?
#2 What are some existing online communication applications that people currently use? And what are some common functionality?
#3 What are the possible competing applications or communication systems that are similar to our project?
#4 What data/statistics would be necessary to collect prior to visualizing and constructing the application?

User Research Methods:
a. Online survey (Quantitative research): Conducted an online (Google survey) survey with a series of questions asking multiple users about their experience and feeling during the global pandemic, and what the users practically need in this situation.​​​​​​​
b. Individual interview (Qualitative research):​ One-on-one discussion (zoom or in-person) with users to get to know how a particular user works, and to get detail about users’ attitudes, desires, and experiences.

c. Competitive Usability Assessment / Evaluation
- Emolog (app)
Emolog is a mobile application to record a user's daily emotions. The feature includes diary writing for users to fill up daily, animated emojis that represent certain emotions, and statistics based on the previous emotion record. The home screen is a calendar base with representative emojis, that shows users’ emotion records at a glance. The emojis can express a range of emotions (a total of 59) such as sadness, happiness, love, excitement, and more. Each emotion consists of distinct colors and facial expressions. The simplicity of the app makes users easy to easily follow without any confusion, and its cute style enhances the daily use of the diary.
- Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Service (Website)
https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/
Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Service is a website funded by the Australian Government (Department of Health) established to provide helpful and vital information about anxiety, depression, and general advice for mental well-being during the Coronavirus pandemic. The website is easily navigable and uses a card view design template structure for providing different topics of information. It mainly uses bright color schemes with large text sizes which allow users of various age groups to easily navigate through the website. The information they provide includes, “10 ways to take care of during coronavirus”, “Coping with isolation and being home”, and “Top tips for looking after your mental health while self-isolating”. It also has a direct hotline for further support with a 24/7 online chat service.

Key Findings:
A clear division in emotions people feel before and during the Covid-19 outbreak
Participants facing challenges that are stressful, overwhelming, and experiencing strong emotions of sadness, loneliness, and anxiousness
Participants cope with their emotional state by communicating with friends in a virtual way, through video call or text, or actively using social network services​​​​​​​
Personas
We developed primary and secondary personas to better understand users' needs
Ideation and User Flow
Design Scope (The essential functions the App should have):
-  Sign up / Log in
-  Account setting
-  Adding friends or family features
-  Daily photo journals
-  Chatting feature
-  Daily emotional check-up (calendar view with simple emotion emoji)
- Statistics
Low Fidelity Prototype
Moderated User Testing 1
The lists of Tasks
Task 1: Find personal journal page
Task 2: Find ‘Community Posting’ page and add reaction 
Task 3: Add/Search Friend
Task 4: Message a friend
Task 5: Look for your Mood Statistics for this month 
Task 6: Look for an Emotional check-up for last month
Moderated User Testing 2
The lists of Tasks
Task 1: Look for the journaling page and add emotion
Task 2: Comment or add a reaction to the journal posts on the community page 
Task 3: Look for the monthly emotion statistics page
Task 4: View your profile
Task 5: Add a new friend to your “buddies” list
Task 6: View your friend Sarah’s profile
Style Guide
Before starting a hi-fidelity prototype, we have created a style guide to make sure that the prototype looks polished and visually appealing with a consistent style. Overall, we pursued a simple design guide for icons and typography. 
Color: pastel tone + warm color for psychological stability. The color was applied for both menu bar and linear gradients  
Icons: created emotion emojis with variety for users to effectively express their current emotions. The emotions represented in the emojis are collected from the data in our user survey. (pre-Covid 19 and current emotions) Includes Happy, sad, anger, anxiety, disgust, surprise, apathy, calm
High Fidelity Prototype
Major Design Changes
After the user testing, our team decided to make a consistent navigation bar throughout the pages by deleting the ‘+’ sign on the navigation bar from the “Calendar” page. The plus bar was originally intended for animated navigation diving into three sub-navigation bars, allowing users to slide through each day. Since we had the same feature with arrow icons on top of the page, it seemed redundant and unnecessary. 
Instead, we decided to keep the ‘home’ icon from the original navigation bar. 
Also, for some users, the quick feed under the calendar seemed confusing and redundant. Since we had a separate page for the friend’s feed page, we replaced it with a space for the user’s recent journals.
Through user testing, we also identified that there are several chatting icons across the different pages. Since there is one on the main home page, we took out the Messenger tab on the ‘post’ page to avoid any redundancy or confusion for the users. Instead, we added two slider menu bars on the top of the ‘post’ page with the “past” tab on the left for older posts and “today” for recent posts from friends. 
Try Prototyping!
Product Demo Video

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