CafeFindr is a personal UI/UX project that explores an app for students and freelancers to help them find a place to study and/or work that suits their needs. One of the main reasons that I started this project is because I was hearing complaints from other freelancers and students that Yelp and other services didn’t really fit their needs and wants in finding a place to work and study that fit the vibe that they wanted. They would be vague and not answer some of the common questions that they had. So, I decided to create an app that addressed this need in hopes of filling the requirements that the students and freelancers were looking for.
My Role and Duties:
I knew pretty clearly what my target audience was from based on the mission statement that I created for the project. My primary audience would be college students and my secondary audience would be freelancers in their respective fields. I constructed a couple personas that would fit this criteria.
I conducted online surveys utilizing Google Forms and posting them on Reddit's r/samplesize as well as reaching out to the Seattle Designers Slack group. I also contacted a few freelancers I knew personally to get their input. The main purpose of the survey was to find out what features that competing apps such as Yelp did not address that this target audience would want in CafeFindr.
From these results, I decided to go with a cafe based application but with the intention of making information more transparent about the location. I wanted to hit the points that the users wanted to know the most. From the results it seemed to be the WiFi, power outlets, and mood were the big targets to hit. In the text only written versions which are not attached, many users wanted to know how long they were able to stay at a place as well.
User Journey Mapping
After the survey results, I wanted to map out the process of the application before going any further. I decided to follow the user journey of Emily Wu, one of the personas that I had. This helped me in ways of trying to figure out how to structure the app based on the pain points and good moments that the user would have if they were to use CafeFindr.
After the survey results and journey mapping, I decided to go on with paper prototyping and initial sketching of the app to have something in mind. I wanted to have a seamless app flow with various ways to get to the same information whether it was the profile screen, locations screen, etc. I wanted to have an app flow similar to Yelp, but a bit more niche and simplistic to the needs of the audience in mind.
After doing the sketches and having an idea of what I wanted the app flow to look like, I decided to get into Adobe XD and get to work on the design. But before that, I needed to work on the branding identity of CafeFindr. I wanted CafeFindr to have simplistic brand with a logo that could stand on its own with the meaning of the app itself. I chose blues for the app because it would have a welcoming feel. I chose Gibson as the font as it is easy to read as in the UI and also simple enough to compliment the logo itself.
High Fidelity Prototype
Here are some of the screens that I designed for CafeFindr. I wanted to keep a nice simplistic flow but with the splash of blue colors to match the brand. I wanted to have every screen readily available with the least amounts of swipes or taps possible for an easy app experience. I included micro animations throughout the design to help the experience feel like you are using the app as intended. You can view the Adobe XD prototype for CafeFindr here!
Reflections and what could’ve been improved
I am pretty happy with the way the project panned out. I tested the final prototype with a few people of the target audience and they seemed to really like the idea of the app itself. One drawback that I did find out was that the app may need more features later on as it does feel a little bit bare-bones. As this was just an idea I had, I feel like it was a good start. Some changes I would possibly make is to make the initial home screen a little bit more personalized and to further revise the app a bit more to increase usability as some testers reported that the text was a bit too small to read at times.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with the result of the app as a concept. I would love to continue working and iterating on this design if it were to be developed as an app for the app store.