Exploring the design thinking and methodology offered by Google's online certification
Finding a trusted, local electrician is a struggle for people with busy lives. The concept behind Sparky is a free app designed to blend intuitive UX and functionality to give users a simple, efficient way to find and book specialist local electricians.Build trust from the offset
Build trust from the offsetReduce barrier to entry so any user can pick up the app quickly. Remove technical jargon from process. Provide detail in layman’s terms. Put communication (to the user and electrician) at the heart of the project.
The focus of initial user research for this project was to test multiple assumptions I had about what the app should offer to the users. I conducted user interviews with 3 potential users of varying demographics. I analysed this data in the form of empathy maps from which I could build out personas of which I ended with two. These helped me generate my users stories and map the user journeys. I also put together a Problem Statement which would be my guiding star moving forward. My assumptions were that people would want a comprehensive system with deep information about their problem and electrician changed as I soon realised users would want a more top level, easy to read, at-a-glance format.
Juliette is a busy working mother who needs to hire a trustworthy electrician because she needs to feel comfortable paying for the service.
Once I felt I had a good understanding of the user requirements, pain points and goals I moved into the ideation phase of the project. Through this I looked at paper wireframes, journey maps and digital wireframes. This would form the backbone of the experience for the app.
Goal was to book an electrician to fix a broken light switch. Initial journey involved many more steps, but was simplified to speed up the process and answer the ‘time’ challenge.
After the initial paper wireframes I started to flesh out a digital version and a preliminary flow. After reviewing this I removed a couple of unnecessary steps and realised there were a couple of gaps in user communication that needed to be added. By spending the extra time in this section I was able to ensure the flow was as usable as possible.
Testers found the lack of a summary screen detailing electrician, date, time, cost, location and notes about the job reduced trust levels drastically.
While testers liked the star rating concept, they wanted more details about where these star ratings were coming from and how they were generated.
Taking the initial wireframes and flows through several rounds of usability testing allowed me to feel confident in the underlying UX of the product. From this I could then move onto the next stage of taking the rough layouts and adding the high-fidelity layer and interactive prototypes to make the product feel as close to real as possible.
Included search functionality to allow users to find specific criteria for their needs. Also added a tag system so users can find commonly used search terms
Introduced a transparent costing for booking. Also updated to include notes about the work to be completed. While it made the page slightly longer I believe the increase in trust is worth it.
To ensure all the work on journeys and mockups still adhered to the original design thinking that was originally created, I created and interactive Figma prototype to put in users hands and get further feedback.
Sparky as a concept is an app that I feel would be of benefit to a fairly broad range of users. By keeping it simple, friendly and emphasising trustworthiness I feel the app could be widely adopted.
The main learning point was that clarity of communication of what the users had chosen and would be paying for should be front and centre.