Girls Who Play (Interaction Design)
Skills Developed: Sketching, personas, design synthesis, QOC, brainstorming, paper prototyping, and high fidelity prototyping.
Tools Used: Sketch, Principle
Problem: Increase participation of teenage girls in team sports in the metropolitan cities of India.
Solution: An iOS app
The Problem Statement
This project focuses on providing a solution to increase the participation of teenage girls in team sports in the metropolitan cities of India. Team sports can play a pivotal role in the physical and psychological wellness of teenage girls.
Defining the problem and competitive analysis
I began by defining my problem statement within my area of focus which was sports. This was followed by brainstorming and narrowing down my focus to team sports for girls. To understand what was already done in this area and what was missing, I did a competitive analysis of existing ideas in the market. This helped me grasp what features were needed in my design solution.
I considered the approaches of value sensitive design, reflective design, and participatory design. I chose the approach of value sensitive design as it focuses on accounting for human values throughout the design process. This approach is essential while designing for a project that challenges existing gender roles of the society.
The first phase of sketching involved sketching 8 unique solutions to my chosen problem. This helped me in discovering a range of possible solutions such as after-school coaching classes, forming sports clubs within schools, a mobile application, and a wearable technology focused application.
These solutions formed the base for the next phase of sketching. Here, I sketched out 5 workflows for each suggested solution. These workflows conveyed how each solution approached the problem.
Personas are crucial in understanding the user base and narrowing down focus to the target audience. I defined personas for teenage girls who are beginners, teenage girls who play sports regularly, and parents of teenage girl. I also had an anti-persona of a boy who plays sports regularly. These personas aided me in concentrating on the needs of my major user group - teenage girls who are tech-savvy.
The process of reflection allowed me to take a step back and analyze my design journey. I reflected on my design process particularly on the assumptions I had made through the previous stages. My assumptions were that teenage girls should have (and want) the freedom of choice to explore their options. They should not be limited by society’s pre-defined gender roles which push them into hobbies such as painting or dancing. Additionally, I assumed that most girls will be interested in playing team sports when provided with the opportunity to do so. A major assumption was that the teenage girls are tech savvy with access to personal smartphones. Moreover, I was making the assumption that parents would be fine with their daughter’s playing with other girls who they know only virtually at first.
Narrowing down concepts
I conducted interviews with my target audience with the aim to understand their preference amongst the solutions I had sketched. The interviews involved allowing the interviewee to look at the sketches, understand the solutions, and ask questions. This was followed by questions asking them about their preferences and what they liked or did not like about a particular solution. The interviews brought to my attention points which I had overlooked during the design process.
The solution which stood out was solution #2, the Girls Who Play App, which connects girls with other girls nearby interested in playing the same sport. However, there were some concerns which came to the surface like balancing the level of expertise in a team so that everyone gets to play a good game, girls already playing sports in school may not become regular users of the app, and integrating motivation through competition into the app by using statistics or a league tournament.
My brainstorming session with classmates reinforced the preference for the Girls Who Play app. Therefore, we focused on the preferred solution of the Girls Who Play app. We detailed the various stages of the app - login, profile setup, post/search, create a league and results. I got many useful insights into the considerations for different steps of the app.
Design Synthesis and Design Defense
I identified the critical feature of my project and defined 3 different feature approaches with design rationales. The critical feature was connecting girls based on proximity to their current location. The criteria for connecting girls was location and expertise in the sport. Proximity of the play area is important to minimize travel constraints. The expertise level ensures that a group does not have too many beginners or very few experts. The teams should be balanced to provide a satisfying playing experience. The critical feature helped me create different approaches and identify which one would work best. The final approach is shown in the sketch below.
Using a paper prototype helped me run tests with my target audience at low cost and money. When I tested the prototype with users, I got feedback that they preferred a horizontal bottom navigation bar compared to the hamburger menu I had provided. Also, I realized that I had overlooked adding back buttons because of which users got stranded on a screen. I gathered immensely constructive feedback in my user testing of the prototype and iterated on my design based on this.
High Fidelity Prototype
I used Sketch and Principle to develop my high fidelity prototype. I created the interactions for an iOS application which helps teenage girls connect with other girls interested in playing team sports. This prototype went through many iterations where I constantly improved and simplified the interactions to keep the interface simple and intuitive.