Photo Forever: Interaction Design and Research

Overview

The Photo Forever app is a concept I developed to answer existing pain points for users of photo and video apps in an effort to design something that met a greater number of user needs. The idea was to ultimately design a new photo and video sharing application that could be developed for IOS, Android, and Samsung Devices. One of the goals was to make it easier for people to share photos and videos with friends and family from one universal location.

After initial research was conducted, it became apparent that opportunities existed to address the pain points of users and what they see as missing elements of existing photo and video applications.

Goals

  1. Learn how users take photographs and videos and what the jobs-to-be-done are.
  2. Learn how users access previously taken photographs and videos and what the jobs-to-be-done are.
  3. Learn how users share photographs and videos with friends, family, and others, as well as what the jobs-to-be-done are.

The Problem

Research uncovered multiple pain points, with the main issue being that no single application existed to address all of the main tasks users need to complete when curating, storing and sharing photos and videos.

User Research

Research conducted in the first quarter of 2021 confirmed that pain points existed for users during the curation, access, and sharing of photographs and videos. The primary goal was to create mobile and desktop applications that could provide a more seamless experience for the tasks mentioned above. After completing user research, the project moved into the design phase. Iterations of initial wireframes resulted in a working prototype after seven weeks.

User Personas

Synthesis and analysis of the research data resulted in the creation of three user personas before prototyping was started.

Smart Phone Power User
Semi-Pro Photographer
Minimal Photo Taker

Key Findings

  • Participants primarily utilized their mobile devices for photo curation, access, and sharing, with the majority being iPhone users.
  • The majority of participants were satisfied with the process of curating photos and videos on their mobile devices.
  • Participants prefered using their mobile devices due to the ease of carrying them around and having access to all the functions they wanted/needed.
  • The primary method for accessing previously taken photos and videos was via mobile devices.
  • All participants used at least one social media platform, with Facebook being the most common.
  • All participants shared some photos and videos via text, most often with family.
  • Participants shred that they took photos for various reasons, with photos of family, pets, special events such as birthdays or holidays, and travel being the most common reasons.
  • There was a desire for a more seamless sharing experience between different device types, similar to “AirDrop.”
  • Searching for older content and categorizing new photos and videos was seen as a pain point by users. An opportunity existed to create more robust options in the Photo Forever application.
  • Multiple users reported having issues with sharing via text if the other person was utilizing a different brand of mobile device (Samsung to iPhone, iPhone to Android, etc.).

Design

Research conducted in the first quarter of 2021 confirmed that pain points existed for users during the curation, access, and sharing of photographs and videos. The primary goal was to then create a mobile application that provided a more seamless experience for the tasks mentioned above.

Screen flows were created, followed by low-fi wireframes, ending with a working prototype of the concept for the Photo Forever application.

Screenflow

Sign in/Sign up Flow

Lessons Learned

  • There is a lot more involved in interaction design than I expected. I’ve built plenty of designs for websites and could always throw something together relatively fast.
  • However, this is the first time I designed an app or website starting from the initial research phase.
  • Getting valuable information in interviews was enjoyable, but analyzing it and transforming the key findings into a prototype seems substantially more difficult than just conducting interviews. I feel like a lot of people are likely skilled at conducting interviews, but analysis and synthesis takes longer to become skilled at.
  • Even though more work was involved in this project than most others I have done in my graduate program, being able to go through a fuller process has been rewarding and provides a lot of insight.
  • There was a lot of freedom on this project, which was fun, but for real world projects it will be important for me to get more comfortable with constraints. That could be budget constraints, internal process issues, or making the case to senior leadership.
  • I feel that it’s been more difficult to design an app that has no equivalent as far as the number of features it has. There are many products that have some of the features, but no single comprehensive application existed (at least at the time of the project) to compare this one with.
  • I think it’s clear that when creating an application that is trying to fill so many gaps in the market, budget and time become much more important. Especially when the application is being built from the ground up rather than as a redesign.
  • UX research is still the most appealing field to me, but getting to work on an interaction design project will be valuable moving forward if I am working with multiple teams that focus on specific aspects of UX. It will also be beneficial if I ever find myself on a small team where being flexible and able to work in different aspects of UX as an individual is important.