Me in iOS App Product Design and Visual Identity
Anjani Kumar in Business, Sr. Vice President and Global Chief Digital Officer
Goutham Bende in Business Strategy and Development
How might we design the experience, key product and interaction features of a new mobile app for employers and recruiters to easily find and onboard talent in a more human way?
iOS App Prototype
Collabera is a global IT Recruitment and Staffing Agency with 40 offices worldwide. They match talent to work with the 250+ organizations in their network, and manage the talent end-to-end in the project. They came to me with a mobile app idea, but before we got into the feature requirements, I pressed on the brakes. Often with the excitement of new, early stage ideas comes a tendency to feature creep, and show users everything that a product can do, instead of showing them how their life would improve by what they can do with the product.
The mobile app market is saturated with products vying for people’s attention. It will take a strong, concerted effort to introduce a new app at the company, or even department level, and not without met resistance. You’d have to scratch a real burning itch, a real felt pain that would make people go through the trouble, time, and energy of learning a new app and integrating it into their workflow.
User-centered design requires that we define What problems exist, and ask ourselves Why? and So What? In my kickoff meeting, I asked my client questions about
Because I wasn't able to interview any prospective users, I worked with Collabera to build a persona to make the user memorable in my mind as I designed for her. (Image source from Google Image Search)
I used the findings in my kickoff meeting and user research to identify the key activities that users will be doing. These key activities formed the bottom navigation persistent throughout the app:
Once I established the key activities, I designed a process for how I would build out the screens. For each screen, I would
Activity flow diagram of all stakeholders involved, and information flow diagram
for the Search and Shortlist screens provided by Collabera
List of the elements in the Search screen
Wireframes on wireframes
When Collabera gave me the green light to diverge from their current branding and play with a new visual direction, I jumped at the opportunity to explore color as a way to make the app more accessible to users with disabilities, and for the broader audience of mobile users who are accessing the app on the go, and outside where the glare from natural sunlight makes it often hard to read screens.
An A11y color palette ensures that the foreground and background colors of the app have sufficient contrast, and helps make the interface more readable for everyone. I used A11y Rocks and Random A11y to build several A11y color palettes, and mocked them up against a screen for comparison.
Altogether, this color palette, the font pairings, and a rounded shape UI made up the thoughtful style choices towards creating a product that is in balance--in beauty, utility, usability, and accessibility.
Final color palette we chose
Information design is the practice of presenting information in a way that fosters efficient and effective understanding of it. I wrote natural language UI copy, so that users interact with elements in the interface, in the way that humans talk and not how a system talks. Knowing that users will be performing several information-heavy tasks, I designed patterns to help users stay focused on the task at hand, reduce clutter, confusion, and cognitive workload. I applied progressive disclosure and a card architecture to
Another interesting information design problem that I came across involved designing rating systems. In three ocassions, users are required or given the option to provide some kind of rating on X. The rating systems must all unify in look, but be distinct and relevant to their purpose.
Collabera also wanted to divert from the traditional star or numeric rating system since they felt that neither systems were compelling and relevant ways to visually represent what was being rated in the app.
Designing the defaults removes complexity from the process for users. Together with Collabera, we identified instances where we could save users time and energy, and reduce error by designing the defaults to automate manual and repetitive tasks:
"The details are not the details. They make the design." - Charles Eames
Every detail is an opportunity to make the product more human. I think about this a lot as I approach every new project, and this one was no different. I started by discovering and gaining an understanding of user and business needs, then designed a design process to ensure I solve for those human needs, and finally, designed all the details—the accessibility, the information, the defaults—that made the design.
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