Wireframing a global social network

Project Overview

Sense Worldwide is an innovation studio headquartered in London. With clients like Nike and Pepsi, Sense Worldwide delivers innovative approaches to product development and marketing for brands by designing for the edges rather than the average. How do they source their inspiration for ideas that shift the frame? From people living in the future, beyond borders and state lines, from a diverse mix of backgrounds.

During this 2-week project, myself and a team member worked with Sense Worldwide to design a concept for an owned social network. To begin, we conducted user research to understand desires and apprehension then tested wireframes and flows with users.

Challenge

Sense Network members feel dropped after brand-related projects end and need a better way to engage with Sense Worldwide and other members, be inspired, and collaborate between recruited projects because there is not one central space for users to connect with other members.

Role: Project Manager – UX Researcher – UX/UI Designer

Contribution

Design Studio
User Interviews
Affinity Mapping
Feature Research
Wireframing
Prototyping
User Testing

Tools

Sketch
InVision

Solution

The Sense Network is a vertical social network that helps users connect to a select group of highly intelligent and creative people around the world, inspires them, helps them improve their work, fosters collaboration, and provides an easier way for users to find recruitment opportunities for brand-related projects.

The Opportunity

With over 4,500 people in the Sense Network, people referred to as “sensors,” Sense Worldwide realized they were missing out on an opportunity to harness and create a community of creativity and collaboration. After all, some of the largest global consumer brands tap into this same network to reinvent their own creative concepts.

There was also potential to monetize the power of this network in a way that leverages the creativity of its members. But the company needed to develop a digital experience that would enrich the lives of its users in order to bring the opportunity to fruition.

Measures of Success

To kick off the project, we met with the client to understand the business problem and determine how they would measure the success of the project. The key metrics of performance included increases in website visits, page views, and new member applications.

The Team

This project consisted of 2 team members. I served as project manager, facilitated a design workshop with the client, designed wireframes, configured the prototype, and wrote the final report. My partner served as lead researcher, user tester, and polished the final user flow deliverables.

Project Gantt Chart

Discovery

Design Studio

To help us better understand the problem from the client’s perspective, we conducted a design studio with c-suite executives and other members of their team.

This activity helped us flush out items that were important for us to focus on as well as come up with design ideas to test with users.

Hyposthesis

In an iterative process where the end goal is still blurry at the onset of a project, laying out some ideas about what users will need helps to establish a framework to test against. After talking with the client, we came up with a hypothesis that went something like this:

Highly creative people wish to collaborate with other creatives. They are inspired by one another and desire to make connections online with other Sense members on nonbrand-related projects.

Assumptions

To break down the hypothesis further, we listed our assumptions. Listing out our assumptions kept our biases in check and prevented them from steering our decisions.

  • Users want all of their information in one feed
  • Users are interested in searching by interest and location.
  • The news feed and the project portal will be most interesting and useful to users.
  • Users will be excited about the gamification of badges.
  • Users don’t need an in-person connection in order to collaborate.

After interviews and user testing some of our assumptions failed.

  • Users want all of their information in one feed.
  • Users are interested in searching by interest and location.
  • The news feed and the project portal will be most interesting and useful to users.
  • Users will be excited about the gamification of badges.
  • Users don’t need an in-person connection in order to collaborate.

User Research

The client’s users are all over the world. Given the short timeframe of the project and the time zone differences of users, we couldn’t wait for the client to get us users for our initial research. So, we recruited people within our own networks who fit the profile of the client’s users – the creative freelancer.

From these six interviews of similar personas, but non-users, we discovered some additional insights that helped us uncover some messaging issues that the client was not aware of. Once we conducted interviews with actual users, we validated our discoveries. In hindsight, incorporating non-user interviews was very helpful for informing branding and messaging decisions especially since one of the client’s KPI’s was to increase new member applications.

Feature & UI Pattern Research

To inform the design of the social network we turned to research over 20 existing networks and researched common UI patterns such as making posts, commenting, and chat.

Design & Validation

Initial Prototype

Our initial prototype consisted of paper and black sharpie. With only a couple of days to conduct user research, we needed to start the iterative design process quickly and get feedback from users as fast as possible in order to deliver a working prototype, report, and recommendations to the client on time.

Acting at rapid fire speed, we tested our drawings with four users and found that our initial news feed page was overly cluttered, the pattern we chose for filtering wasn’t well-liked, and users wanted a better way to explore the network for the things that were important to them.

Testing & Iterating

With the feedback from our initial prototype, we digitized our prototype into wireframes and cleaned up the news feed page by using progressive disclosure. The new design simplified the page and made the purpose of the page clearer and less overwhelming to users. We prototyped our designs again with three more users and received more input that altered our designs and flows.

Delivered Designs

The final designs delivered to the client included 25 wireframes, a clickable InVision prototype, and illustrated user flows.

Reporting

A final report outlined our research and user testing findings as well as recommendations for next steps. We detailed wireframes with annotations describing specific feedback from users or ideas we weren’t able to test because of the timeframe.

Additionally, we provided a wireframe of the logged out state of the network with suggestions on how to structure the messaging and how to prioritize features based on what users valued as the most important.

Client Feedback

“Overall your communication and project management was excellent (very positive, timely and organised for such a short project). You were both a pleasure to work with and felt like part of our team immediately – your enthusiasm was infectious.”

Client Feedback

“You immediately grasped the complex concept of The Sense Network which was amazing and very refreshing to see. Your proactivity in finding people to interview, in the face of no TSN members being available at short notice, was commendable and very much appreciated here at SWW.”

 

Client Feedback

“It was impressive to see you both asking such probing questions – there was purpose behind all your enquiries which, again, was very refreshing to see.

On the back of that your analysis was fantastic to hear. You shed light on areas that had not been considered before and presented them in a way that made it feel tangible and actionable – no mean feat given the scale and scope of the challenge.”

Client Feedback

“Your presentation skills were very clear and well thought out. The interactivity of the wireframes was very good to go through too and your narrative brought it to life very well. The reporting of your findings was also very easy to follow and understand.”

Client Feedback

“Your response to our feedback was very intuitive. You managed expectations well, pushed back where necessary in terms of prioritization and always delivered on the actions you promised.”

What Could Be Better

With a longer timeline for research and access to more users, we would have liked to map out the user journey for the client beginning with how users find out about the network, their experiences working with the company, and their feelings and activities after completing a project a week to a few months afterward. I think we would have been able to demonstrate the value of the potential solution from the user’s perspective in contrast to the current journey map.

We also could have done a better job providing the client with an actionable timeline for next steps. Although our report outlined several recommendations and insights the client could move forward on, mapping out a process for them in a mock project timeline may have been clearer in illustrating how to turn the designs into a product. However, the client is currently talking with developers about building what we started.