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Giggle

I designed the interface and contributed to the user experience of this iOS and Android app that helps Erasmus students get into the flow during their semester abroad.

First contact

I was first contacted by Giggle via Dribbble. After a first meeting I started working for the team as freelancer. I was the only designer and member of the core team. Something that I appreciated of working at a start-up is that every member of the team was there right from the beginning of the project (founders, engineers, designers and researchers). I really liked all people were working towards the same goal and with the same vision.

I was the only designer thus I had to take care of many different tasks. From the user interface to communication strategies, from leading the engineers to social media assets, from icon design to conducting usability tests. The fact that I was so involved in the early definition of the product had a huge benefit on the design process at a later point.

Value Proposition

As part of the core team I contributed to the definition of the value proposition of the product itself. The aim was to help Erasmus students get into the flow during their semester abroad. How? By connecting them with university Erasmus groups even before they left their country. By grouping them so they could talk, share ideas and fears and help each other. By connecting students from different countries but with shared interests.

Competitor analysis

I followed the work of the founder and the researcher that drafted a competitor analysis that listed similar product models but with a different target. Some of the comparison criteria were: the value proposition, the use cases, the distribution model, the user base, the number of downloads and the last update.

Wireframes

During the competitor analysis I sat down with the UX researcher and we started crafting the app wireframes with Balsamiq.

This iteration was really stimulating. Thanks to the combination of his expertise with mine we created a series of high-fidelity wireframes. There was a lot of synergy and we were able to considered usability issues, common UX patterns and interesting layout solutions right from the beginning of this stage.

Userflows

Together with the UX researcher we also defined the user flows that then we passed over to the engineers that defined the app flowchart which includes user actions, actions validation, api and web socket calls and external processes (like Facebook authentication).

User Journey of an Erasmus Student

The founder also mapped the timeline, the phases, the touchpoints and the emotional states that an Erasmus Students goes throught before, during and after his or her experience. This really helped me understand how the app and the interface could fit in.

Use cases

We defined a series of use cases in order to describe what a person is trying to accomplish under a specific circumstance. For example a new exchange student looking for a room in a specific semester or concerns regarding VISA. We also tried to map possible fears, for example students sharing their personal information or feeling excluded from the university Erasmus group.

User Interface

Having gone through the whole conceptualization and user experience process was a huge advantage for me when I started to draw the user interface. Many of the questions were already answered. This was a big benefit in terms of productivity. I had more time to iterate over and over the same screen or component.

I draw the interface in Sketch.app but in order to keep the whole team always up to date with the latest changes I synced the artboards to Marvel.

I designed first the screens with the higher amount of components and styles. With this approach engineers could start straight away to code the basis of the visual language.

Something that I considered right from the beginning were empty states and loading screens. Giggle was going to be a new product, with few users and fewer contents at first therefore it was important to give a pleasant experience no matter what. For every feature I designed I also thought about its empty counterpart and its loading state.

User feedback

Thanks to the active and strong integration between designer and engineers we were able to deploy a first version of the app quite early. This allowed me to conduct a series of usability test in order to bullet-proof the flow and the overall experience of the product. By being able to get feedback from Erasmus students so early was really helpful for me.

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