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UI Solution: For Sale at CMU

 

For Sale at CMU: User Experience

As a final project for a user-centered research methods class, as a group we decided on a problem prevalent across campus. We decided to focus on the “For Sale @ CMU: a Facebook group for buying and selling within the CMU community. We decided to conduct the research in three stages: Exploratory, Generative, and Synthesis.

Research Process:

  1. Introduction

  2. Problem Identification

  3. Stakeholder/Territory Maps

  4. Exploratory Research: Google Survey

  5. Generative Research: Think Aloud/Task Analysis

  6. Synthesis Research: Empathy and Affinity Map

  7. Intervention Concept

  8. Final Poster

  9. Reflection

1. Project Introduction

As a group, we brainstormed different problems prevalent among students and faculty at Carnegie Mellon. We determined to focus on the Facebook group of For Sale @ CMU

We started by looking at the overall capabilities of the group and Facebook’s interface for the service.

Group’s Home Interface

Group’s Home Interface

Post Layout

Post Layout

Photo Organization

Photo Organization

 

2. Problem Identification

At this stage, we looked at issues already prevalent to us without user feedback

1. Comment Section can lead to confusion whether item is sold

1. Comment Section can lead to confusion whether item is sold

4. Feed Disorganization: Posts are organized not by time or by popularity

4. Feed Disorganization: Posts are organized not by time or by popularity

2. Multiple Post Organization: Disorganized Layout for multiple items in one post

2. Multiple Post Organization: Disorganized Layout for multiple items in one post

5. Multiple Items Price: For many of the posts with multiple items, there can only be a single price displayed. Many times that price is listed as “FREE”

5. Multiple Items Price: For many of the posts with multiple items, there can only be a single price displayed. Many times that price is listed as “FREE”

3. Condition of Product: Quality/Condition of sold product being sold can be forgotten in the post descriptions

3. Condition of Product: Quality/Condition of sold product being sold can be forgotten in the post descriptions

6. Location Confusion: Location is sometimes forgotten from the details within the post.

6. Location Confusion: Location is sometimes forgotten from the details within the post.

 

3. Stakeholder Map and Territory Map

Used different maps to figure out the scope of the issue and all the different stakeholders within the community of FS @ CMU

Stakeholder Map

Stakeholder Map

Territory Map

Territory Map

 

4. Exploratory Research: Google Survey

Primary research was done online through surveys to see if there was a specific area/statistic that stood out that we could focus on with future explorations

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5. Generative Research: Think Aloud/Task Analysis

Invited users and non-users of For Sale at CMU to complete different tasks on the interface. As they attempted to complete the different tasks they described the process they were going through as well as the problems they ran into.

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Participant One: Infrequent User

  • Confusion over price of item due to the layout of interface

  • Multiple items are listed with a single price (price will often be listed as free)

Participant Two: Non-member

  • A lot of informational noise

  • Different search bars causes temporary confusion

  • Price confusion

  • Confusion over condition of item as well as price

Participant Three: Infrequent User

  • Didn’t know if item was sold or not

  • Concern over condition of item

  • Commented that the interface of Facebook was familiar — FS @ CMU is easy to navigate

Participant Four: Very Infrequent User

  • Confusion over prices

  • Commented on organization of the page and the order in which items are listed

  • Posts are not organized in chronological order from post date

  • Difficult to find the same post again after searching for awhile on the page

Participant Five: Frequent Seller

  • Grew frustrated with how the seller presented the prices for an item

  • Complained about the way that posts are organized because buyers don’t see the most recent items posted

  • Buyers assume that unsold items have been sold since they’ve been posted for awhile

 

6. Synthesis Research: Empathy and Affinity Map

Created an empathy and affinity map to figure out an intervention to solve some of the issues of For Sale at CMU

 

7. Intervention Concept

Our final solution for the user experience of For Sale at CMU was to explore an idea for an app that was connected to Facebook, so that if messaging and looking at the profile of the seller/buyer through Facebook is more convenient, the option was available.

We also considered the idea of changing the interface of the group within Facebook desktop to cater more towards the buy/sell process.

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Wireframing the Intervention

  1. Login Page: Requests information to verify affiliation with CMU

  2. Home Page: Shows suggested items with predetermined categories on top for ease of access

  3. Item Page: Displays item condition, Model number (if applicable), and the method of pick-up

  4. Seller Profile Page: different ways to contact as well as pay the seller, see reliability of seller from previous buyers

  5. Messaging Capability: Using Facebook Messenger to contact sellers so both buyers and sellers are able to see the Facebook profile of the other person, predetermined phrases are given at the bottom to expedite the purchasing process

 

8. Final Poster

Final Deliverable was a poster that showed the results of our research process.

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9. Reflection

  • I had a lot of fun using my experience both as a graphic designer and product designer to complete this project. Not only that, I was able to go through the whole process of identifying a problem, conducting research, and then creating an intervention. Bridging the issues that differed user to user in the affinity map was my favorite part of the process because through that process, we were able to find the concept for our final solution.

  • At the end, designing a final poster in which our entire research process was displayed was a rewarding conclusion to the project. Looking at the process we went through from exploring more of the app to actually creating definable issues from each of our users allowed me to realize the problem wasn’t just black and white.

  • Looking back, I would have liked to explore more on the possibility of still remaining on Facebook but changing some of the aspects of a buy/sell group’s interface. If given more time, I would have liked to take advantage of the community already present on Facebook but alter the organization as well as the interaction of buyer to seller. Finally, I would like to have created more high fidelity mock-ups on InVision that really demonstrated the user’s interaction with the completed prototype.