Re-designing the UX/UI of a storytelling platform.
We created a proposal for Snicks within a short time frame and on a very tight budget. There is nothing I enjoy more than taking a global look at a product and re-imagining how to come up with the most straighforward and user friendly way to deliver product objectives.
Snicks wanted to increase user engagement and were open about exploring a range of ideas for improving their app. They loved our work and after seeing the designs said it was the first time they wanted to take on a new look.
The client directive was that they did not want any colour and wanted their app to draw on Apple products as an inspiration.
The placeholder illustrations featured in the prototype are by Carolina Rodriguez Fuenmayor.
WHO IS SNICKS?
There was no time for proper user testing but luckily I live in a co-living space which allows me to collect some qualitive data whilst designing. The first thing I did was to ask friends who had never heard of Snicks what the app was about after giving them a brief look at the the interface of the app. Everyone I asked thought it was a streaming service, so one of the objectives included making sure everyone saw it as a story telling service.
I also took a closer look at what the competitors. Were they doing anything Snicks was not? Could we learn anything from them?
CLARITY & SIMPLICITY
The app felt a little cluttered. There were features in the main navigation bar that users did not have to use regularly. I reduced from 5 to 3 the items on the navigation: "Snicks Stories", "Your Library" & "Explore". The "profile" was mainly used for language selection and support so there was no need to have it in the main menu for daily interaction. "Continue where you left off" and "favourites" could be grouped under "Your Library". "Continue where you left off" could also be something you find when you open the app straight away but it did not need a page of its own. Another request was to make the app hero on page look clickable which we did by turning it into a button that matched all the other sory icons.
INCREASING CONTENT ENGAGEMENT
The front page was mainly content categories and there were two different ways of communicating the same message, namely story genres. But for users this is not very enticing, unless one is particularly interested in that category. How can a user know if this is a "Horror" "Drama" story that is worth reading?
The solution was to entice the user with categories that talk about the quality of content to encourage a feeling of satisfaction when choosing and engaging with it. Genres do not need to be the main focus on the start page rather, New & Noteworthy, Snicks Favourites, Critically Aclaimed, Popular where a better choice.
The "Search" page was blank and this is confusing for users who may not know exactly what they are looking for. It also begs the question, should it be in the main menu at all if it is just a blank search screen. Surely having it on some other page would do? However, there are many ways we can facilitate the search of content for users, mainy by providing cues and sorting it in useful categories that may not be present in the start page of the app. This is what we did by adding a "genre" and "author" search tab.
LIGHT MODE VS DARK MODE
Most studies indicate that it is easier to read dark text on light backgrounds. Of course there are many factors involved in this and in some instances dark mode is in fact better for the eyes. Darkmode is prefered by most streaming sites and it is used to make content pop. We wanted to move away from this. Traditionally app users associate more text based content with lighter backgrounds and Snicks primary objective is to tell good stories not create stunning visuals. The client had also expressed that they wanted us to draw inspiration from Apple products. These factors explain why we opted to start with a Light Mode proposal with an alternative Dark Mode just for reading content.
KEEPING CONTENT NAVIGATION CONSISTENT AND EXAMINING THE STORY PAGES
Snicks wanted to add extra content to the stories and suggested having a button to take users to extra content. They were also doubtful about the positioning of the current Read/Listen button. In addition they said they wanted to reduce the amount of chapters in stories.
I kept content interaction (side scrolling) consistent for both chapters and extra content. The Read/Listen buttons where moved to the top.
THOUGHTS & RETROSPECTIVE
Looking back there are lots of continuos tweaks I would like to make. It would be wonderful to delve deeper and take a closer look at how users are currently behaving and incorporate some A/B testing into the app. The client is now looking to see what is possible within their current budget so hopefully this is just the begining of a long user story and relationship.