The Design Challenge: Intuit Design Challenge 2016- Design an experience which solves a routine task management problem.
The Problem: Managing household chores among flat-mates in a shared apartment is a challenging, annoying and time-consuming task.
Rationale behind selecting this problem : Being students and living in shared apartments, we ourselves struggled with this problem everyday. Hence we believed that we could understand and research the users' needs closely, empathize with them and come up with the best possible solution.
Intuit Design Challenge 2016
Figma- Collaborative Wireframing, Adobe XD- Designs, Marvel App- Prototyping
Needfinding, Interviews, Ideation, Interaction flow, Information Architecture, Wireframing, Mockups, Prototyping
Interviews: We chose to conduct semi-structured interviews which helped us obtain qualitative and quantitative data. In the initial stage of need identification, qualitative data helped us to form hypothesis and quantitative data helped us take immediate decisions.
Described below are the important questions which we tried to answer during this stage of empathizing
1. What are the characteristics of the people facing this problem? Here are some of the characteristics:
● most of them are students/young professionals
● share their rooms/apartments with others who are generally new to them
● go to school/work on weekdays and sometimes on weekends
● their daily routine keeps changing according to their school/work requirements
● some are introverts and hesitate in communicating with roomates
● active inclination towards carrying out household chores changes from person to person.
2. What are the factors causing this problem? Here are top factors:
● busy school/work lives
● lack of responsibility to undertake/monitor completion of chores
● lack of reminders to perform the chores on time
● unavailability of a system that can ensure equal distribution of tasks
● changing routines require frequent updates in the scheduled tasks
● failing to complete tasks on time lead to compromise in hygiene, monetary penalty, pest infection and frustration
3. Tasks: What are the few tasks which users perform in order to solve the problem?
Divide the tasks equally among roommates and schedule them in a timely manner. Moreover, to ensure that the tasks are being undertaken as scheduled, they track the progress of scheduled tasks and mark their status.
4. Goals: Which are the few goals that users look towards achieving? Here are the top 3 goals:
● equal and timely distribution of household chores among flatmates.
● quick task-distribution setup
● lack of reminders to perform the chores on time
● flexibility in the scheduled tasks which can adjust to changing routines
5. Functionality: What set of functions should the solution incorporate in order to let the users complete their tasks and accomplish their goals? Here are some of the functionalities:
● allow users to set up an environment where they can add a number of tasks that are generally included in household chores.
● divide those tasks among the members in the house and schedule them according to their frequency of occurrence
● the product should track progress of the scheduled tasks
● remind the users and probe them to complete their tasks on time
● allow easy re-scheduling of tasks if there are any changes.
6. Device: What device(s) would the users prefer to use the product on?
All the users (6) are heavy mobile phone users who use note taking and other apps for managing their other tasks. Thus, it would be wise and beneficial to leverage this existing habit and mental model of the users to provide them a household task management mobile app.
7. Do our target users have a strong need of this product?
Let’s assume there isn’t a need for such a solution. In that case, people still will find workarounds like creating weekly task schedules either in excel sheet or on paper. Few may even form groups on Whatsapp or Facebook to remind each other of the tasks. However, based on our interviews, they have found themselves struggling with adapting to changing schedules, vulnerable to forgetting the tasks, and lastly, maintaining an inventory of different tasks from time to time. In short, assuming that there isn’t a need of a better solution is false.
Age: 22-28 years
Gender: 3 Males, 3 Females
Occupation: Graduate Students at RIT and UMBC; Interns at Rhode Island and in the Bay area
Technical Proficiency: High (Tech Savvy)
User Personas: The primary audience facing this problem is college students and young professionals who live in shared houses. Based on our user research, we created 2 personas, Nicole and Kevin who represent the personalities of our application's users.
The Goal: Design a novel technique of task management which provides user complete freedom with task selection and is in no way affected by changing time schedules. Moreover, motivates them to complete their tasks in given time.
Interface Structure Diagram:
Based on our research, discussions and ideation sessions, we constructed a flow-diagram of all possible interactions with the application.
Keeping the interaction flow in mind, we created basic sketches of what components each screen should contain. After a number of iterations and testing, we came up with the following final sketches.
We used Figma-collaborative wireframing tool to create wireframes for all the screens. These wireframes are more detailed and represent the layouts, design components and their actual sizes in the final design.
User flow (Mockups):
Problem/Task 1: Time required to setup the tasks schedule:
We have designed an easy and quick three step one-time setup process to schedule the household chores among selected roommates according to it's occurence interval.
Problem/Task 2: Having knowledge of due tasks:
The Tasks screen lists your tasks in the decreasing order of due time. The due time has been color coded for quickly knowing the priority of each task. The user can pick up a task for doing simply by tapping on the tick button and that task will be taken off the list and a notification will be sent to all task members.
Problem/Task 3: Equal distribution of work:
Every user will be associated with a task score per task. Task score is the number of times the user has completed the task. The range of these scores for every task is 1-10. The Tasks Screen of the App provides the user with the list of tasks ordered by user’s score and then by Time Due.
For example: Adam, Ethan and Juan are members of the task Cooking. Every time they pickup the Cooking task, their score adds up by 1. Suppose at this stage Adam's score is 5, Ethan's score is 3 and Juan's score is 6. Ethan's score being minimum signifies that he has cooked for fewer times compared to Adam and Juan. Hence, when the cooking task will be due after it's set interval, it will be shown only on Ethan's app as due. This algorithm makes sure that the tasks are equally divided among all the task members.
Problem/Task 4: Reminding which tasks are due and in how many days:
Notifications will be delivered to remind the users of upcoming tasks.
Problem/Task 5: Flexibility in the schedule:
We have provided flexibility in the task scheduling by allowing users to reschedule their tasks when the routine changes or trade it with some other member if it's a one time issue.
Style Guide: The Style Guide for RunMyHome can be found here.
Marvel App Prototype link: RunMyHome
● Learned UI design patterns by following iOS and Android (Material) design guidelines.
● Learned new collaborative design tool Figma for brainstorming and wireframing. Also learned Adobe Experience Design (XD) for Hi-Fi Designing and Prototyping.
● Daily chores management is not only a management problem but also a deep emotional problem to solve. It took us lot of focussed efforts to extract the exact emotional pain points of our users by using natural observation and casual interview techniques, and then further ideate an incentivized solution.
● Creating a design language which clearly communicates the form and function, and is also aesthetically pleasing which encourages the users to often use the app was a tough nut to crack.
● Creating a robust task management algorithm which accounts for problems like changing schedules, swaps and, also lifts off the extra workload from the user's head was an interesting task to work on!