Design Problem

Make an experience that points the user back to a brand narrative.

The Task

This project's prompt was extremely open ended. The main task of the assignment was to create something that connects to a brand narrative, and reinforces it in everything it does. The project ran for a whole semester, and had a specific set of deliverables we had to deliver. I was solely responsible for creating the branding pieces, the brand narrative, the concept for the app, UI design, UX design, research, interviews, motion design, and compiling the final presentation.



The Problem

Have you ever hung out with friends? Have you ever hung out with friends and also been hungry at the same time? It's the worst, right? The whole goal behind the Crowd Burger app is to squash that "I dunno what do you wanna eat?" paradox. The current options for finding new places to eat aren't as effective as one would hope, as they require the user to filter through a bunch of stuff they aren't interested in. The whole reason the user is consulting these apps is because they can't decide in the first place. If the result was chosen for the user, perhaps it would be more effective.



The Final Results

Clickable Prototype

Full Website

Presentation


UX Process

First ideation, then lots of research and interviews.

Ideation

The concept for this project as a whole began through a process called Forced Connections. In this process, you establish two groups of concepts and smash them together. For instance, I had a group of broader topics such as crowd sourced, video game, generative art, human centered design, and a print piece (and some more) in one group, and I had a list of specific problems in another. The problems I listed included what to eat, clean water, mental health, money management, and music discovery. These problems were generated through research into the world’s current largest problems, as well as personal interest.



Initial Research

To gather information inside our target demographic, millennials 18-25, I posted a Google Form Survey in a community on Reddit.com dedicated to conducting research like this. I intentionally made several of the questions sarcastic and tongue in cheek in order to break the tension most people feel from taking things that feel like tests. In doing so, I also received some very useful information and some very weird results. Both of which I received with open arms. Those surveyed were very honest and gave me a good amount of ammunition to get working.

Survey Results

CSV of Results



Mind Map

The evolving mindmap that encompasses the whole project.

Mapping

The mindmap below establishes all the important pieces of the brand and its touchpoints, and the two main task flows that the app focused on. This map was an evolving piece and shows all the elements of the project in a visual layout.



Sketching

Sketches, Ideation, and lofi Personas

Forced Analogy & Target Demographic

I've included a photo of the table I created doing the forced analogy exercise, as well as some initial concepts and target demographics being outlined by myself in my sketchbook.



Personas

As this was a single man project, I elected to do lofi personas on paper, as opposed to spending the time to make them high fidelity. This effectively saved me a lot of time designing something that only I would see, and also kept me on track for designing for a user and not myself.



Logos

You can see some of my logo iterations here. I named the app / brand by listing a bunch of words that sounded food related, and a bunch of different names that make it sound like an app. Since the app is crowd sourced, I stuck with "crowd" and since the app feeds you, we have "burger". The logo came very naturally, as you can see in these sketches below.



Branding

Narratives, Demographic, and Touchpoints oh my.

The Beginnings

For the branding portion of the project, I began with naming the brand. I broke down the basic concepts of the app and listed potential word connections until I had something interesting, quirky, and “sticky”. I wanted something that seemed to be misappropriated but made sense when you really dug in. After establishing a name the logo portion came very naturally. I chose to make it look reminiscent of a restaurant to create an interesting juxtaposition between the cold nature of technology and the yummy deliciousness of food. As if to say, this app feeds you.



Touchpoints

As a class, we did an exercise called 30 in 30 where you come up with 30 different ideas (in this case, touch points) in 30 minutes. In doing this exercise, I ended up with a lot of really weird yet unique ideas that played well with my brand. The good ones that made the cut are "a hungry hungry millennials game", "hungry hungry millennial dolls", "run a cheese burger for mayor" (which I didn't know had been done by McDonald's), and "launch a burger into space."




UI Design

Bottom up UI design inspired by post-modernist design and contemporary trends.

Design + Process

I wanted it to be fun, engaging, and unique, but still usable. I started out trying to make the app more minimal but moved away from that quickly as it didn't seem to be serving my target demographic well. I started out with lofi wireframes on paper, then moved up to lofi wireframes from Balsamiq Mockups.

The visual design of the app was largely inspired by the contemporary work of Stefan Sagmeister & Jessica Walsh, as well as various influences from post-modernist design. I wanted it to be very colorful, and to use the color to signify different sections and processes inside the app.

After the first round of testing with the lofi wireframes, I adapted the design to match the feedback I had received and came to the current state of the app. Given more time, I would continue to test and iterate upon this.



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