Reframing Failure: Our Journey Continues

How many women connect with the idea of celebrating failure? What does the full customer journey look like for an ATX Fail Club member? These are the questions we tackled this week.

Since our last update…

  • We crafted social media posts to test our messaging and gauge the number of women open to celebrating failure. We shared posts from Spanx CEO Sara Blakely about the way she has reframed failure to be a positive. Our Instagram post was the most successful receiving 17 “likes” in one day. These posts drove 6 new users to our website where 1 person signed up.
  • We also met and fleshed out what the ideal customer journey might look like. Starting when a woman first discovers the club and ending when she is fully engaged and helping to grow and spread the venture.

Failure_Jounrney Map

  • Another accomplishment was getting our event registration and purchase options ironed out on the website. We previously had it set up through an app in the site for people to register, but the payment options were not ideal. This week we created an event on Eventbrite and integrated this into our website for the April failure dinner.
  • Lastly, we created first drafts of the mission, vision, and goals of our business. We think these will be useful on our website to better explain what the club is about, and help us moving forward align our decisions more closely to the goals and outcomes we hope to achieve with ATX Fail Club.

Lessons Learned:

  • Time flies when you’re juggling multiple responsibilities. This week other obligations and things coming up caused us to reevaluate our initial plans. Next week, we hope to front-load more to schedule and get all the necessary supporting materials lined up early on to make this less likely to repeat itself.
  • We shared a video on facebook and twitter, and an image on Instagram with the image receiving more interaction. Either, image posts are more impactful than videos in gaining traction, or Instagram is a better way to engage with our audience on social media. Facebook still appears to be the best way to drive users to our website with 4/6 new users coming from Facebook and 2 from Instagram.

Our Next Big Question:

Test reactions to our newly drafted mission and goals. Are these relevant for our target audience?

Now we’ve got to…

  • Outline a clear testing plan for this week so that we can divide and conquer.
  • Define what our goals and metrics are for testing and how we will know if we are successful.
  • Begin soliciting sponsors for our April event.

One way you can help right now is…

  • Contact us if you have a lead on a sponsor we should reach out to. Ideally, food/drink/space/swag-related for a group of 8-15 women in April. Our emails are Jen.Figueroa@ac4d.com, Laura.Sepulveda@ac4d.com, and Vicky.Pridgen@ac4d.com.
  • Sign up for a 20-minute video-call feedback session to offer input on our concept. You will answer a series of questions and conduct a short activity and there will be time at the end of the session for additional feedback. Click here to sign up: https://calendly.com/ac4d/virtual

Making a Banking App (Somewhat of) a Reality

Last week we took our wireframe flows from our banking apps and began to work with developers to start the process of building them out. In a perfect world we’d have all the screens built out and then present them to the developer to answer any questions and explain anything that wasn’t clear.

I had a quick call with Eric, the developer I’m working with, to chat about where I’m at and what my goals are for this project. I told him that I felt super behind he didn’t shame me for it. He would rather meet and understand the scope sooner rather than later. I told him that my goals for this project are to understand how a developer thinks. I have a print/graphic design background and I know the printing process very well and it affects how I design. I want to be the same sort of digital designer.

Eric and I met on Friday for a little over an hour and I went through all of my flows.

Deposit a Check

Deposit Check Deposit Check 2

Find Security Code
Find Security Code
Spending Alert
Spending Alert
Budget & Spending Trends
Budget and Spending
Categorize Transaction

Categorize Transaction
I definitely didn’t have every single screen built out nor did I have my redlines done, which turned out to be okay. Eric said he never asks for redlines for clients. What he would rather have from me is a Style Guide and markup notes on any custom animations. He also said that he always estimates 1 day per screen, unless it needs something extra. Using t-shirt sizing, “Small” = 1 day, “Medium” = 1.5 days and “Large” = 2 days. Nearly every screen I showed him was a “Small” with the exception of my Budget screen, which was a Medium and my Spending Trends was a Large.

Since I hadn’t built my screens and had no idea how many my app would need, I created a spreadsheet of everything to be done in the app. My final count was 72 screens which would take Eric about 14 weeks to build. If I’ve forgotten any screens, which I surely have, it will take longer.

Here’s a sample of just the screens needed to be built before the user logs into the app.

Login Screens

Next Steps:

I have a list of what information and elements Eric wants to see in the Style Guide so I’ll be working on that. I will also continue to build out the wireframes.

Update:

As I watched my fellow students present their wireframes I started to understand why a redline would be necessary. So I’ve started the process of redlining my designs.

Artboard 1Artboard 1 copy

Failure as a Form of Synthesis

In our capstone project we’ve been doing a lot of research on failure and reframing it not as something to regret, but as something to celebrate as part of success. In reading many of these articles this past week I was reminded of my own failures. 

Order Muppet

Am I an Order Muppet? Let me just say that when I was Art Director at Whole Foods Market I was sometimes called the branding police. I would do a store visit and walk the floor with the designer and if something wasn’t in alignment with the brand, (wrong colors, wrong font, unapproved photo) I’d pull it and ask them to redo it and talk to them about why. 

We were having our annual summit and there were over 30 store designers in the room and we were having a quick “show and tell” where the designers each shared one best practice in under 2 minutes. One designer brought something that was clearly outside of brand standards but he was so proud of it and it had actually increased their sales. 

Several people were looking at me, like, “Well, are you going to say something?” And I felt the clock ticking. I felt my heart rate going up and I knew it was now or never. And I chickened out. I said nothing, thanked him for sharing and moved to the next person. 

I felt like a coward. And a failure. How could I call myself a leader and not lead? How could I say I loved branding and not enforce the brand standards?

I shared this with a coworker after the session and she said, “Are you kidding me? You know how sensitive Ángel* is! Calling him out in front of his peers? You would have CRUSHED him!” She was right. I hadn’t failed, I’d trusted my gut. I pulled him aside later and gave him that feedback, which he was receptive to. 

Designing for vs. Designing with 

When I was rebranding the materials at Castle Hill Fitness I had pretty free rein (within a budget and within the new brand guidelines, of course). So when it came time to redesign their class schedule, I thought outside the box. At Whole Foods, lots of my coworkers went to Castle Hill Fitness (it was right across the street) and we had the schedule posted on the bulletin board in the hallway. So I thought, I’ll make a poster!

And I did.

Castle Hill Fitness Class Schedule

It folded up to a half-page size for easy portability and I was pretty proud of it. Several months later, some CHF employees took the schedules to an event and when people started to open them, they saw how complicated it was and set them back down. Some people didn’t even take them. I made a really cool product that nobody wanted to interact with!

So I iterated. The next version folded to the same size but was a z-fold so it was easier to read quickly.

Castle Hill Fitness Class Schedule Z-fold

Had I understood the value of user-centered design, I’d have asked clients what they wanted in a class schedule (designing with) and done some user testing before the final print instead of just printing what I thought was cool and assuming that everyone would think it was cool too (designing for).

My Privilege / the best of intentions

Richard Anderson asked us to read about a high-end grocery store in an area of San Francisco where the people on the streets “have little hope of eating food of any acceptable level of quality.” And I was reminded of privilege and how easy it is for the privileged to be blind to the needs of those around you. And yes, by privileged and blind I mean me. 

About 7 years ago I volunteered for a program through the Austin Public Library called Talk Time. Talk Time is a program for English conversation practice with other English language learners and English speaking volunteers. I was the volunteer. The program is open to any adult who speaks some English and wants an informal and safe place to practice with others. All I had to do was show up and speak English to people who wanted to learn it. I didn’t need a curriculum or lesson plans, just an openness to conversing with strangers. People weren’t always forthcoming so I usually tried to think of neutral questions to ask and we’d go around the room and answer them. 

In one of the sessions, about 10 people came in at once. They’d just arrived that morning from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I wasn’t aware of all the violence that was displacing the Congolese people. And I still tried to ask my questions that I thought were neutral. One question I remember asking was–and I’m horrified/blushing just thinking about it, “What’s your dream vacation?” One woman answered, “This is my dream vacation. I’m here, finally, I’m safe.”

Unlike my previous 2 stories, there’s no real feel-good ending to this story. I didn’t find out that my gut was right; I didn’t get to iterate and make it better. All I can do is keep trying to face my privilege and at the very least, not offend people and at the very most, use it for good.

*not his real name

Team Impostorism Update

Last week Laura, Vicky and I narrowed our three design concepts down to two. Here are the three we’ve been working on this quarter:

  • DESTRUCTION BOX: Self-care, self-reflection, and stress relief, all tied up in one monthly box. Instead of nurturing, pampering, or creation, subscribers are encouraged to express anger, rage, and destruction by symbolically destroying feelings of impostorism.
  • JVL CONSULTANCY STEP THREE: A human-centered design firm providing company leadership with actionable solutions and recommendations to help hire, retain, and promote top talent while moving toward a more balanced and inclusive workplace.
  • ATX FAIL CLUB: A safe space to share your stories of failure and impostorism in your life. Curating dinner parties and storytelling events for women-identifying people to come together and celebrate stories of failure.

While logic would point to us narrowing it down to our two most developed ideas, we opted to move away from what was arguably our easiest idea, the Destruction Box, and use that energy to focus on the more wicked problems addressed by Step Three (name still subject to change) and continue to develop the ATX Fail Club.

But do not despair, the Destruction Box isn’t going away entirely! Every user we talked to mentioned that regardless of the feelings of release/empowerment/joy they might get out of symbolically destroying feelings of impostorism, they’d be snapped back to reality pretty quickly when they had to clean up their own mess. So we’re considering incorporating some small acts of destruction at the end of our ATX Fail Club events and we’d do the cleaning up.

This week we:

  • worked on developing our service blueprints
  • continued to refine the offerings of Step Three
  • reached out to more contacts, some of whom we’ll connect with in Q4 due to scheduling
  • interviewed 3 people, 2 with daily work in these spaces
  • worked on the outlines of our pitch decks

We narrowed down Step Three’s offerings to three:

Recruitment Package: We will review all of your job postings to ensure you are attracting top candidates.
Handbook & Benefits Audit: Ensure that your handbook and policies have the right guidelines for your business.
Culture and Retention Package: Create a mentorship pathway within your company.

Recruit. Retain. Recognize. 

Two weeks ago we made some lo-fi Service Blueprints for all 3 concepts. Here’s an example of the one we made for Step Three:

IMG_2747
Service Blueprint: an operational tool that describes the nature and the characteristics of the service interaction in enough detail to verify, implement and maintain it.

We focused on what artifacts were used, who used them (customers or employees), where they used them (customer-facing or nah, aka front-of-house or back-of-house) and how. It was helpful in that it really made us think about every aspect that goes into creating and planning these concepts. One challenge we discovered is that when you don’t really have a complete concept of your business, it’s hard to build one of these.

NEXT STEPS: As we’ve worked to flesh out our ideas for Step Three, it will be super beneficial for us to build a separate service blueprint for each of the three services we’re offering. If we don’t do that in the next week it will be one of the first things we do in Q4. (As well as updating our lean canvases for each service.)

Let the People Have Numbers!

the ask

Our assignment over the past couple of weeks was to add financial modeling to our banking apps. I literally use You Need a Budget every day and still thought, “What’s financial modeling?” (It’s an abstract representation of a real world financial situation.)

my approach

I added a few functionalities to my Capital One app, loosely based on both YNAB and Mint. What I felt was most important was to see an overview of the total budget breakdown, a visual of spending so far for the month, the ability to categorize a transaction and an alert for out-of-the-norm transactions. (We’ll get deeper into these shortly.)

From there I conducted 5 user interviews and asked them to walk through the flows and talk me through their impressions. Of the 5, 3 use 1 banking app and mostly for checking their balances and not much else. One uses it frequently, not just for checking and savings but also investing. And one used 2 banking apps and a budgeting app (You Need a Budget).

IMG_2369

Below are the screens I presented as well as what I learned about them from doing my user testing.


 

This is the home screen for the checking account.

Checking_home

My intention on this screen was for users to see a top-level view of their budget for the month and an alert for out of the norm spending. Once they clicked on the budget donut, they’d be brought to another screen, which had a breakdown of all their categories.

User Feedback: None of my users knew what to do with the donut image. They understood that it was a budget overview but they wanted more information about it instantly. I’d basically designed a glorified button.


 

Monthly_Spending

 

Once they did click on it, they got to this screen. (“Oh! Here’s that information!”)

User Feedback: My biggest discovery by far in doing these interviews was the fact that, while I’d laid it out in a clear way, there were no numbers. There were no numbers in super key areas, especially considering that this was a banking app. This was less of an executive decision on my part and more of me learning how detailed a wireframe should be.

Other useful feedback for this screen was that a line showing where we are in the month would help them get a better sense of where they were at in their spending.


 

From here, users could click a category to see monthly spending trends compared to their budget as well as the transactions that are filed to that category.

Spending Trend

User feedback: Yes, numbers on the graphs, numbers on the budget. Other questions included, “Am I budgeting the same amount every month?” “What happens if I change my budget, where does that line go?”

 


Another function I had added was a feature where the app lets you know if your spending is out of the norm. Clicking on a transaction with an alert icon would take you to a screen with more information.

TransactionsCM_Alert

User feedback: “Obviously my average spending isn’t including February but I’d like to know that for sure.” “Since this graph is evenly spaced, it wasn’t obvious to me that these are specific transactions, I thought it was a monthly average.” “I don’t care if I spent more than normal, I want to know if I budgeted for it.” One user wanted a place to make a note for her own records. Another user was worried it could be fraudulent and wanted a quick link to deactivate her card and alert the bank of fraud.


 

Another function I added in (based on my YNAB usage) is the ability to categorize a transaction. In my testing, I explained that this was a new-to-you Shell and in the past you’ve categorized Shell purchases as either travel or transportation, depending on the circumstance. We’re going to categorize this one as Transportation.

Category1 Category2 Category3

When I was trying to figure out how to design this, I read an article on why drop down menus on mobile devices were terrible and read their listed solutions and I opted for a Start Typing option.

User Feedback: First, my categories were too small. One user didn’t even notice the little alert icon. Another user said he really would have preferred a drop down menu because what if he didn’t remember his categories? Nearly everyone got stuck on the last screen because I forgot to add some sort of “Done” button.


 

takeaways

My takeaways from these user interviews, besides adding numbers to the screens, were that I get more useful info from people who regularly use their banking and budgeting apps, some of my type was too small and other functions were oversimplified. In general, people are very interested in seeing their spending trends for the month so that’s a place I can dig deeper.

Next steps: make all these edits and present them next week in class. 

Break.

It’s been a minute (since Q1) since I wrote a reflection post. And at the time I was full of nerves and had quit drinking coffee because it was making me too anxious. Q2 was much better because I realized I was in charge of my own success. And failure. So I made sure to fail in the ways I was comfortable with (I’m not staying up late drawing things; I was an art major, I’ve done that) and striving in the ways in which I wanted to grow (how do I make a concept model of impostorism? How do I tell a story people will care about?). I also began drinking coffee again.

And we’re officially in the last 2 weeks of Q3 and I have a ton of wireframes to do today so this seems like a great time to procrastinate reflect. Also because last week was hard. I got some family news I wasn’t sure how to process on Tuesday. I thought about skipping class that night. I went climbing at Austin Bouldering Project with a friend, changed clothes, and drove straight past AC4D. On purpose. I took a deep breath, turned around and drove to Springdale General and drove past the school. Again. I never do this. I normally just go to school for every class, there’s no decision to be made.

In the end, I went to class and I was glad. I went to all the other classes that week without any sort of indecision and we threw a failure dinner on Friday night which I did most of the prep for. (To be clear the dinner was not a failure, it was a successful dinner with 6 attendees who shared and celebrated stories of failure.) And Saturday we had studio and I was super distracted and felt like I was dragging my team down.

I felt so done, so exhausted. I’d felt done that morning before class. I thought about it and I’d felt done since Tuesday. Why? Oh, right, the family news. I’d been plowing through the whole week with no break. With that knowledge, I bought myself a comfort food dinner (Whole Foods soup bar beef chili over a baked sweet potato and topped with all the sour cream), lit a fire in the fireplace and curled up to drink wine and watch Fyre documentaries. (Okay, just one, the Netflix one.)

In this program, justifying breaks can be so hard and filled with so much guilt. Right this minute I could and probably should be emailing people follow-ups and building out wireframes and updating my landing page or creating a demo and working on a more in-depth service blueprint or 2 and creating/updating 2 presentation decks and scheduling something like 15 user interviews this week.

But I do not regret my breaks (including this optional refection blog post). It might all get done, it might not. It certainly won’t get done at the level of fidelity I’d prefer. All I can do is hope I’m learning what I need to be learning and know that all these things are first iterations and I can redo them for the portfolio if I need to.

User Testing Wireframes

After getting critiques on our wireframes last Monday, we made edits to our wireframes and did some think-aloud testing with users. This was my first time doing user testing so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

It was my very first test with my very first user and she couldn’t get past the first button! And it wasn’t even a real button, it was a Touch ID button but she wasn’t sure where to press. I immediately saw the flaw in my design. The only clickable part was the bit explaining that it was Touch ID but I should have made the whole screen clickable so that no one got stuck on a “button” that actually requires hardware.

Log In

Luckily her reaction was not the trend for all of my tests (whew!). Two of my other flows went well for all the users with no surprises and no one getting stuck (Access Security Code, Deposit a Check). My Set Alerts & Notifications one was the biggest problem area and I believe it comes down to the fact that Capital One has users leave the app and go to Settings to set all alerts and notifications. Many of the users I tested got stuck here, not knowing what to do, not knowing what the options meant and not sure how to navigate back.

Allow Notifications

 

This is something I want to address in my next iterations. Capital One obviously wants users to turn on notifications (since the alert pops up as soon as you log in) but there needs to be a better way. That’s what I’ll be working on over the next few weeks.

I will also be working on my interview techniques. I did fairly well at letting users self-guide through the app but I definitely need more practice saying, “What did you expect to happen there?”

Wireframing the Capital One App

Our assignment this week is to create wireframe flows based on the banking app concept models we’d made for Assignment 1. It’s at this point that I understood how lacking my original concept map was. (The grade I received on it was also a good indicator.) If someone were to try and build an app from my map, well, they couldn’t.

On the plus side, I found that creating a complete picture of the app through wireframing was much easier for me than through concept mapping. On the slightly more negative side, I was getting into the weeds quickly by trying to build every possible path. I think I was overcompensating for my concept map’s inadequacy because I started to turn my wireframe flows into if/then statements. Which was not the assignment. (That’s the next assignment.) Luckily I was able to back out of it and create specific flows (e.g. Depositing a Check) vs. every possible flow ever.

Here is one I did for turning on notifications. The Capital One app will prompt you to turn on notifications every time you log in (unless you’ve already turned them on). Using this function, I’ve shown how it will take you to the iOS settings and allow you to set your notifications. (Not pictured are 2 more notifications screens [Show Previews & Notification Grouping] that I did build but omitted for this image so the words would be legible.)

Set_Alerts_Notifications_JF

Another wireframe I built was born out of a need for accessing my security code. Capital One has a specific security code that users need in order to import transactions into third party apps, such as You Need a Budget. I needed that code this week for, yes, You Need a Budget and it’s not accessible via the Capital One app. It has to be done online. So in my wireframe I added it as a category under Profile > Security.

Security_Code_JF

I also gave it a Reveal/Hide function in case you hit it by accident and don’t want people to see it.

Once I stopped thinking about every possibility and zoomed in on what screens will take you from point A to point B, this got a lot easier for me. Next week we’ll be building the prototypes and testing users to see how well our wireframe designs are working. Stay tuned!

Here/Not Here

Last Sunday I was trying to brainstorm on my 5 business ideas that I needed to make Lean Canvases for. I had 2 ideas so far and wanted to brainstorm with fellow students. But I was at home. Was anyone at school? How could I know?

And I thought, if only there was a Marauder’s Map for AC4D so I could know who’s at school.

And that’s how I got my idea.

Here Not Here

If you’re interested in staying abreast of its development, check out my landing page and sign up to receive updates. Thanks in advance!

Concept Map of Capital One Mobile App

The assignment was to choose a banking app (why am I actively using 3 banks?!) and create a concept map of the current design and a concept map of how it could be improved.

I chose the Capital One app over my other banking apps because recently I’d logged into the website and couldn’t find what I needed to find. I wanted to see if that translated to the app. (No.)

What I found in doing the first part of the project, taking inventory of the existing screens, was that I really liked the way it was laid out. I heard fellow students complaining about their apps having too many buttons or screens being weirdly repetitive and I wasn’t seeing that. I found it fairly easy to take the existing screens and lay them out in a clear hierarchy. (Don’t let my sketches fool you, it was clear to me!)

CapitalOne_Sketch_JF CapitalOne_Screens_JF

When I started to digitize the concept map, I realized how many steps I’d missed. And that I would have to dig a bit deeper into the app to represent its full capabilities. Here’s what I came up with.

CapitalOne_ConceptMap_final

And as far as navigation goes I really found no way to improve upon it, save one small thing. When paying bills, you can click on “Pay to” and select one of your payees or you can Add Payee. However! When you’re transferring money and click on “Pay From” you can select one of your linked accounts but there’s no “Add Account” button. I couldn’t find anywhere to add an external account within the app. Not even a button sending you to the website to do it.

Since my concept map didn’t even get this deep here’s an image of how I’d update this bit.

CapitalOne_edit

Otherwise, frankly, good job, Capital One.