SYNC
UX/UI Design, with a focus on UI

The Background
Someone: “Hey, Chase. Great to see you here!”
Me (can’t remember the person's name): “Hey, you!”
Silence continues for two seconds on both ends. I experienced lots of these awkward moments during my MBA. As an MBA student, I have to constantly meet new people both in social and professional settings. However, I often have difficulty remembering information about people I have met. Because of that, I missed the opportunity to stay connected with them. Therefore,
I wanted to create a digital app to help business people, particularly MBA students, easily remember and stay in touch with their professional contacts.

Challenges
In this project, I encountered the following challenges to create this app:
● How to increase engagement and enhance recognition of professional contacts?
● How to help users take better notes to facilitate memorizing information about others?
● How to enable users to quickly and easily exchange contacts with multiple people?

Solution
A mobile phone contact management app with innovative features that can replace the native contact system or equivalent apps.

Role
UX/UI Designer

Tool
Figma, Sketch, Invision Studio, Miro, iMovie

Time
70 hours

Team
Self-directed with mentorship and received design critiques from the designer community





View working files IN BROWSER






OVERVIEW
Designing of SYNC from scratch

In this personal project, the goal was to build an app to help business students easily remember and stay in touch with their professional contacts. I started off by conducting user interviews, secondary research, and competitive analysis to understand how people use available technologies and solutions to recall and stay connected with their connections like recruiters or interviewers. I defined a persona, analyzed user scenarios, and ran a participatory design session to brainstorm solutions. In addition, I did rapid prototypes to quickly validate my solutions with users and conducted usability tests to observe how users interact with my app. In the end, I came up with 4 key features for SYNC.







CHALLENGE 1
How to increase engagement and enhance recognition of professional contacts?

1. User Interviews
From the 5 user interviews I conducted, I learned that it is common for MBA students to exchange contact information with their professional connections at different places.
However, most of their contacts would just sit in their phone, and they would never ever reach out to those people. In this case, they lost the opportunity to stay in touch with them.

"..., after I exchanged the contact, often I just forget to reach out because I have a crazy schedule, sometimes I can't even remember their names the day after I met them" - Ian Kaelble, Interviewee

2. Persona & Scenario Analysis

I crafted a persona from user interviews and analyzed what user scenarios a typical MBA student would need to use this app to help him remember new people they met.


Below are some scenarios that Nick will encounter during his MBA program:

● Scenario A: Nick is attending an on-campus corporate presentation, where he wants to get recruiters’ contact information and have a follow-up call later
● Scenario B: Nick just finished an interview and wants to take note of what they talked about in the interview to send a thank you note later
● Scenario C: Nick wants to connect his friend with someone he knows at Microsoft and he wants to quickly find information about this connection

From the analysis, I learned that being able to create a way for MBAs to easily and quickly remind themselves to stay in touch with their professional contacts is very important.


3. Literature Review

I researched topics such as working memory or how people recall things. From Dr. Susan M. Weinschenk's '100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People', I learned that people are constantly forgetting things. Here is Hermann Ebbinghaus's Forgetting Curve from the book:


Therefore, two insights from this analysis:

1. The more you wait, the less you remember.
2. Practice does make perfect. If we want people to remember something, then you have to go over it again and again.






SOLUTION TO CHALLENGE 1
Part A: Create a quiz feature to increase engagement and enhance recognition



quiz feature
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The pop-up quiz located on the home screen will select people the user recently added in the app and test the user's knowledge about them. If the user answered incorrectly, they can click the name of the person in the quiz and go into their profile to learn more about them. By providing a quiz feature, SYNC will be able to facilitate the transfer of short-term to long-term memory in users. Therefore, they will remember to reach out to those contacts.








SOLUTION TO CHALLENGE 1
Part B: Create Quick Reminder feature to enable users to easily set and respond to reminders in different scenarios


quick to set reminders
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quick to respond to reminders
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This feature easily enables users to not only set up reminders to connect with people and stay connected, but also reach out to them. With just a few taps, users can easily complete the tasks in different scenarios in which they might have limited time.

When setting a reminder, user can tap on 'Reminders Used in the Past' to open template so they can quickly set it up with a few taps:



When a reminder goes off, SYNC will allow users to easily and quickly respond by calling the contact or writing an email to them:














CHALLENGE 2
How to help users take better notes to facilitate memorizing information about others?

1. Competitive Usability Tests
I asked my test participants to show me how they currently use their phone contact app. I observed that most of the test participants leave the 'Note' section blank.
When asked for reasons behind this, I learned even though they think some contacts are important and they would like to write notes to facilitate remembering them, they don't know how to have an effective way to memorize this information.



2. Literature Review
From research, I learned that
making associations between the new thing you are learning and something you already are familiar with will help you deepen your understanding of the new thing. If you start off with lots of connections to the new concept, you can form stronger memories, thus better remembering it.





SOLUTION TO CHALLENGE 2
Create an Idea feature to provide ideas on note-taking and facilitate memorizing people



IDEA feature
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After a user scans a business card, they can take some quick notes about the person for future reference. When they can’t think of they would like to input during the process, SYNC’s idea feature will give them inspiration.















CHALLENGE 3
How to enable users to quickly and easily exchange contacts with multiple people?

1. User Interviews
From user interviews, I learned that MBA students often have to attend events such as conferences or corporate presentations in which they meet groups of new people. In these scenario,
they need to be able to quickly exchange contacts with multiple people in a short period of time.


2. Competitive Analysis
I conducted a competitive analysis, comparing their key features and design to understand competitors' best practices and product requirements to add in SYNC.






SOLUTION TO CHALLENGE 3
Create a Radar feature to allow users to add multiple nearby people at once



RADAR feature
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Users can turn on Radar and search for people nearby who are also using SYNC. They can also send requests to exchange information just by clicking ‘Send’. When both ends have sent the request, contacts will be exchanged and show up in the app.

















KEY TAKEAWAYS

1. How to receive critiques and turn them to something positive
In this project, I shared my work with the design community to receive honest design critiques. I also touched base with my mentor to get feedback on my design. Through different iterations and analyses, I learned how to make decisions when in doubt and explain my designs to other people.

2. Inclusive design
I learned how to adjust color/luminosity/font size to make my designs meet the WCAG accessibility standards; I learned about how crucial accessibility is - the more inclusive the design is, the wider the audience we can reach, especially for a consumer-facing product.

3. Following industrial standard for UI pattern
I researched other successful products and followed material design guidelines to ensure that my design meets the industry standard.







NEXT STEPS

● To create engineer handoff documentation using Figma or Zeplin
● To continuously perform usability tests with users to collect feedback and modify the design accordingly; onitor key metrics like monthly active users, number of monthly new users, app store reviews etc.














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Device Mockup 1:

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Device Mockup 2:

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