HomeHub

A household management tool
VIEW PROTOTYPE

Project

Role: UX researcher, end-to-end UX designer

Timeline: five weeks

Process: goal determination, user research, affinity mapping, secondary research, persona creation, journey mapping, POVs & HMWs, card sorting, site map creation, task flows, userflows, branding and style guide, wireframing, UI kit creation, mockups, prototyping, testing, result mapping

Target Demographic: couples who are living together, with or without children, looking for an equitable way to manage their household

Tools: Figma

Goals

• We want to know what partnerships are lacking in the division of household labor. We want to know their current struggles with dividing household and invisible labor between the partnerships.

• Determine frustrations potential users experience on when dividing household and invisible labor tasks between a partnership

Investigate the current distribution of household and invisible labor tasks among potential users

• Explore the objectives of potential users when it comes to dividing household and invisible labor tasks

• Identify the aspects that potential users would derive the greatest benefits from in establishing a fairer system for dividing household and invisible labor tasks

Pain Points

• Potential users might already have a system that works well for them

• Potential users might be interested in a new system, but one that they can physically see, manipulate, and write on as opposed to a technical system

• Many places and subcultures encourage household and invisible labor tasks to be completed by women and people could be influenced more by their culture than by a new system.

• Potential users could be resistant to change.

• Potential users might question why or how his new app works and whether or not it is a long-term solution. Many may have tried something new in the past, only to find that a new system only works for a brief period of time.

STEP ONE - RESEARCH

Interviews

Demographics of Interviewees:
• People between the ages of 28 and 35 who are either married or in a partnership in which they live with their partner

• People who either do or do not have children but who split household, childcare (if applicable), and invisible labor tasks between themselves
Research Findings:
Among Home Hub's target demographic, individuals and couple would divide their household labor into four main categories: 

1.  cooking, cleaning, and laundry
2.  childcare
3.  planning, events, and appointments
4.  miscellaneous

Difficulty arose in many of these relationships when it came time to divide these tasks between partners. In heterosexual relationships, women were taking on a significantly more of the household and invisible labor than men, regardless of category or chore type. This has resulted in a lack of equal partnership in many relationships, often leading to disagreements and frustrations. The women I spoke to were interested in ways to more equitably share the work while men were often surprised when thinking about how much more their partner does for the household than what they do.

Additional Findings:
• Many users have tried various systems previously, but as lifestyles and circumstances have changed, so has the division of labor

• Regardless of gender, each person interviewed said that the female partner completed a majority of the household and invisible labor

• Users want to see something easy that they can stick to without much effort being required

• Users need some sort of buy in to encourage both partners in the relationship to divide their unique household responsibilities

Secondary Research

Companies compared: 
• Sweepy

• Sortifyd
• Privilege Points

• Our Home
Takeaways:
• Each app has features that would work well for families with children. However, we are focused on creating an app specifically for couples.

• Many of the competitors rely on a gamification feature. While fun, it is not currently a priority for Home Hub.

Idea Exploration

After completing the initial research, I wanted to come up with lists of ideas, both good and horrible, for Home Hub. I wanted to see in front of me some ideas that would really make Home Hub flourish as an up-and-coming mobile application while also getting an idea of what would be terrible to include in the app. I completed the two exercises shown below - Analogous Inspiration - in which I looked at competitor applications from the secondary research as a more in-depth competitor analysis. The Playing with Opposites exercise was done to view some outrageous ideas - both positive and negative - that could make or break the application.

STEP TWO - THE USER

Personas

Alice, Mary, and Chris are looking to improve their household and invisible labor responsibilities with their partners. The way their households are currently run is unsustainable and they need more organization and collaboration. All three are in heterosexual partnerships in which the female partner has most of the invisible labor responsibility. They would each like to see that change by creating a system that allows for each individual in their partnerships to see their responsibilities and know what the expectations are.

POVs

• Alice emphasizes the importance of customization and flexibility. She wants a tool that can adapt to the unique needs and dynamics of her household, accommodating varying schedules, priorities, and preferences.

• Alice is looking for a system that not only divides invisible labor tasks but also fosters open communication between her and her partner. She values a platform that facilitates ongoing discussions, enables negotiation of tasks, and promotes collaboration.

• As Alice seeks to address the issue of invisible labor, she is looking for features that promote transparency and accountability. She desires a tool that will allow her and her partner to clearly track, assign, and complete tasks, ensuring equitable distribution of household responsibilities.

HMWs

• How might we provide Alice a unique way to solve and adapt the problems and needs of her household while being aware of the schedules, priorities, and preferences that play into it?

• How might we provide a system that divides the various invisible labor tasks found to run a household to partnerships looking to divide the tasks?

• How might we create a system for Alice and her partner to view, track, assign, and check the various invisible labor tasks unique to their household in an equal way?

Card Sorting

To complete the necessary card sorting for Home Hub, I surveyed six individuals from my target demographic. There was consistency with the following topics: reminders, to do, due dates, account management, notes, assignments, categories, filter tasks, search, add a task, add a category, tasks, categories, and details all split between the profile and task management categories.

Each participant included task sharing under the collaboration category, while feedback, logout, personalized settings, app tutorial, create account, support, notifications, privacy/security, and sign in were all categorized under settings.

App Map

The app map for Home Hub follows the card sorting results seen above. Small edits were made throughout the wireframe iteration process including removing a tasks page and an assignments page, for example, due to recognizing the repetition of each page.

Task Flows

Following the creation of the sitemap, I created multiple task flows to show how a task would be completed within the Home Hub application. A user would follow the flow below to add a task to a category in their personalized Home Hub application.

User Flows

The following user flow was created for Home Hub application following a flow of how a user would mark a task as completed. The user flow follows the app map above and the user's journey from the homepage through completion.

STEP THREE - BRANDING

Color Palette

When creating the Home Hub color palette, I wanted the primary color to remind users of cleanliness and organization. I chose the light blue to the right as my primary clean color with my secondary colors being green and dark blue. The beige color is used as an accent throughout.

Typography

For the Home Hub design, I knew I wanted my primary typography to be a simple, sans serif font which is why I went with Lato. For the secondary font, I went with a classic, serif font - Merriweather. 

Logo & Branding

The Home Hub logo was fun to create! I wanted to use blue again - to indicate cleanliness and organization as mentioned above, but in a sophisticated way. The sleek lines remind users of a hub, while the shapes put together look like a modern home.

STEP FOUR - DESIGNING

Wireframes

• Using research results and personas, I designed lo-fi wireframes in Figma

• I iterated on my lo-fi wireframes, created mid-fi wireframes, and presented them for feedback and suggestions for improvement

•  With the mid-fidelity wireframes well-refined and approved, I moved on to creating high-fidelity wireframes. This stage involved adding visual elements such as colors, typography, imagery, and more refined interactions, bringing the design close to the final product's appearance and functionality.
The iterations from low-fidelity to mid-fidelity wireframes was a fun task to complete. I looked at multiple mobile applications from varying industries as resources to reference for the project. Some of the mobile applications referenced include Mint by Intuit, Google applications, Delta Airlines, and Notion.

Between iterations, I presented my work for feedback. I received suggestions that I was able to implement between wireframes including basic UI suggestions such as spacing, sizing, shapes, colors, and icon recommendations. I took those recommendations and improved my designs in the mid-fidelity wireframes.

STEP FIVE - TESTING

Prototyping

Prototyping for this project took a considerable amount of attention to detail as I followed the app map throughout to establish a complete and professional prototype. 
 
I presented it the prototype for feedback, making small iterations based on suggestions, before connecting with users for the testing phase.

Testing

• Home Hub was tested by six individuals who match the personas above - they are all between the ages of 28 and 35, living with a partner, seeking to improve the division of labor in their households.
 
• Three mentioned that the original menu in my wireframes was larger than necessary. They pointed out that the home and profile pages had very similar actions, buttons, etc. and that they didn't know whether to select home or profile when completing the testing. I removed the profile portion, moved a few of the profile actions to the home page, and rearranged the menu for a more sleek interface.

• Some of the UI functionality of the prototype was not working during the initial testing. I made adjustments before continuing to ensure a successful test going forward.

• Additional feedback included: 
      • because adding a tasks and categories were similar, users appreciated the familiarity
      • finding the to do list was the easiest task for users to complete

• The feedback provided me with the opportunity to iterate and improve the product for the final mockup. 

STEP SIX - CONCLUSION

Home Hub was a fun project to complete as it combines various passions of mine - organization and ensuring equality in the home. However, it wasn't without challenge that I completed this project.

I was able to present this work for feedback on multiple occasions, working with individuals on what was absolutely necessary for the initial launch of the product, mapping out other nice to have features that could be added later. Upon these presentations, I learned that I was getting much too ahead of myself. Rather than focusing on the MVP, I was focusing on hours worth of work and iterations that were unnecessary for the MVP. Based on the feedback I received, I narrowed down the features that were crucial to the initial success of the mobile application and moved forward with those designs.

Results from my initial research combined with results from final testing proved surprising. Users want a product that sticks - they need a system that they can use long term, not something that they try out for a week or two before realizing it doesn't fit for their lifestyles. They need something simple, intuitive, and that provides buy in. 

I was able to deliver just that with Home Hub. Many competing applications as seen in the secondary research above offer either too many features or don't offer the unique collaboration feature Home Hub provides. The collaboration aspect is crucial for user buy in. As seen in the research and among the personas for this project as well as statistically speaking, a majority of the household and invisible labor tasks are completed by women. For heterosexual couples who live together, collaborating with one another is just one step in eliminating the mental and invisible load women carry.
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