Lessons that will go a long way
In the development of the application, there were many things we could have done differently. But there 3 important lessons that I learnt, could make or break a product:
01. Start testing as early as possible (even during brainstorming or with paper prototypes)
This lesson held so dear to me that I went on to take a master’s degree to be specialized in it 😂 Have an early focus on your users and tasks. Fully engage with your users, such as engaging them in a design workshop, co-designing or participatory design. Until you have truly engaged and directly talked to your users, you don’t really know what they want or like. If we had talked to our users alot earlier, we might have rethink about our approach to gamify and to have food discovery as a core component of the app. We would have saved alot of time and resources.
02. Less is more
We started with a simple goal of gamifying (healthy) food discovery, but as more users reacted to the game-y elements, we wanted to add in more features. Soon, our definition of alpha version became larger and larger – complicating the mobile app with unnecessary hurdles. Keep the product simple, direct and really-good-at-what-it-does, before thinking about other features/things.
03. Find a good balance between familiarity & novelty
Users are comfortable with what is familiar. Our main button that shouts ‘Nom’, although stands out, does not really calls users to search for food around their vicinity, especially in a game-y interface. The food discovery elements of the application was displayed in an unfamiliar setting and it took some time for users to understand its function. Although the app tried to look fun and novel, it should look familiar especially for important CTAs.