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National Pool Tile

A mobile application to transform and augment the pool-buying experience for shoppers

May 27, 2019

PROJECT LENGTH:

5 Weeks

MY ROLE:

UX Designer and UX Researcher

PROJECT:

National Pool Tile (NPT) engaged the team at Fair Worlds to design and develop an interactive AR application for iPhone XR, iPhone 8s Plus, and iPad 2019. The app’s goal is to serve as a powerful tool for their customers to experience realistic pool tile and finishes visuals on their devices - accounting for variables such as pool clarity and color, pool dimensions in relation to their yards or houses, and the effects of nighttime and daytime lights.

PROBLEM:

When customers want to purchase tile and finishes for their pool, they must visit the closest retail location or rely on static images on NPT’s website and mobile app. These options limit their experience and denies them a complete visual scope of what their pool’s end result will look like.

At their stores, NPT displays pool tile and finish samples for clients to observe and touch. They do not, however, provide a sample pool for clients to place the tiles in. These showrooms are enclosed, resulting in blocked natural sunlight. This is problematic for clients that are designing outdoor pools. The current restrains on the pool design experience are very taxing and frustrating.

SOLUTION:  

Worked in collaboration with the project manager, engineers, and stakeholders to intercept and define the milestones and road-map for the MVP product launch. Conducted research, survey, and interviews  to determine and benchmark best design practices. Designed product features and functionality based on research and usability testing. Worked closely with the engineers on multiple iterations to test features and functionality to ensure minimal bugs and a good experience architecture.

RESULT:

MVP was successfully launched May 2019. The app is scheduled to be released to the Apple Store in September 2019.

“Josh has a been pleasure to work with - he’s highly collaborative and great at facilitating the UX process from research to design. He’s also got an excellent eye for graphic design and keeping up with design trends. He would be an excellent addition to any team who needs a strong communicator.” - Todd Little, Lead XR Prototype Developer

RESEARCH: Interviews, Observations, & Surveys

I was brought onto this project after the team at Fair Worlds had already submitted a statement of work (SOW) to the client National Pool Tile. This document highlighted the high-level product requirements and functionality.

I was tasked with conducting the user research and testing to translate those requirements into the application's user interface (UI).

On day one I wrote a design brief that highlighted the problems, outstanding design questions, deliverables, and scope of work.

To kick this project off we set up an interview with one of the stakeholders - a marketing executive with National Pool Tile. The goal of this interview was to define the business objectives, establish the target demographics, product milestones, and design direction. Initially I conducted research and designed a survey to send out their customers. However, due to timing restrains and other factors, we chose to conduct the stakeholder interview and combine our research with theirs to design the primary user persona. I presented my research along with a mood board and template board to the clients to visualize goals for the application.

My initial assumptions were falsified during my interview with the stakeholder. I originally concluded that the primary user persona would be male or female, retired, 60-70 years old with a comfortable savings or retirement account (pools start at $30,000). While their audience is expanding into my assumed demographic, currently the user persona that owns the largest market share is vastly different (see below).

This interview helped me to uncover and quantify the client's business objectives. For example, the benchmark for success of the initial app launch is 10,000 app downloads in the first 12 months.

ANALYSIS: Scenarios & User Flow

NPT has a pool tile, finish, and coping preview process on their website. One of their goals is to make that more streamlined. I used their data as well as my research to map out the user flow for their new application — reducing redundancies and complications of their existing process.

DESIGN: Wireframes & Prototypes

My research and insights helped me to make informed design decisions to mockup the low-fidelity wireframes as well as some light prototyping in Adobe XD. It was important to the client and the users that the application mirrored realistic imagery and stayed within their brand framework. The client responded well to full-bleed images and calls-to-action, so I kept that in mind during my initial mockups.

The app was designed for iPad and iPhone. With these considerations, I designed a slightly different layout for both. The screen width was too small to duplicated the screens for the iPhone X, so I designed the selection process in portrait mode, while allowing for a full screen option in landscape.

PRODUCTION: Visual Design, Development, Testing, and Asset Handoff

Once I nailed down the wireframes, I worked with the developers to mock up low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes in Adobe XD and Unity. I also documented the UI guidelines and designed a book for the developers and future updates. I worked with the developers on multiple iterations in an agile environment.

LAUNCH

At the end of my contract, the mobile app was almost finalized for the iPad. The MVP will be reviewed by the client on June 15, 2019.