Working in the same setting can be tiring and people often crave a change of scenery to revitalize their productivity. PostUp’s current design provides a forum for remote and freelance workers to give and receive tips, resources, and advice regarding work. Recently, there has been a lot of discussion around finding public places to work from, but the criteria that constitutes a great place to be productive varies across users.
Postup does not own physical spaces or remote desks, they would like to devise a solution to make it easier and less time consuming for remote workers and freelancers to identify the best already existing public places to work from.
Adhering to the process of a modified Google Ventures Design Sprint, I was asked to help make the process of identifying good public places and coffee shops to work from more efficient.
Provide extensive filtering options to allows users to find places that fulfill all their preferences for an ideal work location.
Create an enjoyable and easy experience
Solution should be designed for a mobile app.
PostUp does not own physical spaces or desks, solution should make it easier for workers to identify the best already existing public places to work from.
PostUp will charge a monthly fee of $5.99 for unlimited access to the best locations to PostUp and get work done.
Enjoyable to interact with amenities filter
Clean, easy to navigate homepage
Interactive map with icons representative of workplace preference. Pop-up of information pertaining to each location appears when user clicks on pin.
I wish there was a way to know the seating options, ambience, noise levels, and wifi quality of a coffee shop without having to sift through people’s reviews. It would also be nice to know if outlets are available so I can determine if it’s even worth trying to get a full day’s work done there.”
Day 1 - Understand
Day 1 of the design sprint was focused on familiarizing myself with the challenge, reviewing and synthesizing the research, and devising possible solutions to the problem. As part of imagining possible solutions, I drew a map of a potential end-to-end user experience that I thought would best address the problem.
Review & Synthesize
Users were asked to “tell us about your experience finding a public place to do remote work from” and there were many commonalities in their responses, specifically related to the ambience, amenities, and food/beverage offerings of the workplace. The common thread among the users was the desire to shorten the amount of time spent looking for a place to work and having effective filtering options so that only locations that accommodate all their productivity needs are listed in the search results.
Common Criteria of What Constitutes a Good Public Workplace
Knowing what the location looks like prior to going
Past visitors’ ratings of whether or not the place offers an optimal focus environment — do other people go there to get work done? What’s the average noise level?
How Might We
Improve the efficiency of finding an ideal public workplace while on-the-go?
Make it easier to identify the amenities of the public workplace?
Structure key info related to each public workplace?
Mapping the Solution
Day 2 - Sketch
Day 2 of the design sprint was all about generating ideas for potential solutions to the problem at hand.
I completed a lightning demos exercise which essentially was a short research session on competitors. This consisted of me researching companies with similar solutions and evaluating the effectiveness of their various design choices, such as an interactive map, a checklist filter, user ratings, their color palette, CTAs, and the hierarchy of information. This process of reviewing existing solutions for inspiration and using the strengths and weaknesses of those designs was a big source of design inspiration and helped boost my creativity when designing solutions for PostUp.
As part of the brainstorming and ideation phase of the sprint, I roughly sketched multiple variations of the critical screens based on notes from user interviews and the identified challenge. This exercise helped me generate different concepts to potentially pursue.
I spent time reviewing my sketches from the Crazy 8s exercise and determining which ones I found to be the strongest, what design elements I could combine, and discarding screens I found to be too weak. I then took my best Crazy 8s screen and sketched out a solutions sketch. This was a three panel board of the critical screen along with the screen that comes before and after that screen.
Day 3 - Decide
Day 3 was dedicated to examining my solution sketches and building the critical interactions the user will need to have to find their ideal public place to work from. I selected the best solution to the problem and sketched the story the app should tell. Each screen included the UI elements needed and the storyboard served as a wireframe for the final prototype.
Since the main goal of the sprint was to make the process of finding public workplaces suitable for one’s needs more efficient, I sought to create sketches that accomplished that in a simple, clean interactive experience. I used my three-panel solution sketch as the foundation and tweaked some design elements to enhance the user experience.
Day 4 - Prototype
High Fidelity Wireframes
On day 4, I created a realistic high fidelity prototype of the critical screens. The goal of this prototype was to quickly design the essential screens users need to interact with in order to find their ideal workplace. I wanted to see how test participants react to the overall design and their thoughts on the functionality of the design.
Day 5 - Test
Day 5 of the design sprint was dedicated to getting feedback from users. I interviewed 5 participants about my prototype using the Five-Act-Interview technique included below:
Act 1: Friendly Welcome
Act 2: Context Questions
Act 3: Introduce the Prototype
Act 4: Tasks
Act 5: Quick Debrief
The participants either worked full time remotely or had a hybrid work schedule (a blend of in-office and remote work). They were asked to complete three tasks:
Search for coffee shops to work from
Filter locations based on amenities preferences
Get directions to the selected location
Overall, there was a positive response from participants and they were able to complete the given tasks seamlessly. The major hurdles in the prototype design was people’s disinterest and unwillingness to commit to a $5.99/month subscription fee for continued unlimited access. Additionally, a couple of users mentioned that the icons used for communal table and private seating were similar and that without reading the caption it’s easy to mistake one for another. Some users also interpreted “private seating” to be private rooms at public places. My intention with that wording was to describe seating that isn’t shared with other guests, but understand how it could be confusing. Lastly, one user mentioned that they like to see the overall live business of the location in addition to the general popular times.
Conclusion & Next Steps
During these five days of this modified Google Ventures Design Sprint, I learned the importance of having a strong understanding of the problem at hand, the need to identify user pain points early on, and how to quickly turn ideas for possible solutions into testable prototypes. This sprint helped me focus on making sure my design solved the problem rather than just being aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable to interact with.
Due to time constraints, I was unable to design frames for certain actions the user will take with the product - the sign up process, sharing a PostUp location with friends, and viewing the settings menu. Additionally, since my main goal was to quickly develop a solution prototype, the amount of time I spent conducting usability tests and refining my designs based on feedback was much less. As next steps, I plan on designing the remaining frames to create a more comprehensive prototype and conducting additional usability tests to determine any functionality issues.
I’m tired of spending lots of time browsing through pages of coffee shops trying to find the one that isn’t too crowded, has free wifi, and has tables. I somehow always end up choosing the one that offers the suboptimal productivity conditions.”
Get work done at your ideal location.
Solo UX/UI Designer
Google Design Sprint Course Project
5 days in July 2022
Competitive Research & Analysis, Sketching & Wireframing, Prototyping, Usability Testing
PostUp is a new startup that strives to help freelancers and remote workers find their ideal work location by offering a directory of public places and coffee shops that exist in whatever location they are.
The surge in remote work is here to stay as more companies are adopting work-from-home policies. Studies show that full-time remote workers are overall happier than employees who work on site, particularly due to a boost in productivity, less stress, and better work-life balance. As many workers embrace the flexibility of remote work, there’s a greater desire to identify a comfortable location to work from that is suitable to their productive needs.
Although resources exist to assist freelancers and remote workers to discover public workspaces near them, the limited filtering options result in location suggestions that don’t fully accommodate their needs. Too much time is spent reading through reviews to determine if certain amenities that are of importance to the user are provided at the locations.