Charge - Mobile App
Hobby Battery Charging
*Name, branding, and identifying characteristics are removed for NDA purposes
Charge is an iOS and Android app that allows users to interface with their hobby grade battery charger, making the battery charging process easier and safer by helping reduce user error (and therefore company risk/ liability).
The current charging experience requires users to navigate complex menu systems using poorly labeled buttons on a tiny LCD screen. It's a process that can't afford error as charging hobby grade batteries can be dangerous, even for the experienced user.
I was fortunate to work side-by-side with my developer teammate Steve Z. throughout all phases of the project, including the discovery phase. Having him engaged from the start allowed us to step out of our titles/silos and approach the work as just a dynamic duo trying to identify and solve problems. This early team involvement was beneficial beyond the obvious of just having another person there to bounce ideas off. It also proved useful for things like organic discussions of technology constraints, or both of us hearing first hand from our user interviews.
Interviews and Early Physical Product Usability Testing
Myself and my developer on the team wanted to get our own take on our user groups and conducted further in-person interviews and emailed questionnaires to get a sense of our user’s habits and knowledge level of charging batteries and safety precautions.
Very early on we ran basic usability testing on the actual physical setup and charging of a battery directly out of box. Users struggled to connect the proper cables and had difficulty navigating the complex menu systems and poorly labeled buttons on the small LCD. This simple exercise, along with researching on hobby forums and reviewing competitor product interactions and reviews on youtube gave us further insight into the user’s mental model and pain points.
Other Research Methods To Gain Insight
Combining our own user research with existing research provided by the client's marketing department gave us enough data to introduce the targeted user personas of "Racers" and "Weekenders."
Charging hobby grade batteries can be very dangerous. Factors such as accidentally entering the wrong charge setting, incorrectly wiring connections, misinformation on overcharging for better battery performance, or simply leaving the battery unattended while charging can lead to house fires and therefore company liability. It is a user experience that lacks guidance or any assuring feedback. We aimed to build ideas into the app attempting to reduce user errors which in-turn would reduce the liability claims the company receives.
User Flow Chart
Creating user flow charts helped to illustrate and frame the basic user paths the app should support. The chart was used to confirm intentions with the client, referenced to build the MVP, and helped our team keep the bigger picture in mind.