iOS Today View Widget Concept

A large insurance company would like to to provide easy access to features deep within their mobile app to increase customer engagement.

Problem Definition

My goal was to research and ideate around iOS Today view widgets. A successful project would identify how to best approach this project from an interaction design and user experience standpoint.

Audience

My audience for the project was customers who have installed the client’s iOS mobile app and use it to pay bills or access any of the value-added features available within the app.

Team / Role

The team was composed of my team lead, a visual designer, the business stakeholders, and me. I performed a majority of the analysis and ideation work with guidance from my team lead and presented our findings to business stakeholders.

Constraints

The project’s undefined problem was the biggest hurdle here. Instead of understanding what problem the Today view widget would solve for customers, our team simply chose to add it as a feature.

Design Process

I began the project by breaking it into three phases: research, contextualization, and prototyping.


Research Phase

I researched by reading blog posts, articles, forums, and developer documentation related to Today view widgets and the Notification Center. I also reviewed existing Today view widgets and, while I was reading and experimenting with apps, I made note of various features. This allowed me to easily identify themes when communicating the value of and best approaches to a potential Today view widget.


Context Phase

When the project was initiated, iOS Today view widgets were a new addition to iOS. I provided an overview of the iOS 8 Notification Center to ensure all stakeholders had the same context. I also explained the different intents of Today view widgets and Notifications: Today view widgets are intended to empower users, whereas Notifications are intended to inform users. I included this analysis in the initial presentation, excerpts of which are below.

Next, I performed a competitive analysis of direct competitors in the marketplace to identify existing best practices and examples of poor implementations. As Today view widgets were very new, no competitors existed in the market. This provided us a competitive advantage if our speed-to-market was under six months and implementation met user needs.

Finally, I included a rundown of the intent of the main types of Today view Widgets: surfacing timely or contextual information from an app, or surfacing core app functions for quick access. I provided examples of each of these types of Today view widgets to serve as an anchor for the wireframe concepts I showed later.


Prototyping Phase

Before presenting the wireframe concepts to my business stakeholders, I listed ways that a Today view widget might not significantly improve overall customer experience and what additional behavioral and technical constraints might increase friction with the Today view widget. Next, I described how the functionality could work based on our understanding of the technology capabilities, existing app features, and Today view widget best practices.

After developing the concepts, my team lead and I discussed these options with the stakeholders, reviewed technology constraints, and noted opportunities and risks presented in these wireframes.

We regrouped and provided another round of wireframe revisions, this time putting the wireframes into InVision to demonstrate the interactions that the Today view widget would enable.

After further revisions based on new technology information and stakeholder feedback, I worked with a visual designer to create detailed comps which were presented to the stakeholders.

After a successful presentation to our business stakeholders, the development budget was reallocated and the project placed on hold.


Retrospective

The stakeholders felt this project was a success.

If I were to work on a project like this again, I would work to determine up front if the Today view widget is a valid user need for the app. I would also explore other ways of encouraging engagement with the app that might have more traction with a larger user base.


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