Case Study ExpatBuddy
ExpatBuddy is a web app designed to help expats and migrants adjust to their new home by offering useful tools and professional expert advice.
What if there was an app for expats?
Good user experience design starts with a good idea but after that it’s an iterative process requiring collaboration between multiple teams and end users. Designing a solution without research, analysis and testing doesn’t work, because it is hard to know enough about the problem without asking the potential end-user or knowing the competition:
Competitive analysis, research & business requirement
User personas, user journey, information architecture
Wireframing, prototyping, and testing, testing, testing
Tone of voice, design language, handover assets
Surveys & User Interviews
Through a filter survey I identified users between 25-35 with different cultural backgrounds who had lived at least one year abroad. With surprising results:
A competitive analysis revealed: many tools expats use, such as facebook groups, WhatsApp groups and websites such as expat.com, tealit.com, forumosa.com, gokunming.com, lack important aspects:
Lack Of Moderator
No Quality Controls
No Trust In Experts
The actual needs and painpoints of expats
Research uncovered, however, that expats have very specific needs that have not yet been met by an app or online tool in a comprehensive way: How do I find lawyers, tax accountants or doctors nearby, who speak English? Where do I find other expats in my city who can help me with problems? Why is there no platform which offers entertaining tutorials specifically for expats?
Users are looking for likeminded expat-buddies nearby, i.e. location based communities
They are also looking for tutorials, how-to’s, and entertaining explainers specifically for expats
They are ready to pay for advice and services when the experts are part of a trusted community
„I don’t mind paying for expert advice, but is has to be excellent and trustworthy“
Feedback from users was aggregated to user personas.
How do people actually use the product? This is a fundamental question. User journey mapping is an excellent exercise that can shed light on that. In this case: booking and expert, for example a translator. Or finding information (i.e. a tutorial) on how to register a car at the DMV.
As there is no comparable app that could have inspired the design, page types and user flows were mapped to get a better understanding of how to combine aspects, such as community, expert listings, tutorials and forums.
Wireframes & Prototypes
To determine the main functionality of the app, iterative testing produced improved wireframes and prototypes.
The objective of the usability testing was to determine if participants understand what the app is about (i.e., an application for finding local community support and expert advice) and the value it provides. Specifically, users were asked to navigate the prototypes and perform specific tasks, such as finding and booking an expert.
Look & Feel
Colors should convey an editorial and businessy look and feel and inspire trust: variations of blue, turquoise, purple and grey (aside from the usual black and white). The brand values adventure, discovery and friendship should be expressed through imagery that conveys the ambiance of “digital nomads” and use people interacting in natural way.
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