James Ferguson

iOS App

The brief

It’s not every day that a client walks through the door with an idea and says “I have a name, I have a general concept, but other than that what can we do together to create something that people want to use and will have fun doing so?” So with carte blanche, or Cate Blanchett as said by Channing Tatum, the work began.

Empathise

So with a name “MoodChat” and a general concept of “flirty dating” to go on, the fun began. Having to explain to my wife why I needed Tinder, Badoo, Bumble and a whole host of other dating apps (Grinder) on my phone, wasn’t the easiest of conversations, but no stone, or cheesy chat up line was left unturned. The market was analysed in depth and together with the client, I was able to accurately plot where MoodChimp would sit against the competitors which in turn created some important USPs.

Define

Now that we knew where the app would sit in the market, a detailed set of MVP features were confirmed and fleshed out. MoodChat was taking shape. This understanding also allowed for the creation of personas. Again, the amount of research undertaken forced some interesting conversations with the missus, but knowing the user is the key to success, meant all was forgiven. Using the keywords that were selected to described the brand in a card sorting exercise with the client of cheeky, current, daring, playful, progressive and trusted a full brand was developed. Colours, fonts, logos, custom monkey emojis and finally an updated (and available) name, together with a long term strategy for social media was crafted.

Ideate

Probably the most fun part of the project – taking what we knew, or more accurately, what we thought we knew, and bringing it to life. I started with sitemaps, user flows and wireframes. This gave the client a very rough idea of what was to come. A “proof of concept” if you will. This stage cause numerous debates with some feature sets, for example, adopting a “snapchat” navigation style. But, concepts and ideas are just that until I was able to gather some data form user testing.

Prototype

I turned the wireframes into high-fidelity prototypes. More than one concept was user tested on more than one occasion, each time iterations, amendments and improvements got me closer to delivering a solid and robust final prototype to the client. Based on these tests (9 tests on each prototype for a total of 90 users, over 3 weeks!) and backed up by some sound research, my “snapchat” navigation was agreed and the app was ready for production.

Test

Due to a large feature set that took the app way past MVP level, development time was longer than planned. But this extra time allowed me to create some interesting launch assets for MoodChimp. A roadshow was taking place with a fully branded Gazebo, life-size pink MoodChimp costume and shots, shots, shots to compliment a social media “instagram board” campaign.

What I learned

Getting an idea from the whiteboard to the app store and more importantly, making a success of it, is tough! It takes dedication and passion. It takes focus and determination. Ultimately it takes complete belief in what you are doing. The guys at MoodChimp have all of these things in abundance, and they were always very receptive to the work I produced for them. Going through the proper steps, justifying decisions, backing up choices and allowing data and testing to drive design decisions were all key in building a strong, open and collaborative client relationship.