AncesTrip is a mash-up of two popular apps, designed to encourage a connection to one's family history.
Combine two existing apps to create an experience that promotes a new behavior.
Adobe XD, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Audition
Sketching, wireframing, UI design, prototyping, video editing, secondary research, personas, FTUE design, microinteractions
Behavior, Michael Chanover
7 weeks, Fall 2020
A video demonstration of the main AncesTrip features.
A video demonstration of the AncesTrip first time user experience.
The project brief gave me a lot of leeway to choose my direction for this project. Having done a similar project in a previous course, it took a bit of thinking to find the right two apps to mash up in this project.
I started by thinking about what behavior I would want to encourage, and I looked through my phone to take inspiration from the apps that I use. I thought up a few different options and shared them in class.
App mash-up concepts.
I ultimately decided to pursue the Ancestry and Roadtrippers combination.
Ancestry is an app that allows you to build your family tree and access a database of people and documents to discover your family history. My point of view was that Ancestry lets you learn and understand your family history, but what's next? What if you could experience it?
That's where Roadtrippers comes in. This is an app that lets you build a customized road trip plan throughout the US, using a huge database of all kinds of stops and attractions to visit along the way.
Final Ancestry + Roadtrippers mash-up.
HMW . . . ?
Now that my apps were decided on, it was time to start designing the experience. I used a "How Might We" question to guide me.
How might we create an understanding of and appreciation for one's family history?
I conducted secondary research to understand the target audience for this app: people who are interested in genealogy. Here's what I learned:
1. As of 2019, over 25 million people have taken an at-home ancestry test.
2. Family history research is the 2nd most popular hobby in the U.S.
3. Over 90 million family trees have been created using Ancestry.com.
4. There are generally 3 groups of people in genealogy:
1) interested only in some specific ancestors,
2) keeps a copy of a family tree, but doesn’t do any research, and
3) researches and adds to family tree consistently.
This affirmed to me that there was, in fact, an audience for a product like this – a rather large one, in fact. I'd been concerned that this topic might be too niche, but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to find realistic users to interview.
I interviewed 3 people who had varying levels of interest in genealogy. All of them had taken 1 or more home DNA tests. Their motivations were: to find DNA relatives (e.g. biological father), learn about health risks, to learn about ancestry, and simply out of general curiosity.
Insights from my research enabled me to create 3 personas, 1 representing each type of user that my research had identified.
Provisional personas for 3 distinct types of users.
The next step was to determine how to combine the apps. I thought about which existing features might fit together harmoniously, which interface design would best accommodate new features, and how I might be able to leverage functions of both apps to satisfy my goal. I chose to use Roadtrippers' design primarily, and incorporate aspects of Ancestry's when needed.
Sketches for 3 features: trip builder, pre-made trips, and check-ins.
Working in Adobe XD, I took screenshots of my mash-up apps and used them as a guide for my wireframes. I used Roadtrippers as a base, but modified the color scheme and language of icons to suit my needs. Using the existing format for the map and itinerary view, I integrated Ancestry's design into other parts of the AncesTrip app, most notably in the timeline feature.
App wireframes based on existing app designs.
The Final Deliverable
After getting feedback from my classmates and professor on the wireframes, I made some adjustments and brought the screens to a higher fidelity. I also had to design microinteractions to make the prototype interactive. Below are a selection of screens that showcase the main features of AncesTrip.
Final UI design: (1) trip builder feature, (2) family timeline and check-in feature, (3) pre-made trip feature.
First Time User Experience
A GOOD FTUE
The follow-up to this mash-up project was to design the first-time user experience for the app. This was my first foray into this kind of design, so we kicked it off with a group brainstorm about what a good FTUE ought to address.
Group brainstorming activity.
I went back to working solo with new ideas as to what features my FTUE needed to have to be successful. I started sketching out designs for a set of features:
1. Screens that provide an overview of the app's features. These will show the user the value that AncesTrip can offer them, and they will see that they can use AncesTrip to accomplish their goals.
2. Creating an account and connecting to your Ancestry.com account. This allows the user to quickly transfer all of their relevant information into AncesTrip.
3. Enabling location sharing permissions. Privacy is a huge issue to me, and I want my designs to respect it. This feature builds trust with the user by requesting permission and explaining why location details are needed.
4. A guided walkthrough. This helps familiarize users with the app and it's features.
FTUE concept sketches.
FEEDBACK AND TESTING
I reached out to both my classmates and potential users for feedback on my early sketches. I wanted to know if the features I had sketched out and listed seemed adequate. I was also concerned about my FTUE being too boring or unoriginal.
With new ideas in mind thanks to the peer feedback I received, I was able to move on to creating screens for my FTUE. One thing I kept in mind was keeping thee visual style consistent with the mash-up app. Since a lot of the design of the AncesTrip app was based on an existing app, I wanted to try to emulate that style in the design of the FTUE so the experience didn't feel disjointed.