Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Application Definition Statement

The Edgewater Hotel – Guest App

1. List All the Features You Think Users Might Like
·       Ability to check in/out to hotel via mobile device
·       Ability to make reservations at the Six Seven Restaurant
·       Order room service
·       Contact concierge desk
·       See nearby attractions
·       View maps/routes to nearby locations
·       View nearby shopping/dining
·       View hours of hotel amenities
·       Map of hotel
·       View menus for the Six Seven restaurant and bar
·       Ability to make reservations for future stays
·       Ability to view hotel packages and special pricing
·       Ability to pay bill at the end of stay
·       Ability to make reservations for future banquets/receptions

2. Determine Who Your Users Are
The users of this application would be people who are staying or who are considering staying at the Edgewater Hotel.

3. Filter the Feature List Through the Audience Definition
Main Features: Check In/Out, Utilize hotel amenities, See nearby attractions
Application Definition Statement: “Enhancing guests’ stay at the Edgewater and allowing them to enjoy every feature the hotel has to offer”.

4. Don’t Stop There
Use your application definition statement throughout the development process to determine the suitability of features, controls, and terminology.
Guests will want this app to help enhance their stay at the Edgewater. The Edgewater is a hotel that has earned many accolades, and this will help guests enjoy every feature that the hotel has to offer. Its design will be rich and luxurious, matching the look and feel of the Edgewater’s luxury-lodge feel. This app will help guests avoid long lines at guest services, and the hassle of calling the busy food services lines. This app will also allow guests to make the most out of their visit to Seattle, and will enable them to find their way to attractions, and then back to the hotel, with ease. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 8 Reading

This chapter was a great one to read this week as we start our phone app project (which I'm sure was your intention!). As a iPhone user, I have experience with both good and bad apps. And I also agreed with what the reading said about app design, especially the part about the app working with the OS to have the same motions and reactions that the OS users are used to. What I like about (most) apps that I get is that it is so obvious to me how to use them, because they all work basically the same, with the same motions that my iPhone uses. Also, because they all mostly follow these same rules, they are all similar in style and this makes it was easier to control the app.
I also liked the section about app icons and artwork. I think that this is a huge selling point when it comes to apps. I am definitely guilty of judging an app by its cover. I have generally noticed that apps with ugly or  generic icons are usually not very good apps, because the rest of the app is designed just as sloppily as the icon. Also I think that people generally like their apps to look really cool because they spent a lot of money to have their smart phone, and they want their apps to match the polished look of their phone.
Aside from looking nice, the app also has to function correctly. Nothing is more annoying than downloading an app (especially downloading a purchased app) that crashes or does not load correctly.

I wanted to share some apps that I think work really great, and are designed really nicely as well!
(I obviously couldn't link the app directly to this blog, so I found some screenshots to share so that you can see what they look like!

Of course, everything that Starbucks does is beautiful. But their app is very easy to use and the illustrative nature of the app totally matches the brand. I love this app and use it all the time!

I recently saw this redesign of LinkedIn's app on an online design blog. I love the fun, yet professional look of the app. Plus, it's super easy to use. 

This is a cool app that I recently discovered that allows you to turn the photos that you take with your phone into customized comic strips. You can take any photo, and add different comic book filters, paper options, color options, captions and more to your photo. This is a fun app that has a really awesome look and feel. Follows the comic book look all the way!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Week 6 Reading

I found this week's reading to be really interesting, and I have to admit, I have never really thought about web accessibility for people with disabilities. Now that I am thinking about it, it seems so obvious, of course people who are blind or have other disabilities would want to use the internet too, but I had never really thought about what we need to do as designers to make that experience more user friendly to those individuals. Also, I liked what the author said about making the web usable for not just people with disabilities, but also those who are not as web savvy as we are and may find something that we see as obvious to be very confusing. It makes sense to have a website design to have the ability to reach as many people as possible with its information, because the easier it is for one person to use it, the more people will ultimately become frequent users of the site.
Even for someone who is computer savvy, there are still sites out there that are confusing and makes the user unsure of what to do next. An example of this is when I went online to pay my garbage bill last week, using my local garbage company's brand new online bill pay for the first time. I chose to pay online to avoid the twenty minute drive to the office, or the usual ten or fifteen minutes I have to wait on hold on the phone until someone can take my call. When I got to the part where I actually pay my bill, I ran into a problem. I had my current bill and my due bill overlapping, making the payment double what I was due to pay this month. I selected to pay, and instead of taking me to a screen to ask how much I wanted to pay or letting me select an option, a pop up came up that only said "pay my bill" and a confirm button and a cancel button. I was unsure at this point what to do. Will pushing "confirm" bring me to the section I was looking for where I could select the amount I wanted to pay, or would it charge the amount for both months on the checking account I had already entered? I didn't want to pay double, and I didn't like the risk, so I ended up canceling and calling to pay my bill, which resulted in me waiting the usual 10 minutes and wasting all the time I had spent setting up my account online.
This really taught me a lesson about web usability and the necessity of thinking every step through and making it obvious to your customer about what actions they should take next, and that no matter how web savvy someone may be, if something is confusing, they will be just as lost as everyone else.

This week, I found some sites that had good usability that I think would work for everyone (or at least most!).

Verizon Wireless
I like this website because, as one of their customers, I have always found that they have the best and easiest online bill pay that I have ever used. I have never had a problem navigating through this site, and the fact that my Grandma pays her phone bill online through Verizon shows a lot about this site's usability.

Besides being one of my favorite sites to "window shop", Etsy has a great and simple usability that I think would allow anyone to use and purchase items with little issue. When completing a check out process, Etsy shows you up front before you enter any information, to see the price of an item including it's shipping (unlike a lot of other sites) and that way there are no surprises once it is too late to go back without canceling your entire order.

Ok, so it definitely isn't the most beautiful site on the internet, but Craigslist has proven through all of its users that it is a site that is simple and easy to navigate. It is easy to find things and inquire about them through the seller, and it is simple to sell things as well.