A Sample project: Alternauta
As a psychology enthusiast, human behavior makes me curious. What is the motivation for action? What are the feelings involved? How is the environment affecting this behavior and why?
The project started as a way to share information with my female friends that are seeking advice, using something other than messages. I was looking to create a tool that will make the sharing of readings, videos, and advice among my friends, more efficient and rapid.
A tool that will separate those messages of advice from day to day conversation.
In that way, we can access and use the content when we want or need it, rather than go through our old conversation to find it. I started by using a heuristic approach, by trying to describe to myself what I needed to build.
Alternauta it’s a platform for women, made by women, regarding well-being and mental health.
Picking a name
Names set expectations. So it needs to be picked carefully.
I wanted the name to reflect the growth, learning, and versatility, but also the exploration and individualism of the journey.
To become different, without changing into something else.
A change in character in a significant way.
A sailor or an explorer. Normally we mostly connect it with astronauts and the exploration of new territories.
First, I defined the main problem I want to solve.
Help a fabulous girl to quickly find mental support and/or stress relief solutions, during her busy daily routine.
Then, wanting to better understand the needs of the potential users in this platform, I decided to conduct some research with some of my friends, and friends of friends, and have them answer some questions.
Is it a community? a social experience?
Would the user look for other user’s response?
Can the users connect with one another?
What kind of content would they like to find in such a platform?
What would they like to share?
When and for what reason would the user need this platform?
What would be an alternative solution for this situation?
In what way would the user seek a solution?
In order to prioritize the user needs, I created an empathy map, presenting the user actions, thoughts and feelings, and the pain/gain points, during the process of seeking help.
From the conclusions of this research, I was able to assemble my main guidelines for the structure.
No criticism zone
Alternauta a place that cares about self-esteem.
There will be no option to comment or like a post.
Finding a specific post, photo, text, or link, is much easier when categorizing and creating personal lists is possible.
The posts should be easy and fast to manage.
No admin review is necessary.
Anyone can write, anonymous posts are an option.
Entering social media, such as Facebook or Instagram, can be very distractive and time-consuming. Alternauta is a space dedicated to finding a good solution and do it quickly.
The application idea was to foster growth. Plants, rocks, and femininity became the source of inspiration for the guiding principles.
I created a mood board to better understand the feeling I was looking for.
For the color schemes, I used fresh and vivid colors, like the ones of blossoming in spring. I paired it with a dark purple for the text, so it will be strong but will also have some tenderness.
Purple is a feminine color but it also reflects power and royalty, which looked right for the app concept and guidelines.
Not only the colors but Typography plays a very important role in the process of characterizing the app.
For the main titles and body text, I chose to use Varela Rounded font, a rounded, minimal and clean font, that also appears as friendly and warm. As all sans serif fonts, it considers looking more modern.
For small details and notes, I chose to use Roboto. It is rounded and clean as Varela, but a bit more straightforward and geometric. It is approachable and friendly, but at the same time, it is not exactly casual.
Starting with the graphics, I prefer first to create hand made illustrations. Based on those illustrations I designed the screen graphics.
I had implemented the app concept in the illustrations and colors.
I started with creating my wireframes handmade, so I can define the right look and rhythm for the concept.
For the prototyping, I decided to use Figma, for its wide range of options, and also, it is a great tool to share a project and work as a team.
Later I designed the final look of the screens using Sketch.
I divided the screens into groups of main categories and created a different style for each one. The individual style of each group implies its use.
When the user first opens the app, screens of main categories will appear in a horizontal menu, to direct the user to the desired content.
Each category will lead to a library of its subject, from it the user can access the detailed posts.