© 2019 Emma Driml

sticky calendar

project summary

My first project was done while undertaking a user experience course with General Assembly. Sticky Calendar is a cute calendar that is tailored towards social and personal events. It's mission is to make personal event organisation easier and more fun.

 

Sticky Calendar:

  • uses images which are better at serving reminders than text

  • simplifies the process of adding events by omitting unnecessary features, and remembering user defaults saved to each sticker

  • can import select birthdays and events from Facebook - and lets users easily set up their own custom notifications - (no more barrage of everyone's birthday notifications!)

part one: the problem

 

The problem I started with was remembering birthdays. Personally, I find it easier to lose track of time and forget to order a present early enough for a friend's birthday than remember a work event or doctor's appointment. I felt that there was room for improvement in the current applications people may utilise for keeping track of birthdays. For example...

Google Calendar

Pros: sleek, multi-platform, and can be used for a lot of collaborative projects thanks to its ability to share calendars.

Cons: The 'add event' feature has over 15 options - so for a user wanting to quickly add a birthday it’s a little overkill .The aesthetic basic and business-like, which may not make it appealing to use for personal events.

Facebook

Pros: it has a lot of birthdays stored, saved publicly, and sends users reminders.

Cons: it only reminds users the day of if they log into Facebook or have email/push notifications set up. There is no way of choosing which friends user's receive the notification for,. Not everyone uses Facebook regularly, or is on it at all.

Physical Calendar

Pros: Users have full control over a physical calendar - they can sprawl in an event quickly, or make it an enjoyable experience by adding a sticker, doodling, or using different markers - which could be suited to fun/personal events.

 

Cons: Lacks all the advantages like notifications and the accessibility that digital products can bring.

part two: user research

 

The main goal of my research at the time was to understand what methods people were using to keep on top of birthdays and other events and what problems they were experiencing. My first observation was that very quickly I found it limiting to talk to users in terms of birthdays. There are many other present-giving occasions and social/personal events which suffer similar issues, and users may choose to group together.

Users did generally rely on Facebook and their own memory rather than calendars for social events - which, as suspected, had on occasion fallen short. The issues users were facing can be broadly grouped into three categories: prioritisation, accessibility, and notifications.

Prioritisation

Prioritisation played a big role in terms of whose birthday it was important to remember, and how busy their life was.

Possible solution:

Needs to be, easy to set up and can be forgotten about until reminded at the right time.

Accessibility

Users generally preferred organisation methods that were more accessible to them, often forgetting to look at the wall calendar.

Possible solution:

For most people, a native phone application with push notifications is the most accessible option.

Notifications

Users were frustrated with the amount of notifications received, particularly from Facebook. This led users to ignore them.

Possible solution:

Make it easy to set up custom notifications easy, tailored to a user's needs.

part three: personas and features

 

From the user research I created two personas - Amy and Sam, and developed features that would most suit their needs.

“I wish there was a digital calendar that were as cute as the ones I have in real life. But If it’s not on me, I won’t see it.” Amy C.

Amy is the primary user for this app. She likes Cute and fun organisation methods like coloured pens and nice diaries. But having a cute, fun and simple calendar that is also digital is lacking in her life.

“It’s so hard to keep track of all the Facebook notifications, I’m just not on it that much!” Sam E.

Sam is the secondary user. He’s always forgetting birthdays and Facebook events because he doesn’t prioritise using it and there are just way too many notifications. Using Sticky Calendar helps him offload that - all he had to do was set it up, and he is reminded in plenty of time.

The first defining feature is to import data from Facebook. To make it as easy as possible for Amy and Sam to get started - they can sign in with Facebook and set up their choice of birthday and event reminders with ease.

The second defining feature is the ability to place stickers on the calendar. Initially it came about as it was something I wanted to do personally, as images are easily readable and do a better at job jogging memory than text as shown by a large body of psychological evidence. But at this point in development I also realised that the stickers could serve a further purpose by making the entire app more seamless as a means to set up custom notifications, that users will have a lot of control over. The idea is that users can save default settings to each sticker, so when they make a similar event it is much quicker to set up.

 

For example, imagine a user who wants to add the birthdays of some family and friends while imputing the same information over and over again as little as possible. Sticky Calendar saves a lot of time and effort when compared with google calendar.

sticky calendar

google calendar

part four: devoloping

 

The following images are some of my initial sketches to express my ideas, which later evolved into a wireframe prototype. I conducted a card sort to help me with the menu structure, however this changed after a user test where I realised that I had still included excess features that were confusing users. Namely, I had kept the ability to support multiple calendars for the sake of compatibility with other calendar applications. However it didn't seem important to the user's needs and this feature felt like it was redundant with the addition of stickers - which is in itself a way of sorting events into categories.

I also wanted the event screens to be easily readable in their entirety - so that instead of scrolling down a list of options within the event it was all on one page with bold, obvious, symbols denoting the event settings (time, notifications, repeat). I also figured the it was appropriate to have different calendar displays for these type of events, the iconic calendar view (so user's can see the month at a glance) and an upcoming event view (to show a summary of all events regardless of how far away they are in time).

part five: 'final' version

 

Following the realisation the app didn't need separate calendars, the menu became a lot smaller so it no longer made sense to have a big hamburger menu for so few pages. Instead, I redesigned it to rely on a bottom menu - with the calendar, upcoming events, and stickers down the bottom, and settings and account in the top right corner. This simplifies the app a lot and seemingly helps to prioritise the important features.

If this project were to be taken further, future user testing needs to be done to see if these later changes translate into an easier experience. I also feel like there is a lot left to still explore. For example, I would also like to experiment with a "highlight" feature for multiple-day events, and a lot more interesting and fun stickers to reflect a variety of events. There is also a lot of work to be  done on the monetisation aspect of this app, which is the ability to purchase or watch ads for new stickers.

As it is, this project set out what it was meant to do, make personal event organisation easier and more fun.