Case Study 1 — Integrating a New Feature in Zoom

Abbe Fortune
6 min readSep 20, 2020

For the first project of the General Assembly UX Design Immersive course I worked to integrate a new feature within an existing mobile application that would assist with remote communication.

Opportunity

Our brief for this project was to design and integrate a new feature within an existing mobile application that would assist with remote communication. This would include:

  • Conducting Interviews with Users
  • Creating a feature informed by our research
  • Conduct usability testing with low-fidelity and mid-fidelity prototypes

For this tasks, our team specifically focused on digital social events, which have increased significantly in the year of 2020 due to Covid-19.

The Problem Space

First, we began looking at this problem space and began developing assumptions about the user and their experience.

  • Workers will want a way to incorporate chat room and video conferencing rather than hopping between platforms
  • Workers will want the ability to play music during virtual social events
  • Workers will want the ability to engage in “break room” video chats throughout the work day
  • Workers will want more extensive ways to interact with their colleagues over video chat, such as games

From there, our team drafted a hypothesis and problem statement, to get a better idea of what some of our users pain points may currently be while attempting to communicating remotely.

Hypothesis

Workers need a single platform that incorporates preexisting group chats with video conferencing with features that create an exciting and engaging experience with colleagues and peers.

Problem Statement

How might we provide remote workers with the ability to connect with their peers seamlessly through group chat and video conferencing, while providing features that are engaging and impactful for the user?

Research

Once we were able to establish a loose framework of our user, we began conducting interviewers to learn about their previous experience with digital social events in relation to work, school, and interpersonal. During this process, we really developed a better understanding about our user and the current social events they were engaging or not engaging with. For example when users describe their most positive experiences during events, they almost always centered around activities or games. One of our users recalled an event where-

During the event she led us through the scavenger hunt in a really easy way so we all felt like we were included and were interacting with one another.

In addition to creating new ways to interact, another user reflected on a feature he and his friends have attempted to integrate music into zoom calls-

Discord is cool because you can throw in a little music bot to play music which zoom can’t do and neither can slack or Google meets. So depending on the vibe of your meeting with people that might be cool to have some music playing in the background.

From those interviews, we proceeded to collect data via a methodology called Affinity Mapping, as you can see below:

`As you can see some natural themes emerged, such as wanting more entertainment features, more extensive features to interact with their peers, and that the events they intend to be better organized and intentional by the host.

With a foundation of user knowledge beginning to form, our team created a persona of our user that would allow us to keep our user at the forefront of our minds for the duration of the project. Meet Renee- a 27 year old Operation’s Analyst in New York City. With a very demanding work schedule, Renee has always prided herself on an amazing work/life balance, but during quarantine no matter how many online events and happy hours she attends she finds herself unfulfilled and overworked. With this persona in mind, Renee’s goals, frustrations, and needs, we can begin to design and integrate a new feature into Zoom that will fulfill her needs.

Secondly, prior to the Design portion of our task, we were able to reevaluate our initial problem statement, and revise given the information we’ve currently collected.

How might we provide users with the ability to connect with their peers through an extensive array of in-depth entertainment features?

Design & Testing

From the themes that emerged through the affinity mapping process, we were able to gain key insights into our users and how they interact with Zoom. As we approached the design & testing phase of our task, we began brainstorming various features in order to fulfill our user’s needs.

Insights & Features

With this in mind, we began designing an “Entertainment” feature set that would provide users with the ability to play games, and stream music during calls. Next, we began drafting quick sketches to get an idea of how we could successfully integrate this set. During this process, we decided to keep the zoom landing page as is, and integrate the feature set outside of the home tab, and in the “more” section. This would allow us to continue building off our current framework and hopefully not disturb our users current way of navigating through the app.

Once we decided on our approach, we drafted a low-fidelity app and began usability testing with 5 users. During this process, we created two scenarios and talks, and had the users run through the prototype and explain their thought process while navigating.

Photos of the low-fidelity prototype

Immediately we received an exuberant amount of feedback, most of which was positive. Although some of the paths were indirect, every user completed the task successfully. Through this testing process, we quickly realized our users were unhappy with the long pathway to find the entertainment feature, and would prefer quick access. In addition, we slightly changed the notifications and tabs, so that our user could more quickly return to the zoom call. This allowed us to prioritize our users face to face interactions.

Usability Testing Round 2

With these adjustments in mind, we went on to create a mid-fidelity prototype that would be used for our second round of usability testing. You can see below some of the changes that were made.

Mid-Fidelity Prototype

Once we conducted a second round of usability testing with 5 new users, we synthesized this data and information and created a score card. This allowed us to get a better understand of the user’s success rate, and perspective for each scenario.

Scorecard Details

Once the second round of testing was completed, we gathered the information and made informed adjustments such as:

  • Recommendation 1: Create a drop down menu of names for game invites, in addition to the search tab.
  • Recommendation 2: Create the ability to choose if you playing music/games is public or private on the call.

With these recommendations and feedback in mind, our next steps is to create a high-fidelity prototype with these adjustments and continue testing.

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