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I own an application aiming to make people meet each other around activities/outs.
There are two ways of suggesting an activity/out to other members:

  1. Inviting anybody at once. All members would then be able to see the suggested out and participate to it.
  2. Inviting only certain members, by selecting ones of our choice (members are well-listed in another tabs and selectable). Only those members would be able to see the out and participate to it. Full confidentiality.

I have a real issue with UX.
To introduce the issue, here's a basic and light structure of my current UI.

enter image description here

Basically, two tabs, listing actual suggested outs (current or future ones) or past ones; and a list of the out's main contents.

Main feedback from my users: "The app sounds empty, there aren't many suggested outs!"

The UI/UX clearly doesn't emphasize that "you, users, you are not expected to see every out, you are expected to only see outs that concern you, meaning to which you are invited in! ".

I briefly explain them: "It's like e-mails, if I send an e-mail to Julia, only Julia receive it, not you! So if you only see 3 displayed outs, it doesn't mean that any other member can't see 3000 outs in their side. All depends of whether they are invited or not."

When I explain that, everyone LOVES the app and really starts to invite other members and suggest outs themselves, without waiting. They become active and not passive.

How to transform my UI so that the user understands the idea of privacy/confidentiality of outs, and don't assume that "if I don't see many outs in THEIR side, it does mean that the app is 'desert'".

I thought about an interactive tutorial at the first launch of the app. I made it some months ago, but I noticed that majority of people skipped it, thinking that it's a concept already known with other apps and not innovative.
However, the confidentiality feature, is quite innovative compared to other apps in the market and should really be noticed by users.
So IMO, it's clearly a UX-issue in-app.

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    You put it where you expect users would want to see it - where it logically makes sense. If I randomly put it in a tab that is not related to "outs" it makes no sense. Your issue is dealing with "outs" nothing else. So you would put it in your "outs" section only. You could even stress it upon initial click such that a user understands it. Something like the minute they go to the "outs" section it comes up as `Hey..did you know outs listed below are based on invites only...click to read more." You could have this as some sort of mechanism to move the user into additional help. – JonH Jun 29 '16 at 12:33
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    I added as an answer for now, I can try to build on it as I'm a bit busy today with my own ui/ux issues. – JonH Jun 29 '16 at 12:35
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    How about call your list of invited outs an "Inbox"? People generally expect that an "Inbox" will be empty until someone sends them something. – Owen Jun 29 '16 at 12:47
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    What if you labeled it "my outs" (or "your outs ")? That would send a signal that these results are personal to the particular user. – dogwoodtree-dot-net Jun 29 '16 at 14:41
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    @Mik378, "My Wall" or "My Events" or "My Invites" would all be good. I think the essential part is to communicate that this is a personalized list unique to the user. – dogwoodtree-dot-net Jun 30 '16 at 12:14
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This can be clearly solved with a small foot note: Note you are only seeing outs that you have been invited to.

As to where you could put it. You put it where you expect users would want to see it - where it logically makes sense. If I randomly put it in a tab that is not related to "outs" it makes no sense.

Your issue is dealing with "outs" nothing else, you yourself mentioned once your end users learn the process they love the app and they use the app correctly. So you would put it in your "outs" section only. You could even stress it upon initial click such that a user understands it. Something like the minute they go to the "outs" section it comes up as:

Hey..did you know outs listed below are based on invites only...click to read more.

You could have this as some sort of mechanism to move the user into additional help. You want to help aid the movement of the user to learn this important process. Right now your users don't understand the meaning of "outs" and how they work. In fact, you will find yourself with this same issue of training / retraining users over and over because it just is not clear. To avoid this situation you need to guide or steer your users to learn it on their own.

Don't expect them to understand it because you understand it. Your application should strongly send a message by defining exactly how invites works. You mentioned you had created some animation or video about this process yet no one watched it. Here's your chance to reuse that animation in the click event of the message I stated earlier:

Hey..did you know outs listed below are based on invites only...click to read more.

Right behind this event give additional help of "outs" and throw in your animation at the end of it. KISS principle - don't go overboard with explaining it, keep it short and sweet.

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Personalize the heading

A good way to reinforce the personalized nature of the page would be to label it as "My Outs" (or "My Wall" or "My Invites").

Provide guidance on expanding your results

If a short list of results feels disappointing to users, give them the tools to fix it: at the bottom of your result list, provide calls to action. How do your users get a more robust list of results? "Create an invite" - "Plan an out" - "Invite a friend" - "Expand your network". Consider which user activities you want to encourage, and make them easy to access.

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    Thanks for this answer :) I chose to rename it with : "My outs". Indeed, it connotes the privacy notion. – Mik378 Jun 30 '16 at 16:25

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