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Design a Productivity App in the Right Mindset

General Assembly task of “Organizing my wardrobe”

I am planning for the UX Immersion course at General Assembly Hong Kong, the entry task is to write your thoughts on designing a mobile application that help people solve key problems about their wardrobe. 

So what are the key problems people have about their wardrobe, I need to figure it out in order to prioritize the functions in the application and the actions that are available in each case.

I set my target audience of adults who have a smartphone, there is no further categorization needed. The best I would plan is to have the ability for users to adjust the font size for elderly people. 

I started sketching down a list of questions I want to figure out in the research and set the research time to be 4 hours. I will use online search as the primary research tool and observe some cases of how people use their wardrobe. Of course, it could go on for days or months in another project and include survey and focus groups, but this project does not need all these dashing methods. The main objective for me is to get myself out of my own experience and put into a general users perspective.

Online research: I started looking for posts and articles on key problems about closets, to see what others are interested in. Majority of the articles take about how to better organize your closets with hangers, boxes and spend more time in putting things back into their places. Some articles talked about how to reduce the number of clothes a person have. And some talk about how to maintain clothes in a good condition.

I summarize that the problems people have with their closets comes from several aspects:
- Buying too many closets than what their closets can store in an organized way
- Don't have a good management system
- Don't maintain clothes properly

Apart from online research, I did also a small user survey just to see if common people have the same or different problems. The reason is because many times, the writers who take the effort to write articles on a topic have their own agenda, to introduce a method, to promote a product, to make a point. And they may sacrifice some truth to achieve their purpose. Supplementing reading with real experience helps balance the findings.

I took my friends and families as subject, they are no differences than everybody else, so they are representative enough. I ask them what are their biggest headaches they have, and the conclusions are as follows:
- Not enough place for stuff
- Can't find where I put stuff
- Don't have the things I want

Overall, I can see how all the problems loop together to create a cycle: 
- I bought new clothes
- I stuff them randomly in my over-stuffed closet
- I dig them out from my clothes and mess it up more
- I don't have the system where to put things because I can't fit all the the right place
- I want to organize them in a good way but that requires a big learning curve and I don't want that
... ...
- I spot new stuff I like

4 hours of research taught me enough to set the perfect objective: design a mobile app that allow users to organize their wardrobe in a way that does not require anything out of their routine, address the lifecycle of a wardrobe and make sure the users dress awesome everyday.

With that said: there are something I need to know from the users in order to do that:
- What clothes they have
- Where the clothes are
- What storage they have
- What outfit they should wear

Some basic information on each topic looks like:
- Color; style; shape (dress length; sleeve length etc)
- In the laundry; donated etc
- Closet layout; container dimension etc
- Life Schedule (interview; hiking etc)

But that is not enough, I tried some closet organizers on the market and they are horrible, one of the key reason is that they are so different from the users everybody like, that you almost have to reserve a time to actually make the app useful.

I don't want to do that.

Closet is part of our life.

Clothes are part of our life.

The app has to be part of our life too.

To do this, I starts thinking, what if the app does not exist, and it is just the user and their clothes and the wardrobe, what would need to happen for them to improve their orgnization.

When they are putting clothes back to closet, tell them how to fold and where to put;
When they about to leave for the day, tell them what to wear and where to find each piece;
When they have too much stuff, suggest them what to get rid of and arrange charity to pick up;
When they shop, show them what they already have so they don't buy more than needed and some suggestion on what they may want to have according to their lifestyle;
When they achieve a goal, be it keeping wardrobe tighty for a whole week; send the leather jacket to leather care on time, 
... ...

I am confident that the user experience with wardrobe can be greatly improved if the above things happen, and I am simply using a mobile app to make these things happen.

So now I am at the point that I am ready to design, and my design looks like this;

Smart Register: users can search a piece of clothes or take a photo to add their clothes, the app will automatically pull relevant information from the merchant that sell such product;

Storage optimizer: users can search a piece of clothes or take a photo to add any closet or container, they tag each section to indicate what it can be used for, and the app will plan the rest; 

Outfit creator: the app will generate outfit suggestions  based on weather, users calendar and if users accept or modify the suggestion, the app will simply record it if users choose to wash them after wear, in this way the app easily know what is in the laundry and can suggest where to put when the laundry is back;

Shopping assistant: users can see some suggestions on what they should buy to dress to their profession and fashion, and what in their wardrobe can be used to create a style; assistant will also suggest what clothes users have not wear for a long time so they can either go to charity or be exchanged with others;

Reward and community: users can find people that have similar dressing style, they can exchange clothes easily and arrange a time to go shopping; 

Last but not least, although it is not part of the requirements of the assignment, I believe every product needs to make money. And for this case, the usual subscription model will not work. For the simple fact that:

The experience differ very much, so the benefit also differ, thus it is hard to apply a common price;
The benefit deteriorate once you get into the habit and people find it hard to commit to a time frame if they find it to be uncertain how long they can keep enjoying the benefit;

The services as mentioned is very much asking them to do something instead of giving them something, users may find it hard to accept this concept as a subscription model;

It can, nevertheless, be a pay-per-usage model, say every time user pays to optimize the service etc.this model ensures the same timeframe for both payment and benefit, both immediate. You may try to distant users' feeling from actual spending by introducing the concept of token or coin etc.

It will be great if you can drop one line or two to tell me what you think can be added to the function list and what you think I need to pay attention to when designing the app.  

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