As part of a short term contract, I helped a small startup design an MVP version of their cross-platform golfing app. The YourCaddyBook app’s concept is simple: Allow users to find a golf course nearby, view user-generated tips on each hole, and add their own tips. My role in this quick and fun project was the following:
- Fully flush out and articulate the app’s purpose and target user
- Help decide which features to include at launch in the MVP (minimum viable product)
- Design the brand identity around the predetermined name “YourCaddyBook”
- Write copy to be used within the app and for external marketing
- Design the application’s UX and UI
- Provide the development team with a style guide, visual assets, and CSS specifications
My approach was to start with research on the golf equipment and apparel industries as well as any recent competitors. This research, along with interviews with key stakeholders, informed a Creative Brief document that served as a basis for the brand identity and communications of the YourCaddyBook app.
Industry and Design Research
Industry research told us about the target user and their mindset when approaching the golf course. As importantly, we gained insight on the user’s context when out on the golf course, and the moments before and after golfing. This helped us tailor the user experience to encourage users to contribute tips to the app at times identified as convenient for them.
Design research gave us insight into what kind of aesthetic was being employed to market most of their consumer products. Our goal was to design an application that users were familiar with, but with an aesthetic that is uncommon in the industry. My research turned up a clear design trend in the golf equipment industry: the art direction was very similar to aftermarket car accessories.
Brand Identity Design
I presented three basic design concepts, ranging from familiar to very different. We decided to develop the most balanced concept, which referenced Ivy League university crest designs and vintage hand painted signage. Based on this “Ivy League” look, I designed the logo, typography, color scheme, and all graphic elements that would be used for the application UI.
Subtle, natural colors like beige and brown were used to establish a classic “book” feel, while important calls to action have colors like hot pink. True white and black were also used very sparingly as highlights. This creates a classic, low-impact canvas onto which high-impact buttons and images can be placed.
User Interface Design
Since the team had already developed a basic prototype of the application, we didn’t need to go in depth in wireframing the project. Basic functionality and interactions were talked through using sketches and screen share. Much of the challenge in designing the UI was in response to the user’s context: outdoors in bright sunlight, mobile and physically active, weary of potential distractions posed by mobile devices, potentially wearing gloves which impair complicated gestures.
In response, our UI design was made oversized with ample space between interactive regions to avoid “fat finger” accidents. Concurrently, some of the user-generated tips could get verbose, so a slimmer typeface was chosen for body copy and key information was highlighted in extra large fonts. To populate the app with richer visuals, I suggested that golf course photos be pulled from Yelp and affected with a consistent filter. This allows each golf course listed in the application to have a unique photo.
Although not necessary for the MVP version, I recommended two features to be added to encourage user-generated content. First is the ability to vote on most helpful tips to float those tips up higher on the screen. Second, the use of badges to indicate users who contribute the most tips. These two features could be vital in encouraging participation.
All creative assets were delivered in Adobe Photoshop format as well as with Zeplin.io, so that our dev team can easily access the full CSS style sheets and appropriately sized graphic assets. The app is currently under development for iOS and Android. I’ll add links when it becomes available.