Q1. How might we make it easier for consumers to discover local businesses and organizations?
Q2. How might we make shopping and supporting local more desirable?
Q3. How might we develop a sense of community between consumers and small business owners?
Scout is an app that aims to build a sense of community among citizens, community organizations and small business owners. The app acts as a local business directory connecting small businesses and organizations with active community members who want to support their local economy. The app helps community members discover organizations, deals and events that make it easier for them to buy and support local.
These key findings helped me gain a deeper understanding of potential users of the service and helped guide what features would be included within the app. This deeper understanding of the problem and the user aided in the development of user personas (see below).
In order to differentiate the app from other services already on the market (ex. Google Maps, Yelp, Foursquare), I did a competitive audit to figure out how Scout would be differentiated within the market. Through a SWOT analysis, I identified the opportunities to bring more awareness to local businesses by filtering out listings from chain stores and large corporations. Overall the app differentiates itself by acting as a local business directory, building a sense of community, and building stronger relationships between consumers and small business owners. The application focuses on highlighting locally owned businesses and organizations that support the user's local economy. This analysis also led to the development of the app's distinguishing name and visual brand identity.
The final prototype built showcases the main features and screens within the application. The ability to search for, save, follow and discover local businesses, community events and deals were all considered. In the future, I could see this project being extended beyond just the digital application. The development of community publications, print neighborhood guides and the design of a responsive website could add further value to the service. The UI was designed in Sketch and an interactive prototype was created using Invision.
Considering digital product design is never truly finished and that more work could be done to ensure the product's usability, I plan to take another look at Scout and mark areas for improvement moving forward. I will continue to add to this space below as I continue to get feedback from potential users and as I conduct additional testing.
Credits: The stock photography used within the UI mockups was retrieved from unsplash.com. Some of the icons used were purchased from thenounproject.com.