UX Designer & Researcher
Snowboarding is a popular outdoor activity during the winter months. Snowboarding grew out of skateboarding; spreading the culture and tricks from the cement and turning it towards the snow. For those who snowboard, it’s a part of who they are and for those who don’t but want to, they are drawn in to not only the activity, but the culture surrounding as well.
Ride Snowboards is a well known and respected snowboarding brand among the snowboarding community. However, for novice snowboarders the brand is not recognized. As a means of raising brand awareness for novice snowboarders, Ride can focus on helping new snowboarders get started because the trouble with snowboarding is knowing where to begin.
Ride Snowboards was founded in Washington in 1992, right at the beginning of the snowboarding surge. From the company’s beginning, Ride Snowboards had team riders helping to design the snowboards and give input on marketing strategies. Ride quickly became such a success. Ride offers a wide range of different boards including powder, freestyle, and all mountain, as well as producing bindings, boots, outerwear, and bags for everyone—men, women, and children.
As a team, we conducted 10 total user interviews to better understand the habits and pain points of snowboarders of various skill levels. Additionally, focused questions around beginning snowboarding and the challenges faced. I conducted 3 interviews with expert and intermediate level boarders.
We used information gathered from our user interviews to assess commonalities regarding snowboarding. We focused on identifying pain points and needs.
- Current Slope Conditions—Weather and Mountain information to determine conditions at a mountain to determine where and when to snowboard.
- Expense—Snowboarding is very expensive and difficult commitment for beginners.
- Social—While snowboarding is an individual sport, snowboarders go together. Especially important for beginners to encourage and motivate.
- Culture—There is a strong culture that established snowboarding, and there is interest and encouragement in community and sharing.
Scope and Feasibility:
We determined we should focus on current slope conditions and social aspects of snowboarding.
Our primary persona, Jeremy, is interested in learning to snowboard, but struggles with not knowing what he needs to know. He wants information to help him get started snowboarding (namely when and where) and hopes to find other snowboarders to socialize and learn from.
COmparative & competitive Analysis
I researched apps and websites for inspiration on design and what information to include based on specific resources learned from the interviews with snowboarders and commonly used apps and sites.
Snowboarder Resources: snow and weather specific details regularly utilized by snowboarders.
- mountain specific websites
Layout & Design: layout and displays for gathering weather information for specific locations.
- The Weather Channel
- Weather Underground
Social Groups: sites used for events and connecting people of similar interests.
sketches & WIREFRames
Our team explored design solutions for Jeremy based on his scenario and our selected app features. We each took 15 minutes to rapidly sketch ideas and then as a group we selected the ideas we wanted to explore further. From our chosen sketches, 2 of us moved to XD to begin wireframing.
Myself and another team member led on designing the app wireframes. After initial wire framing where we both tackled many app screens, I primarily focused on building out the apps Meet Ups section and Searching/Adding a Mountain.
test & iterate
We had 3 rounds of user testing with our prototype.
We put a lot of consideration into which navigation elements to include in the Ride app. We finalized our design using breadcrumbs in the navigation bar and a toolbar directing to main app features:
- Mountains—search, add, and organize saved mountains.
- Weather—Lookup weather and slope conditions for saved mountains.
- Shop Ride—E-Commerce for Ride, allowing users quick access to shop Ride merchandise for future snowboarding trips. Keeps additional company/branding goal.
- Meet Up—Search, and explore groups for meeting other snowboarders.
- Profile—The users profile (make edits) and ability to search other user profiles.
Mountain screen iterations
We took many attempts to develop this screen element because it was very important to the app. It acts as the opening screen to the app and as well as the element as a user navigates through the app. We wanted to balance quick information on the weather and slope for those less familiar with snow conditions and what's important to those who are well versed in what weather elements are important to know.
User feedback regarding our mountain informational screen was met with confusion as to what information they were figuring out.
I put together different layouts to help users get the most important information (I determined from researching snow apps and mountain sites) as well as how to visually keep it organized and not overwhelming. Our final design is based around hierarchy and simplicity.
Meet Ups Iterations
A key feature to the app was making sure snowboarders could find other snowboarders to snowboard with and build their snowboarding community. This was especially useful for novice snowboarders. We wanted to make sure to include group events that would appear friendly and inviting, giving the user enough ability to answer their main questions before joining.
- “I would want more information about meet ups, like what trail, what time.”
- “Meet ups are cool, but I would want to know more about the group before joining one.”
Taking into account the feedback we were consistently receiving from our testing, I focused on adding additional information regarding each Group and trying to make the layout similar to conventions.
MOVING This PROJECT FORWARD...
I want to test these current designs again with intermediate and beginner snowboarders to determine if the current features are desirable. Would this app be a useful resource in meeting a snowboarder's needs? If yes, prioritize next steps to enhance/improve. If no, then what can be done to improve?
- We need to do more testing on which infographics will be easiest to understand weather and slope conditions for a novice snowboarder.
- Similarly, we want to research and test how to best help people interpret weather data.
- We had initially aimed for more customization in the app to help target skill and interest levels in app elements.
- Our initial interviews indicated a user desire for a "Portal to Inspire" that would include user input such as blogs, photos, and videos.