Mylo

Interaction Designer
June 2018 — February 2019
Mylo Recommendations

Aggregating and sharing recommendations






Nowadays, if you want to find recommendations of restarurants, you might use Yelp. To search for places to visit, you might go to Expedia, or hundreds of travel blogs and Instagram accounts. If you are feeling lucky, asking for recommendations on Facebook might be an alternative. The fact is, there isn’t a go-to app to find different types of recommendations.

I was hired by a Seattle startup to design a mobile app to share and keep recommendations. Their vision is to become the main place for socializing around and choosing recommendations of places to eat, visit, travel, things to read, and movies or series to watch.

I collaborated with  2 startup founders to translate their value propositions into features, establish a design system, and develop prototypes to be used in funding-seeking pitches. The startup was succesful in their fundraising effort, and investors were excited with the proposed interactions prototyped by me.




Recommendations, where users can keep things that they want to do, or that they did and recommend

A dating app type of feature, where users can also directly send recommendations to each other, and accept or reject recommendations.

Playlists, where users can keep groups of recommendations related to a topic or category of choice.








    A tool for each step 



    Initial setup
    After discussing features with Mylo’s founders and sketching the screens on paper and whiteboard, using Figma was crucial to establish common ground, as we were most often working in separate locations. I started making low-fidelity prototypes, and mapping out the application with a diagram.

    Visual Design
    Constrained by the visual design tools offered by Figma, I moved into Sketch to design high-fidelity screens. I created more than a hundred screens on Sketch to implement all of our features, such as sign up flow, account settings flow, accepting and rejecting recommendations, etc.
    Interaction Design
    I exported screens to Principle where the interactive prototypes were made. The Principle prototypes were ported onto iPhones, and used both for usability testing and funding-seeking pitches. With feedback from potential users and investors, the team would convene and discuss ways to improve the app — many times.





    A previous version of the app used for usability testing.




    Some navigation options that we considered





    I also diligently worked to find the right design for the recommendation card. Dozens of variations were tested with users and discussed with stakeholders.





    Conclusion

    The startup raised capital and will start development in the Summer of 2019. It seems like the prototype successfully communicated the value propositions to investors, which I partly credit to the interactive prototypes.

    Scoping a prototype for funding-seeking is difficult. Startup founders will push for building complicated future capabilities of the system, but also expect the ‘bread and butter’ such as profiles and messaging to be prototyped.

    In terms of tools, this was the first time I used Sketch and Principle and it was great learning experience. Learning new design tools is always fun, and I appreciate how the icons and shortcuts implemented by different companies tend to be very similar. In sketch, I learned how to use Symbols, Text styles, and Layer styles, as well as how to leverage a few plugins for streamlining design cycles. Prototyping apps on Principle is so easy (even when it requires a font to be installed on the mobile device!). I could notice that Sketch and Principle are incredibly powerful and can dramatically cut down iteration times if used properly.

    The biggest challenge in this process was incorporating real data into the prototypes. I tested out multiple processes and plugins, but there still isn’t a good way to do this. I can’t stress enough how important this is for usability testing and pitching products — no one likes to see prototypes with Lorem Ipsum and Stock photos. At the same time, manually inserting text and images on Sketch is a huge time drag.







    Mylo’s cofounders, Daniela El - Saghir and Jason Schechtman, played a huge part in this process, conducting informal usability testing with potential users and venture capitalists.












    © 2019 Lucas Colusso.
    Built with 💜in Seattle.