A UX Case-Study for Hike Camera 2.0 and Stories [ Part 1 ]


For Hike, the timeline wasn’t enough. We were looking for new ways to create excitement and increase engagement on the platform. That’s when we said –

“Camera is the new keyboard”

Do you ever find it easier to describe your new haircut using a picture rather than words? That’s because your brain is hardwired to excel at the visual selection. We wanted to do Stories(capture and post related images and video content in a slideshow format) on Hike. When you add a photo to your Story, it lives for 48 hours before, and then poof, it vanishes, making room for the next.

Why 48 hours?

There’s something quite interesting about 48 hours. It’s the length of the weekend. Most social apps including Hike peaks on the weekend and we thought it would be nice to be able to share Stories throughout the weekend and open your phone on a Sunday night and see how much fun you had over the last few days. And the only way to make Stories work for our users was to build a Camera right into Hike’s core.

We wanted to upgrade the UX for Hike Camera users who needed a new way to share their lives and real moments on the internet and this blog is a summarised walkthrough(In 2 Parts) of that journey that impacts a minimum of 100 Million users exchanging 40 Billion messages per month and spending over 120 minutes per week on Hike.

The Design Process

Following diagram is the design process I preferred to follow to solve users pain-points, based on my three principles mentioned here.

Inspired by a study done by Rikke Dam & Teo Siang for interaction-design.org.

First Observe —

Is there such a thing as too much data? Definitely not. For example, Amazon is known for being “data-obsessed,” but that has paid off for them extremely well. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and a judge on the TV show “Shark Tank” said:

“Amazon uses data better than anyone to achieve those goals for everything it sells. They have a chance to be the most dominant company in the world.”

Following the mogul’s footsteps, I also turned to our UX Researchers to see what they had found. In this process to understand Hike and other social networks better, I decided to participate in the ongoing series of interviews with a bunch of Hike users to understand their daily habits, behaviors, goals, and expectations around social networking(Stories, Timeline and Chat).

Following are my key findings from the numerous research, surveys, user-studies, and interviews we did:

Majority of Hike users are between 18–24 years old

People are using hike because they want to keep in touch with their friend, get updates or just to kill boredom.

A minimum of 40% of users were already sharing media content on daily basis.

Not everyone is creating content but everyone loves to consume.

Communication and news is what leads most people to use social media

In the process of observing our product, its users and their needs It was important for me to study who our competitors are? What do they do well?

Who are the industry leaders?

Snapchat pioneered Stories, and then later Instagram announced it was introducing Stories in 2016, followed by YouTube, Facebook, and Skype in 2017. Even dating apps like Bumble and Match have started testing their own version of Stories. Let's have a Closer Look at the Ephemeral Content-Sharing applications and their Camera UX —

According to data from social media agency Block Party, the number of accounts that created or viewed a Story on Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Facebook Messenger rose 84% percent between 2016 and 2017, reaching more than 970 million accounts.

Source: Social Media Stories Poised to Supersede News Feeds [ until 2007 ]

I personally look at Stories a lot — particularly on Instagram, where Stories sit at the top of the feed and are highlighted in blue if you haven’t watched them yet. Looking through all of my unwatched Instagram Stories is as satisfying as dismissing an email or Slack notification. Later in this race joined TikTok(previously Musical.ly) now showing the most rapid improvement.

Snapchat vs Instagram vs WhatsApp vs TikTok

It’s clear that Industry leaders in Ephemeral Content-Sharing applications relying on user seeded content were:

Snapchat > Instagram > WhatsApp > Musical.ly

What makes a great story? A great Camera Experience. To understand user-needs and pain-points around camera experience my next step was to create a user persona to focus my design on.

User Persona

Basically, with personas, you can build consensus and commitment to the design direction and keep the design centered on users at every step of the process. #Moto: You are not your user

You are not your user!

To understand the pain-points around creating content I conducted Focus group discussions with 40 users lying in high\medium\low engagement buckets along with a couple of online surveys to find touch points where the audience would engage with the camera.

From the results, I distilled their behaviors into several characters that represent different user types having similar behaviors, needs & goals around the smartphone camera. I narrowed it down to one proto-persona. This persona became validated over the course of my research.

Defining the (User)Problem—

The art of Guerrilla Usability Testing

The plan was to approach folks who fit the persona I had previously made or were in general demographic of Hike’s userbase with camera engagement. Then I and my fellow UX Researcher prompted them with some introductory questions to gather information about their habits, as well as their technology usage.

Here are some scenarios with tasks for users to complete:

Your friend just did something really funny, which you also want to share it socially, What do you do?

Whats your talent? You want to showcase it on social-media. How do you go about doing this?

You are browsing stories and you see a influencer who fits your interests. What do you do?

Your friend just shared your most hated teacher’s picture with you. If you want to mock it, how do you go about it?

You are traveling to a new city, will you be sharing these moments with your friends/family, if yes then How?

After the research was done, I reviewed the footage and referenced my notes from the interviews. I wrote down all of the most common user statements as well as the pain points associated with them. I then used affinity mapping to group the comments with the relevant pain points.

Affinity Mapping, done by grouping comments(in green) with the conclusion to understand user pain-points(pink)

We then used affinity mapping to group the comments with the relevant pain points on a 2×2 matrix based on its importance to the user and the platform between Pre and Post-capture experience. My assumptions of the importance to users were based on the interviews.

User pain-points mapped in a 2×2 matrix

So it took us a total of one year to upgrade hike’s camera and it sure can’t fit in just one blog post but we’ve tackled all of the above-mapped pain points, starting with the ones that are both important to Hike and its user base which I’ll be talking about in my next blog.

Until next time! 

Camera is the new keyboard was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Read at UX Planet


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