How I managed to address low engagement by empathizing with teen users
Project Duration: 4 Weeks          My Role: Research, Project Management, Design, Prototyping, Testing              Tools: Figma, Sketch, Smartlook
Spotivity: Discover Your Passion

Spotivity is a two-sided marketplace that connects high school students with agencies offering after-school programs. It helps students find activities that match their interests, future goals and personalities. 

We were tasked with finding ways to increase engagement and user growth, specifically among teen users. Our client was looking for solutions that didn't require building new features and could be implemented without changing the core operation of the app. 

Spotivity was able to attract users but these users were disengaging soon after signing up. This meant that the app was meeting a real need but failing to engage after the initial point of contact.
The Research
Spotivity's business model relies on attracting both teens and activity providers to their platform. Their goal is to become a tool that students frequently engage with so that activity providers can build long-term loyalty. Spotivity hopes to do that by incentivizing check-ins with rewards points. Before users can enter into the 'positive feedback loop' of checking in and receiving rewards, they need to enroll in an activity. 
This chart shows the ideal user path within the app:
User Flows
Looking deeper into the original state of the app, we built a user flow diagram to better understand the existing Spotivity experience.
Sign Up Flow (Click To Enlarge)
Sign Up Flow (Click To Enlarge)
Enrollment Flow (Click To Enlarge)
Enrollment Flow (Click To Enlarge)
Personality Insight Tool (Click To Enlarge)
Personality Insight Tool (Click To Enlarge)
User Interviews
We interviewed 24 teen users and recorded over 40 hours of candid conversations.
Lack of relevant activity details: 
Students said that they were unable to make a decision on which classes to enroll in because they did not have enough relevant information. Some students wanted to know more about the location or travel time while some students wanted more schedule information. 
Unclear feature layout and instruction:
Features like the personality test and activity filter were hard to find for some students. Functions that were supposed to help students discover activities were seen as obstacles without clear purpose.
The Insights
Reviewing over 24 hours of interviews made it clear that students felt unprepared to make major commitments to the app. This seemed to be the primary reason they didn't develop a frequent use habit. Their engagement was surface level and fleeting because they were dealing with too much uncertainty. Using this information we came up with a problem statement to summarize what we needed to address.
    Problem Statement
Testing Assumptions With Prototypes
We built 4 lo-fi prototypes to test our assumptions and explore possible solutions. The first was designed to see if location information made users feel more comfortable. The second was designed to test how users respond when the personality test is tied more directly to recommendations. The third prototype explored how much a conversational interface impacted user comfort. The final design directly addressed the amount of information on the activity page. 
Prototype Test Results
After running demos of our prototypes with 18 Spotivity users, we found that changes to the layout were appreciated. Users reported that they found it easier to find activities and felt more willing to share the app with friends. However, they still had hesitations when asked to enroll in an activity, meaning we did not address the core problem we originally identified. We streamlined the discovery process and clarified certain features in the app but users still weren't ready to engage with the primary call to action.
One question kept appearing again and again...
Finding A Hidden Pattern
We needed to understand exactly why users weren't engaging with the 'Enroll Now' button.

We found that all users shared the same misconception. Normally the process of enrolling involves paperwork and the involvement of a parent. This expectation made teens less likely to engage. No matter how much we refined existing features and simplified the information architecture, users were never going to feel comfortable fully engaging with the app until we addressed this problem.
The Pivot
Our prototypes had managed to address some user frustrations which would likely lead to higher user engagement, but in order to start the positive feedback loop of regular user behavior we needed to get them to form a lasting relationship with Spotivity and an agency. I refined our problem statement to better reflect our new goals, in light of the data we collected from our lo-fi prototype user testing. Lack of information was not the true obstacle. 
    Refined Problem Statement
The Solution
We realized that the best way to make teens feel informed wasn't to change the way information was presented to them - it was to change the decision we were asking them to make with that information. 
Since our constraints assume contact with the agency will be minimal, changing "Enroll Now" to "I'm Interested" changes nothing about how the app functions on the back-end, but it does produce a major change in teens' experience
When teens see the CTA as low-commitment, they feel more confident and conversion rates increase. Our final round of user testing showed across the board improvement.
Personal Insight Tool
We kept the redesigned results screen which includes the recommended activities and a share button. By making the app feel more personalized we expect that users will be more engaged. A few teens said that picking an afterschool program can feel like a hard decision, by making personalized recommendations we can alleviate some of their worries.
The "Share" button allows users to post their results on social media platforms. Personality tests are normally pretty popular for teens who are discovering themselves. In this case, the personality test is tied to recommendations that could have an impact on a teen's future. 
Confirmation Pop-Up
After tapping the "I'm Interested" button, we wanted to provide users with an explanation of what was happening. The original design kept users in the dark, leaving them unsure of what would happen next.
"Am I enrolled now? I didn't submit anything"
The confirmation box is meant to clarify exactly what happens next. We also added a message box that allows users to contact the agency they're interested in. We saw that users felt comfortable asking questions directly when using the chat at prototype and we thought this feature could work in our final prototype.
Refined Home Screen
We kept the redesigns of the home screen. Users felt empowered when they knew how to easily access filter and map options. Teens expect to be able to find exactly what their looking for and borrowing familiar design patterns to guide them will keep them engaged with Spotivity. 
The redesigned filter and map screen increased user confidence when we tested it in our prototype. However the most impactful change to the home screen was the placement of the filter button and map button. Making these features easier to find will give users more options when they're trying to find an activity that matches their lifestyle and interests.
Results and Takeaways
In the end we were able to greatly increase users likelihood to engage with key features of the Spotivity app. These touchpoints open up the door for more frequent engagement. Once teens have entered a 'conversation' with an agency they're more likely to check the app multiple times during the day. Additionally, when users understand the ways in which the app is tailored to their unique personality teens will value the information presented to them even more. When teen users value the information they receive from an app they are likely to recommend it to their friends and share information they find useful.

High Schoolers have a lot of important decisions to make before graduation. Spotivity can provide teens with a break from all of this stress by simplifying their process of building up a resume outside of school. We made the features that help teens most more salient and accessible. Overall, we made the app more engaging by meeting students where they are emotionally. 

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