CS247: Human-Computer Interaction Design Studio

Milestone 6: Functional Prototype II


This week, we decided to majorly restructure the value proposition of our project. We were initially hesitant to pull the plug on several features that we had previously thought crucial and had spent a lot of time implementing to functional completion based only off the initial pilot testing we did last week. But it became clear after additional user testing and consulting with our mentor, Sophie Tang, that our app needed to shift away from a bulkier “schedule-plan-and-find-people-at-events” paradigm and focus specifically on

“Find me here, now.”

We have also implemented a significant overhaul of the app’s UX to better reflect these changes and address tester concerns. The idea now is to have an instantaneous-use application that requires no forethought on the part of the Meetup-initiating user and effectively allows for communication of location data so that users will no longer worry about where other attendees are, how long they might still be, or how to find each other.

Main Changes

We have changed Meetup from an event-oriented application to a user-oriented one. Rather than having users create events and invite attendees to them ahead of time, the app now allows users to arrive at a destination and begin “meeting up” immediately. Each user can invite a different subset of his or her contacts to a Meetup, and the destination location defaults to the current location of the initiating user, though this can be changed if no party has arrived on scene yet.

Because we have removed the planning aspect of the application, we have also traded messaging functionality in favor of focusing on richer map, photo, and location data. The interface reflects this emphasis on “finding”: opening the application now takes the user directly to a full-screen map view instead of an events list. The map view is no longer split-screen and divided between map and chat. Upon inviting friends to Meetup, all user locations are indicated as pins on the map, updating to reflect their current locations at any time. Details of the Meetup are now better visualized so users can immediately see what time they are expected to arrive, whom else will be joining them, and how far/how long away everyone is from destination. At any point, users can take a photo of where they are as well as include a message describing their location or travel status. These can be used by other members of the meetup both to find the user when they reach close proximity (at which time the GPS is no longer accurate or informative enough of the real world to assist) and to gain an instant impression of where everyone is. We want also to support video clips and an in-app option to call another user to even better facilitate the task of co-location.

Progress and Next Steps

Because of our structural changes, the removal of many previous features, and the addition of many new ones in the past week, we do not currently have full support for all our desired functionality and are still in the process of fixing a few bugs. The backend has been overhauled to be user-centric rather than event-centric and now has the full functionality we need to provide necessary data to the client-side application. In-app, however, we have not yet had enough time to complete implementation since meeting our mentor on Monday. The UX flow has been changed, but there is still significant UI polish to be added. Photos are buggy but supported, and both they and statuses of all invitees to a meetup now appear on the map for all involved users. Updating your personal status/location photo properly sends push notifications for all other users in your meetup to update their maps.

In the next week, we will add support for videos, implement response to invitations on the client-side, fix the bugs in our current version, and add more identifying features to user pins (currently you must tap on them to see who they are). Currently all actions for the app are in a side panel for proof of concept this week, but those will also be reorganized to be more intuitive for the user to access. Though it has taken us many days to arrive at a similar place of absolute implementation completeness compared to last week's prototype, we believe that this change in direction will ultimately result in a much more valuable application.

© 2014 by Alex Wang, Angela Yeung, and Jessica Liu.