In my last blog post, I explored developing a cell phone app tentatively called Visit NBMA. The ineffective measures featured by Newbedford-MA.gov inspired me to create this app. The website is lackluster in its approach, does not fully lure visitors into the city, and does not utilize storytelling elements to build a rich and vibrant experience. Instead, the city provides a page of links.
Purpose of VISIT NBMA
The app supplements the Newbedford-MA.gov website and provides more resources for visitors and residents. Currently, the city does not do a good job highlighting the many amazing things happening in this city. There are many restaurants, events, shops, and art and culture throughout the city that is not being highlighted appropriately by the city.
This app’s goal is to solve that lack of information problem. This app could fill that void, providing users with an abundance of information. The app has five sections:
- About New Bedford
- A section that highlights New Bedford’s rich history
- Things to do:
- I wanted this section to highlight the shops, parks, museums, and events within the city.
- A section devoted to all of the fantastic restaurants and bars in the city
- Art and Culture
- This section features excellent art throughout New Bedford, including murals, artist galleries, art museums, and public art showings.
- Offer users information about the various transportation opportunities, including New Bedford’s Airport, Ferry services, bus and shuttle schedules.
The app follows an intuitive approach, allowing users to swipe right and left between the different pages. Users would then be able to swipe up to see more information. I’d love to integrate a component of e-commerce in the app, allowing users to place an order at their favorite restaurants, purchase tickets to the various museums in the city, or purchase tickets for Martha’s Vineyard Ferry.
“Visit NBMA” would be developed for two groups of people, visitors to the city and current residents. I imagine this app for people who visit the town and have no idea what the city offers. Once arriving in the city, they can download the app, explore some shops, galleries, or grab something to eat at a local restaurant.
I also imagine residents using this app to find information about what’s happening in the city. Residents might download the app to keep track of events throughout the city, attend a show at the Zieterion Theater, and catch a bite to eat amongst the many city restaurants.
To better understand how this application will work, it’s essential to identify who could benefit from it. I’ve created three users that “Visit” NBMA would target.
User Story #1 Charlie
Charlie is a 34-year-old male who lives in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He’s a college graduate and is working downtown as a restaurant owner. He’s born and raised in the city and is engaged in the community.
User Story #2 Kendra
Kendra is a 21-year-old woman originally from Fall River, Massachusetts. She moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, to attend UMASS Dartmouth’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and is looking for something to eat but is conflicted on where to go. She visits “Visit NBMA,” and finds a menu for the Portuguese restaurant Antonio’s, and orders a Caçoila sandwich through the app.
User Story #3 Susan
Susan is a 58-year-old woman who lives in Charlestown, West Virginia. She’s looking for a new summer place to visit and loves art and culture. She finds a blog post featuring New Bedford’s art scene and wants to take her family to visit the Whaling City.
Descriptive User Scenarios
Once I identified potential people that would use this app, I wanted to envision how people would use the app and why they would like to use it.
User Scenario #1 Charlie
Charlie loves this city and wants to be involved with the city’s events. He wants to keep up to date about events in the city and plan a date night with his wife on a Saturday evening. Charlie turns to the app and navigates to the “Things to do” page. He scrolls down to the event page and finds a poetry reading event at the Star Store in Downtown New Bedford. He knows his wife will love this and brings her to the event later that evening.
User Scenario #2 Kendra
It’s a Friday evening, and Kendra has just completed a blog post for her college course. She’s had a long week and is going to treat herself to a nice meal prepared by one of the city’s stellar restaurants. The problem is, she’s conflicted. There are too many options in New Bedford, and she wants to try something new. She turns to “Visit NBMA” and navigates to the “Eat” page. There she finds a Portuguese restaurant, Antonio’s, and is intrigued by its menu featuring caçoila sandwich. She uses the app to place an order for takeout, and within an hour, she’s able to bring her sandwich home.
User Scenario #3 Susan
She packs up her minivan and drives her family 8 hours to New Bedford, Massachusetts. While checking in at the Harbor Hotel, she sees a poster advertising the “Visit NBMA” app. She installs the app and navigates to the “Art and Culture” page. She finds information about murals within walking distance, finds information about galleries and finds New Bedford information. After using the app, she’s able to take a walking tour visiting the city’s murals and sees a few artist studios, and even purchases a painting to bring home.
User Flow Charts
A flow chart is a critical tool for user experience designers. This tool highlights the exact steps taken by users in a website or app. Often flow charts are used by companies to develop workflow or product development.
The concept is simple, you start with a starting point and use arrows to map out actions and decisions. The maps use specific symbols to highlight the flow of information. A rounded rectangle marks the starting and endpoints. Rectangles identify steps taken by the user, and diamonds indicate decisions that users wi
I wanted to map out how our potential users would use Visit NBMA. The following examples are flow charts for our three users.
This exercise highlighted the many ways people would interact with this app and demonstrated that different people would use it for various purposes. In my next blog, we’ll look at developing a paper prototype of the app.