FACEBOOK RESEARCH

UX CONSULTANT | August 2015

PROJECT: VIDEO CHAT USER EXPERIENCES

RESPONSIBILITIES:

To assume the role of the user in order to provide feedback to the User Experience team in Mountain View, CA and research consultant in Seattle, WA. To evaluate the video chat experience with the research team and provide valuable feedback to improve the experience. This project is protected under NDA, but I have created a fictional experience below to illustrate what type of work I performed. 

GOALS: To distill the user flow down to the least amount of steps required in order to complete a video call in the application. To address and decrease connectivity issues.

In order to understand the technological restraints and expectations of the product, we needed to be able to answer the following questions:

  • Where is the user currently in the app?

  • What is the likely desired outcome?

  • What will it take to get them there?

  • What are their expectations?

SUMMARY OF TESTING PARAMETERS

1. Navigate to the video icon. 

2. Select icon and make a video call.

3. Evaluate sound and streaming quality.

4. Locate icon and exit video chat.

 

*To measure this data, the research facilitator and I identified the user flow. Then I tested each step in the journey map for initiating a video call from the messenger app, conversing, and disconnecting from the call.

Testing Example:
Each step of the way I considered if the experience could be more efficient. How long did the action take? Was each step necessary? Could the time it takes to perform a call be reduced in any way?

 1. Navigate to the video icon. 

 2. Select icon and make a video call. 

As seen in this scenario, two people are messaging, but Jaime cannot quite convey how beautiful the environment is with text alone. He then activates the camera to share the live experience by tapping the video icon, which then becomes shaded as a visual indicator that the camera has been selected, and is now active. The call has been initiated, and Jaime begins sharing the experience with Julia.

 3. Evaluate sound and streaming quality. 

  *with a minimized and maximized video window. 

Jaime places the call to Julia during a specific moment on the beach in order to give her a live preview of what his vacation is like, but a user isn't always experiencing an undistracted video chat moment. I wanted to test out other scenarios to see how the functionality would respond to more demands.

 

For example, let's say Jaime is shopping for dinner materials at the grocery store, and he is unfamiliar with this specific recipe and needs more input about which product to purchase. Julia is the expert chef, but she is at another location, so instead of snapping photos of specific items, he decides to call Julia and have her view the options in real time so she can tell him which one to buy. Why does he use video chat for this? Because he saves time panning across the shelf with the video camera opposed to attaching photos one by one. While on the call, after a decent connection is established, and both parties can clearly hear and view each other, Jaime flips the camera around from selfie mode to the items on the shelf. I tested this feature on the application, and it worked okay, but the connection had a slower response depending upon the wi-fi.

 

That scenario made me curious, so next, I wanted to test the speed of the application when I minimized the video and opened another application. Let's say that in Jaime's case, he needs to access the recipe in his email while they are talking. I practiced opening other apps to check for any hindrances, but the minimized video remained on the screen until I was ready to maximize it again. If it was in the way, I could just slide it around out of the way, so there was no hindrance. Perhaps, though, when multitasking in a high-stress situation, moving the minimized video window would be annoying, but in terms of basic functionality, it worked great.

 

What are some other scenarios where a user would need to access other apps during a video call? There are many possibilities, maybe they are running errands and need to check their bank account but do not want to hang up the call, or they receive a text message from another person that requires an urgent response, or they need to reference an email about event details while simultaneously continuing the video call. Whatever the situation, at some point the video call will need to be minimized, the app may need to exit briefly, then the user will resume the call after the side task is complete. I noticed there was a delay with minimizing and maximizing the video, which I brought to their attention. Also, a user may forget what they referenced or need to reference additional resources during the same call, so it is important that the call quality is not affected, and that the video screens are as responsive as possible.

I think that a screen sharing option would also be helpful, but that was not in the scope of this project.

Jaime places the call to Julia during a specific moment on the beach in order to give her a live preview of what his vacation is like, but a user isn't always experiencing an undistracted video chat moment. I wanted to test out other scenarios to see how the functionality would respond to more demands.

 

For example, let's say Jaime is shopping for dinner materials at the grocery store, and he is unfamiliar with this specific recipe and needs more input about which product to purchase. Julia is the expert chef, but she is at another location, so instead of snapping photos of specific items, he decides to call Julia and have her view the options in real time so she can tell him which one to buy. Why does he use video chat for this? Because he saves time panning across the shelf with the video camera opposed to attaching photos one by one. While on the call, after a decent connection is established, and both parties can clearly hear and view each other, Jaime flips the camera around from selfie mode to the items on the shelf. I tested this feature on the application, and it worked okay, but the connection had a slower response depending upon the wi-fi.

 

That scenario made me curious, so next, I wanted to test the speed of the application when I minimized the video and opened another application. Let's say that in Jaime's case, he needs to access the recipe in his email while they are talking. I practiced opening other apps to check for any hindrances, but the minimized video remained on the screen until I was ready to maximize it again. If it was in the way, I could just slide it around out of the way, so there was no hindrance. Perhaps, though, when multitasking in a high-stress situation, moving the minimized video window would be annoying, but in terms of basic functionality, it worked great.

 

What are some other scenarios where a user would need to access other apps during a video call? There are many possibilities, maybe they are running errands and need to check their bank account but do not want to hang up the call, or they receive a text message from another person that requires an urgent response, or they need to reference an email about event details while simultaneously continuing the video call. Whatever the situation, at some point the video call will need to be minimized, the app may need to exit briefly, then the user will resume the call after the side task is complete. I noticed there was a delay with minimizing and maximizing the video, which I brought to their attention. Also, a user may forget what they referenced or need to reference additional resources during the same call, so it is important that the call quality is not affected, and that the video screens are as responsive as possible.

I think that a screen sharing option would also be helpful, but that was not in the scope of this project.

 4. Locate icon and exit video chat. 

The button is colored in red to signify STOP. When we see the color red we are reminded of a stop sign which is red, so therefore, intuitively, users associate red with that action of stopping.

*The phone images are the property of Facebook, and I placed the circles, arrows, and text above them to illustrate the process used in this fictional user study. In a meeting with a client, I have been known to sketch on top of current products, sketch by hand, use red lines, wireframes, or any other artifact that is used for each step of the product creation process. Each product is unique and I do not use a one size fits all approach. I learn whatever tools are necessary to achieve the product results that meet or exceed the goals set by the shareholders.

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