Rand McNally Geocaching

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Rand McNally Geocaching: A mobile app that provides a unique and educational geocaching experience.

Challenge

Rand McNally (RM) wants to venture into the geocaching industry. They chart and produce maps, atlases, textbooks and globes, GPSes and truck fleet management technology.

 

Result

A geocaching mobile app that leverages Rand McNally's already-existing educational content into a curated, education and community-focused geocaching experience appropriate for all ages.

What I did

  • Market research/competitive analysis
  • Contextual inquiry
  • Online survey writing and deployment
  • Synthesis of research into personas, key user flows, a journey map
  • Digital wireframes 
  • Usability testing
 

 

Before and After

Previously: Website with Product Listings

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 12.16.27 AM.png

Proposed: Geocaching Mobile App

 

Summary

Project Type: Mobile app design

Timeline: 2 weeks

Tools used: SketchInVisionKeynoteTypeform

Role: UX researcher and designer in a team of 3, with Marie Mika and Windsor Silva

Deliverables: 

 

 

Research

My team and I dug deep into researching Rand McNally and the geocaching landscape to ensure we were solving the right problem. To understand the geocaching landscape we...

Click to see the survey.

Click to see the survey.

...surveyed our classmates using Typeform and posted flyers with the QR code on the General Assembly and REI community boards. 

With one of our gracious interviewees.

With one of our gracious interviewees.

With another one of our gracious interviewees.

With another one of our gracious interviewees.

...spoke with current geocachers by going to REI and subtly approaching people in the backpacking and GPS sections

Takeaways from our first geocaching experience (contextual inquiry helped us better understand the rewards and motivation behind geocaching).

...went geocaching ourselves to understand the experience

Competitive analysis of other players in the geocaching mobile app space.

Competitive analysis of other players in the geocaching mobile app space.

...did secondary research via online forums and competitive analysis.

 

Results

Our research helped us answer the question "what does geocaching mean to geocachers?"

Primary research findings:

  • Community 
  • Camaraderie
  • Accomplishment
  • Peripheral Discovery
  • Fun

Secondary research: findings

  • Travel-based geocaching (national/international)
  • Friendly competition around cache collecting
  • “Old School” vs. “New School”
  • Integrity of caches/community

Key discovery: 

While geocaching.com's mobile app seems to have a large share of the geocaching market, geocaching is still a developing industry that offers Rand McNally an opportunity to create a new customer experience that is consistent with the brand image and specialty.

 

 

Synthesis

Marie and I thinking through our main persona's, Cara's, user story.

Marie and I thinking through our main persona's, Cara's, user story.

The whiteboard and I are good friends when it comes to synthesizing research into personas.

Part of my journey map of project 3. 

 

Personas & User Flows

Primary Persona: Cara, Summer Camper

Secondary Persona: Rocky, Camp Counselor

 

 

Mobile App Concept, User Scenario, Features

Based on our research, we hypothesized that a geocaching mobile app with a focus on education and building community is the optimal way for Rand McNally to enter the geocaching space. We looked at mobile apps with strong social/community aspects for feature and design ideas, such a Facebook, Instagram, Swarm and Strava.

Context for our mobile app:

  • Rocky is a camp counselor and needs an activity for his campers that is educational, builds teamwork, is fun and can be done on camp grounds. He decides to have his campers go geocaching and creates caches and a challenge for them to play.
  • Cara and her team use their assigned smartphone to access Rocky's geocaching challenge and find the caches.
  • Upon finding all the caches, her team earns a medal, logs their experiences, and heads back to camp.

Recommended features:

  • Create a profile
  • Add friends
  • Create caches and challenges
  • Education lessons
  • Various maps
  • Hints  
  • Log activity
  • Win awards 
  • Add photos to logs 
  • In-app chatting

Other features:

  • Reviews
  • Links to Rand McNally’s website, store and blog
  • In-app photo editing
  • In-app tracking of friends
 
 

 

Initial Sketches

Initial sketches, done by my teammate Windsor.

Initial sketches, done by my teammate Windsor.

 

 

Low-Fidelity Digital Wireframes

Cara's user flow, screen by screen, created in Sketch.

 

 

User Testing & Iteration

Using our paper and greyscale wireframes, Windsor and I conducted 4 user tests and incorporated feedback into our design, such as:

  • "The icons by themselves are confusing" -> added labels under each icon
  • "I'm not sure of what to do" -> building out more screens to show the geocaching process would help our testers better understand the task
  • There was general uncertainty about what information the profile option would include
  • Potentially add a group feature since geocachers doing a challenge together may do so in groups rather than solo
Windsor and I had gone off on our own to create the first prototype of this mobile app, so our initial user test was on our other teammate, Marie.

Windsor and I had gone off on our own to create the first prototype of this mobile app, so our initial user test was on our other teammate, Marie.

 

 

Key Findings

  1. Involve Rand McNally in the geocaching experience by enabling users to access and utilize Rand McNally’s extensive maps and lesson plans when creating or hunting a cache
  2. There are only a couple players in the geocaching industry, suggesting that Rand McNally may be in the ideal position to enter the industry
  3. Geocaching can be a strongly social activity and can be appropriate for almost anyone, in various environments and social contexts. This widens the potential audience of Rand McNally’s brand and products
  4. Consider developing a tablet app after or alongside mobile app development, as a Rand McNally geocaching app would work well on both mediums
  5. Offer features that mix social interaction, friendship-building, competition, rewards, and education into a geocaching experience that is unique to Rand McNally
  6. Conduct further research and user testing to refine the mobile app’s core capabilities and strategize timing and business priorities for Rand McNally’s entry into the geocaching industry.

Business Recommendations

  1. Create a mobile app that leverages the various mapping and educational resources Rand McNally already offers to provide consumers with a new medium and opportunity for engagement with the brand
  2. Focus on fostering a Rand McNally geocaching community and social media usage within the app to beat competitors, build relationships with consumers, and keep consumers engaged with the Rand McNally geocaching experience
  3. Curate and ensure a safe, educational experience through the app to build customer trust and keep the experience with Rand McNally’s services and products consistent across mediums
 

 

Mockups and Prototype: Coming soon!

 

 

Final Thoughts

This project had many layers and it was challenging and thought-provoking to figure out

  • how to make the brand of the mobile app consistent with the existing website
  • how to differentiate RM's geocaching app from existing ones
  • what actionable recommendations to the business we could extract from research findings

 

My illustration of the Geocaching with Rand McNally Project 3 journey.

Windsor, Marie and me after a very productive day of filtering through all our research and hypotheses and narrowing down our focus to a key persona and her user flow.

Windsor, Marie and me after a very productive day of filtering through all our research and hypotheses and narrowing down our focus to a key persona and her user flow.