Tools I used:
Google Play Store
There is only one app that is specifically designed for finding pickup games of Ultimate Frisbee... and unfortunately it isn't very good. The interface is lackluster, location options are limited, and there is no ability to communicate with other players. It didn't even work properly when I tried running it on my phone (a Huawei Honor 8 running the latest Android).
I am an avid Ultimate player myself, so I decided to create the app I wanted myself. It would fill a niche in the Ultimate community.
Let's start by looking at PickupMe, the aforementioned app already in the market.
Overall the design feels bland and stark. There is a lot of empty space that could be utilized better.
The most important information on the page -- date and time of games -- run together in a single line of numbers and symbols, without much visual distinction to help with information processing. As a result, the information is not as clear and readable as it should be.
Another small issue is that the settings icon is too close to the lefthand side of the screen.
On a positive note, the card layout is a good choice. It helps to visually "chunk" information.
Another thing I liked is the ability to indicate attendance, and see how many other players are going. I decided to emulate these later in my design.
Here in the settings page, we need more options for location.
Looking at the email field, it's not clear why we're being asked for this or what our email will be used for.
And finally, the two shades of green on this page are different! Visual consistency is important.
Let's take a look at some of the user-types who will use this app and what their needs are. Having played for many years myself, I am personally familiar with each of these personas.
Just passing through and looking for a quick game. Interested in quickly searching based on location to see games in the area.Needs map / routing functions since he won't be familiar with the area.
New to the area, moved with her job. Looking to meet people and connect with the Ultimate scene. She will also need map / routing since she won't be familiar with the area yet.But she might also appreciate features that let her connect with other players to get to know them and form relationships.
He has lived here a while but is just starting Ultimate.He has relationships in the area and it might make him more comfortable to bring out people he knows with him. So he might use an "invite friends" feature.
Comes to pickup whenever and wherever it happens.Appreciates social tools to connect with his Ultimate buddies.Will want some feature to view games based on location to see all that is happening in his area.
Comes to pickup whenever it doesn't conflict with his club team / tournament schedule.Appreciates a calendar tool to view games by date to see when he'll be able to come.
As I started sketching ideas for my own app, I knew I wanted to use the card layout and group information logically. I also added an event detail page with a map and the ability to comment.
I tried several arrangements of the card layout in Balsamiq, thinking I should perhaps use buttons of some kind along the bottom row.
At this point I needed to get a feel for color, size, and weight. So I went into my vector illustration program and mocked it up a few different ways.
The image on the left is my initial attempt. It felt like there was too much white space, and I couldn't fit many cards on the screen. So I tried several smaller iterations (the right image), using color and space to differentiate the information.
I ended up going with the top right option. I chose it for its simple, clean look, and the fact that it looked good with multiple cards on the screen. (Some of the dark elements didn't look as good with 3-4 events on the screen). Below is what the home screen looks like with these cards.
After the home screen, the rest of the app was relatively straightforward:
The ability to chat about a particular game with others who are attending is really helpful to Ultimate players. And it provides a convenient opportunity for Jamie who Just Moved In to get to know other players.
The map view is great for Paul the Pickup Champ to see everything happening in the area. Tommy from Out of Town benefits from this view, too, since he can use it to get directions.
The user can search at the bottom to change location.
Here on the calendar view, I made a modified card with the same visual style, but abbreviated information. Date info is not necessary since it is expressed in the calendar window. Green dots represent events the player has chosen to attend. Red dots are events the player has not chosen to attend.
For Tim the Tournament Player, and other busy individuals, this will be a particularly helpful view.
Finally, the profile page contains miscellaneous settings and statistics. It also allows you to sign in / out of a social account (such as Google+). The app will use this information to get your name and profile pic for comments. It can also send you notifications when others comment, or a new game is posted.
Now I have to code the app! (Or partner with someone else who will)
Once I have a working prototype, I'll go out and do user testing. Then data analysis and design revisions. This page will be updated as the process moves along. Stay tuned!