Accou

Accou is a fictional product created as part of a six-day case study focused on Human-centered design. The goal was to create a central place where digital accounts and their remaining data could be controlled by selected people and continued to be managed in the event of one’s own demise.

If you were asked right now how many digital accounts you have, could you list them all? Because I can’t. Probably most of us have a huge collection of accounts, and it’s getting bigger as life goes on. But have you ever wondered what happens to all those accounts in the event of your death? Or, to put it another way, what happens to your digital footprint?

This question defined our challenge and the way we tried to tackle this problem. Through repeated user testing and a strong focus on Human-centered design, we created a concept and high-fidelity prototype.

My Role

  • User Interface Design
  • User Experience Design

What was achieved

  • Concept and low-fidelity prototype
  • Problem identification and resolution through the involvement of users in the design process and various user tests
  • High-fidelity prototype

Research and Competitor analysis

After bringing the ideas down, we started a research phase looking at existing solutions and approaches. Our research has shown that many existing solutions are based on a traditional will. Most importantly, they are not based on a true transfer of one’s “digital fingerprint” to a selected person in a closed ecosystem.

However, we found some services that took a different approach and offered self-deletion after a certain period of inactivity instead of data transfer.

Ideation

It was up to us in which direction we wanted to go with our project, so we first started with an ideation process. In a first brainstorming session we worked out different ideas by writing down current and future issues.

Using a subsequent Crazy-8-method, we broke down our ideas so that we could already start with initial wireframe sketches on paper, which inspire further discussion and helped us think about possible ways forward.

The user in focus

1. User testing

To gain insight into user behavior, we asked students in our school cafeteria to complete several tasks in our low-fidelity prototype. We observed their behavior and found various weaknesses and ambiguities in our concept, such as bad navigation points and confusion in the profile settings. After the usability test, we categorized and prioritized the results (shown below) and integrated them into an improved version of our low-fidelity prototype.

2. Card-sorting workshop

With the improved version, we proceeded to do a card sorting workshop to test the structure and navigation of the app. For this purpose, we created two categories on post-its, one representing terms from the main structure and the other from the navigation of the app. Respondents were then asked to match the subcategories to the correct top categories. Most of our hierarchy was reproduced correctly – that was a success.

Insights

As a result of several user tests we were able to improve some things. For a better overview, here is a before/after comparison of the most important changes.

After the improvement: The navigation is extended. This separates profile and estate, which brings more logic into the app and less confusion for the user.
Before the improvement: The navigation is divided into three categories
After: We gave the user the possibility to edit an existing account.
Before: Users were having a hard time to find out how to edit and save changes on an existing account.
After: Solution info and quick access to estate management can optionally be displayed on 
any screen if not filled in.
Before: Old homescreen without information box 
and quick access.
After: The user is now guided through each individual step. A checkbox ensures that the user has read the information.
Before: The sections were overloaded with too much information. These settings are very important and have to be done step by step.

Design

We took inspiration for the design from the 2020 niche design trend – Newmorphism, a newer version of Skeuomorphism. We knew it could be tricky, since none of our team had actually used this design language before. But since this was a fictional product, we had nothing to lose, so we tried to simulate analog behavior on a digital interface. During the design process, as we had already guessed, we encountered some difficulties, which are described in more detail in the challenges. Take a closer look at the final designs:

Challenges

Complexity

Problem

One challenge was to explain the complexity of a digital will to the user in a simple understandable way.

How was the problem solved?

By testing with real people, we were able to identify problem areas and get direct feedback from users, which allowed us to reduce the complexity of a will by reducing unnecessary or confusing steps or even entire UI elements.

User Interface

Problem

With Newmorphism several problems appeared in the design process, such as: contrast problems, lack of distinguishability of elements, low freedom of design, etc.

How was the problem solved?

We tried to counteract the problems by taking a step back and using a mix of Newmorphism and individual UI elements based on Flat Design. In conclusion, I would say that it was fun to try out Newmorphism, but I definitely wouldn’t use it again for a next project.