User research | User interviews | Describing personas and scenarios | User stories & journeys | Competitive analysis | Feature analysis | User flows | Rapid sketches (low) | Wireframes (mid) | Digital prototyping (mid/hi) | External usability testing | Versioning | Illustration
User stories & journeys
Rapid sketches (low)
Digital prototyping (mid/hi)
External usability testing
About Opensignal Ltd.
Opensignal’s mission is to reveal the truth about the user experience on major network operators around the globe, by measuring and applying scientific analysis to billions of on-device measurements.
Their data is crowdsourced thanks to users of the Opensignal app, which at the moment I write this case study, has over 20 million downloads and a 4.2-star rating on Google Play.
Starring: Malgo as a designer, teamed up with Teresa as a product manager
Problems and challenges
People download the app for its functionalities, but the retention rate is low.
👉 To design to gather more data: by answering user needs, increase the number of speed tests, background tests, user count and retention.
As a company, Opensignal went through a rebranding while the app didn’t.
👉 The app should be more sound instead of geeky; align the visual communication with the company strategy.
👉 The app could become a medium, promoting Opensignal Ltd. as the indisputable Gold Standard, with credible and innovative analytics.
New metrics to showcase coming together with new business directions.
👉 Allow scalability for upcoming metrics, like Video Testing, Voice Experience, and features that are recommended from the business point of view.
👉 Reduce problematic features and test ideas for new ones. Decrease usability problems and restructure outdated logic of the navigation.
The final design is expected to set up the direction, while development would be completed in several rounds, step by step.
Critique of the Opensignal App
We lose lots of users in the sea of difficulties they face from start.
The existing Opensignal app delivers useful functionalities, however, is lacking intuitiveness. The onboarding process doesn’t help to understand the purpose and logic of the app.
Some of the features attract users but don’t work correctly. Often people uninstall the Opensignal app and leave an unsurprisingly low rating. It’s a retention and reliability issue – a big one for a company that seeks to demonstrate scientifically correct data.
(based on Android 2019, Q1)
Available on desktop
As the starting point, we see six functionalities in one screen – bulky. Cell towers and Wifi buttons let travel into two different maps, but not the one displayed in the top-level nav under the map icon – this is the third map! Confusing.
Dashboard – Onboarding
Onboarding is hazy. The particular feature presented above seems not to work, and even the best explanation can’t help if this happens. It should be explained what the user can do to get this feature working.
Speed Test Tab
The speed test tab has a standard, safe look, but also… no personality. We will need to find space to showcase our new types of tests – like video or sound-focused tests. This screen might become the heart of the app!
Speed Test – Result
The speed test results are shown as a pop-up dialog, so there is no sense of a structured synthesis. They are expressed only by numbers, without any easy to grasp data representation. Very geeky. I didn’t get the desirable feel of an integrated, continuous flow.
I can see a value in the information provided, but I wouldn’t make any choice regarding changing my provider knowing only this data. Also, the pieces of information displayed in two separated screens are not handy – I can’t compare providers in one eye-blink.
Stats don’t deliver attractive information about network usage. Also, it’s not easy to understand what “Time by network type” means. The selection method is not handy. The app made 79 measurements, 15 minutes after I installed it. This might not seem beneficial to users, rather scary!
And what did our users have to say about the Opensignal app?
“Collects way too much information in exchange for almost no practical usage.”
“Coverage map useless when I zoom in to check my location. Frustrating”
“(…)it’s completely a bogus app … the details shown are absolutely wrong”
Can I pick other networks to check or just default network that I’m using?
I spent some time to walk through signal-oriented products developed by key competitors and checked how are they performing regarding functionality, user-friendliness, and concept implementation. This helped me to identify opportunities, gaps in their services, and potential design patterns to adopt or avoid.
People might cope with lots of issues and emotions while they need improving their connectivity.
Why is my connection poor? How can I improve it?
Is my provider good?
Should I rely on Wifi or cellular connection?
Do other people have similar problems?
Together with Teresa, the product manager, we carried user research.
Teresa and Malgo in action
We conducted online one-to-one interviews with existing users interested in improving their internet speed, struggling with signal problems or poor coverage. This gave us an in-depth understanding of use-cases (everyday life/business/leisure activities/office-work/city/suburbs), motivators, behaviours, and pain points.
We sent surveys to app users or external interviewers found on forums.
We examined the reviews left by users of the current app; particularly looking for use cases, but also to address the impact of on-working functionalities or other obstacles.
Later on, I wrote persona profiles and user stories.
Addressing personas & user stories
Understanding personas and writing user stories allow walking in shoes of users. It takes time, but it’s a well-spent time; a great starting point before moving to user flows and wireframes.
Also, telling the stories and bringing use cases together is a powerful tool to get a team on the same page, so everyone understands who are our users and what problem they have.
I focused on the most pressing problems that people try to solve through our app and delivered realistic use cases. Later I translated these stories into user flows.
One of our key personas
Stationary: Active Job Style
Lauren lives in a big city. She works as a career consultant. For work, she meets lots of people out of office, many times combines several meetings in video calls.
She is not happy with her mobile operator. The Internet is too sluggish to video call and upload live promotional content on her Instagram.
She is wondering if objectively she is right to complain about the operators’ coverage and which operator would be the best for specific locations where she spends time.
Smooth connection across most visited spots. Find a tool to monitor speed and discover the best solution.
No Wifi in the spot! No coverage!
Some of the initial user flows/rapid sketches
Further research and design evaluation
In the later phase, I’ve created the whole spectrum of options, seeking retention features attractive to users which at the same time would be aligned with the company strategy. For several weeks, I’ve tested with over twenty actual users the onboarding process, new flows, revamped presentation of past and new features.
As the implementation is still due, some of these changes have already been brought to life, some haven’t yet.
Summary of improvements
I restructured outdated, inconsistent navigation.
I added space for upcoming metrics and features.
I designed new onboarding – explaining the value of the app and permissions.
I rephrased explanations so they are more understandable: geeky 👉 smart.
I crafted the new character of the app: more friendly and understandable.
I led the rebranding of the app.
(examples from the 2nd round)
Branding & tone of voice
As mentioned, Opensignal as a company came through rebranding so also the app had to reflect it. From a company collecting and sharing coverage maps or speed data, it grew into a firm bringing analytics solutions for the mobile industry.
The company went through rebranding between 2018 and 2019 (new version on the right)
I defined a palette, based on new visual communication of Opensignal Ltd. I ensured that also the verbal communication in the app is aligned with the mission of the company, keeping in mind that the app and company are not the same.
The language should be tech-savvy but not geeky, informative but concise, scientific but not excluding. Helpful and warm.
The concept for the new name, My Opensignal came from Teresa. I loved her idea, as it was simply completing our goals (to differentiate the app from the company), at the same time it symbolised something personal and was not risky like a complete change of the name.