Golf Channel's GolfNow Mobile App

2010
ROLE
Contract UX Lead
Proposed, led and completed all activities described.
THE CHALLENGE
The Product Manager had created a concept defined in a PPT with color mock-ups of 8 Droid-based app screens with a blue background, green tiles and white fonts.
The primary objective of the app is to provide users with anywhere, anytime access to discounted tee times.
Features include notifications of deals from favorite courses or areas, and access to reservations.
I was asked to review the concept and help flesh out the design for Droid.
Product Manager's Conceptual Design including features and visual design
CONSIDERATIONS
My client was the VP of Technology not Product Management who wanted the organization to see the value of UX that the E! and Style organizations just experienced with me.
This was a very visible project within Golf Channel that had executives’ attention.
Dates were committed to the executives and Apple as soon as it was announced I would be added to the project.
An effort to establish a new agency and a rebranding effort was in the works.
The new agency was expected to do User Experience work including User Research.
The VP of Technology was familiar with UCD and wanted to see Personas and Scenarios.
Everyone at the Golf Channel plays golf and thinks they know the users.
THE APPROACH
Given my primary charge was to expose the teams to UCD and the value of Usability, I wanted to balance giving the teams tools to help them focus on the users and flesh out the features and flow quickly. I also worked as collaboratively as the team is willing to engage.
The Industry Perspective
I quickly conducted a competitive analysis to identify a baseline release and identify how to differentiate the mobile app from competitors and influencing apps with similar interaction design patterns such as Fandango, Yelp, etc. The team also weighed in with their preferences of interaction design patterns for searching and scheduling.
Validating the Product Concept + Understanding the Users and Tasks
With only 3 weeks to complete the sessions and design a solution, I devised an approach to interview the participant and validate the product and feature concepts, while evaluating the usability of the primary task flow – Booking a tee time in 1 60-minute session. I worked with the marketing team to piggy-back on email blasts to recruit up 30-50 users. One of the highest no-show rates I have seen. Incentive was a $50 GC and an entry to win a high-end golf club.
Using a clickable prototype with mock data (two visual designs), I asked participants to complete tasks using both prototypes in A/B testing and elicited expectations about proposed features and learned more about them and their golf games.
THE RESULTS
The product concept was well received, and features were vetted saving the team time and money from developing 2 features that were simply not relevant. The satisfaction survey revealed a preference for the mobile version of the desktop version by current customers.
The user tasks and variations were identified and documented to empower the team to inform their business and design decisions. I defined user profiles as the new agency should do more robust user research – delivering proper personas, and I don’t want to set a base for confusion that introduced the team to research-driven understandings of users.
To save confusion User Profiles – not personas, were defined to communicate findings and convey to the team insights about golfers and distinct groups of golfers they had not considered.
Overall the effort met the VP of Technology’s goals in introducing the team to User Experience: The team immediately embraced the results! The sales team noted the insights would be useful insights for relationship building with the course customers.
The direction of the product and features were explored with two of them not resonating with users.
The flow and design patterns were vetted.
Usability of the mobile app was ensured!
My work was later transferred to iOS version.
Final Visual Design was completed by an external agency in a rebranding effort.
DELIVERABLES
Presentation of Results
User Profiles
Annotated Flow
Annotated Wireframes
HTML Prototype

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