Underwater Basket-Weaving

Due to the privacy policies governing this design solution, I am unfortunately unable to publicly display the actual mockup/information as part of my portfolio. At the request of said privacy concerns, the names and information in this mockup have been slightly altered. Out of respect for design, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.

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UBWA Official Logo

Client: UBWA

Task: Streamline cumbersome registration

Scope: 2 weeks

Tools: Adobe XD 

OVERVIEW

It’s been known for quite some time that underwater basket weaving carries with it a certain amount of inherent risk. Take for example, the case of Tangaroa Smith-Mena, the legendary underwater basket weaver who barely escaped the clutches of the deep sea when his basket weaving materials nearly punctured his oxygen tank and would have made for an immediate ascent, risking of course decompression sickness. Fortunately, Tangaroa was an expert underwater basket weaver, and immediately leaned on his years of experience and emergency protocols allowing him to escape the treacherous situation. Unfortunately, others have not been so lucky.

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Tangaroa Smith-Mena on his SCUBA Certification Dive, circa 2013.

The UBWA (Underwater Basketweaving Association, pronounced OO-boo-wah) has estimated that since it’s introduction into the official list of elite sports in 2012, somewhere between 83 and 174 divers have tragically lost their lives. To combat this tragedy, and mitigate further loss of life, UBWA has created a set of strict guidelines and protocols that divers must adhere to before being cleared for a dive.

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Original Application that users would have to fill out. (Note: Image blurred due to privacy regulations surrounding my original work).

That’s the good news. The bad news is, as you may well know, any time a government agency implements strict guidelines and protocols, it tends to be... rather difficult to digest. Forms, such as the ones seen above, lasting longer than select Harry Potter novels would take users hours to complete. For years, users have complained about how the documents were “difficult to read,” “hard to process,” and “even harder to fill out.” The documents were so difficult to go through, jokes were made that the text may as well have been written in a foreign language.

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Excerpt from 2004 classic Japanese thriller “Doll Restaurant.”

Some users even going as far as alleging that the documents were intentionally made impossible to fill out so that diving time slots could be reserved for government officials… Allegations aside, if the Underwater Basket Weaving Association wanted to stay relevant, they had to update their registration system, fast.

PROBLEM

Users found UBWA’s Dive registration system difficult to navigate and tremendously out of date. Users have mentioned that it is considerably difficult to simply register for dives, turning many potential athletes off from the sport entirely.

GOAL

Convert a tedious, difficult to navigate Dive Registration document into an

intuitive web based application process that can streamline dive site registrations for users and save them time.

Wu-Tang Clan is not anything to beleaguer. Created in Procreate.

RESEARCH

User Interviews

The first step in arriving at an optimal solution was, of course, sitting down with our users and obtaining their experienced point of view. Granted, this project was done during the harrowing times of COVID-19, and while we were unable to actually sit with users, we spoke virtually with 13 users and picked their brain nonetheless on how the existing system worked. 

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The places we were trying to avoid taking our users. Created in Procreate.

Many users indicated what seemed to be all too common knowledge. The documents that needed to be filled were tedious, laborious, and downright maddening. Spending 4 hours to go through a 9 page document only to register for a 2.25 hour dive seemed...well, pestiferous. 

Users wanted a more streamlined approach that gently guided them through the application, without showing them questions and requirements that perhaps didn’t apply to them, so they could have more of their life back. And really, who can argue with that?

DESIGN

The first step implemented to save users time when translating from physical paper to digital application seemed rather obvious. Instead of pilfering through countless questions that may or may not relate to the user registering for a particular dive, users are “driven” towards a set of questions based on their previous answers. If they are registering for a deep dive, then there is no need for them to be shown questions regarding shallow dives.

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Drop down tool used to select which Dive to register for, and can include any notes in the right hand section.

The second step in saving users time and providing a better experience overall is to install a document required checklist in the application itself. Instead of flipping through a lengthy, word dense section to check which document they have attached, users could now quickly scan the checklist for said documents.

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Users can select which documents they have already uploaded to their profile.

As users continue to progress through the application, they are presented with sections only relevant to them. In this example below, having selected “Deepwater Dive” in the first section, our user here is not able to fill out Section II, information for Shallow Dives only.

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Information that does not allow for interaction.

Finally, instead of a cumbersome word document where data fields must be entered while the underline characters deleted (quite aggravating indeed), users are able to simply input the amount of money they have “donated” directly into the application. Users are immediately shown what the difference is between how much they submit and how much is “owed” and can quickly see if the difference is greater than 10%, in which case they must donate their annual salary to a Global Warming charity of UBWA’s choosing.

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A “Smart” chart implementation allows users to quickly input data and see the output without their handy TI-83.

A NOTE ON VISUAL DESIGN

It may be asked, “Why does the aesthetic of this design seem so…outdated?” And it would be a fair question indeed. While sitting down with our users, we discovered something that would drive a large portion of the design process. Our users were, for the most part, considerably senior in age. The average UBWA athlete must first obtain a Master Scuba diving license AND have served as a Fleet Admiral in the Navy before being able to even apply for a UBWA Certificate.

As such, our users tended to be 50 to 70 years old. There was, of course, tremendous temptation to make the application flashy, and include with it the latest design trends and interactions, but our users simply wouldn’t be accustomed to such an interface. As such, we delivered an application that would not only save them time, but would also eliminate the distraction and loss of time that comes with learning a new system of interface.

A SECOND ITERATION

During this sprint, I proposed to Product the idea of having a navigation/information link/icon next to the checklist documents presented in section two. This would allow users to hover over the information icon to get explanatory guidance on what said document was. They could even click the document listing and an example document would display, clarifying the requirement for the user.

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An Information button on hover.

While the idea was well received by both the Product and Development, there were some concerns about implementation within the allotted time. A fear of not being able to deliver a polished information/link database interface ultimately kept this idea as such, just an idea; however, if the design were to undergo a second iteration, I would strongly suggest this addition to further eliminate confusion the user may face.

MOCKUP

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UBWA Dive Registration with sections collapsed.
Full Mockup