Passport

Passport is an app I prototyped as a side project.

In recent years there's been an onset of apps that introduce phone numbers needed for only a short period of time. For example, consider:

  • The various Airbnb hosts you contacted for an upcoming Vancouver trip 

  • The doctor guy from Hinge you might meet up with

  • The buyer interested in your acoustic guitar for sale

People often avoid adding these numbers to their phone's Contacts list, a chore that 1) takes effort and 2) unintentionally elevates transient contacts to ones of permanence. But leaving contacts unidentified results in some awkward received phone calls and a text message list that looks like this:

Solution

Passport makes adding temporary contacts low-effort and transient by pulling in unidentified phone numbers from messaging history, and allowing the user to assign "friendly" names to them. The names are temporarily added to the user's phone contacts, and deleted after a user-defined deletion time.

 

This results in clean, user-friendly text message lists without the full committal of adding a number to one's phone contacts forever.

Prototype demo video (with voiceover)

Below is a quick narrated demo of a final prototype of the app.

My role

All aspects, including initial concept, research, interaction, prototyping, visual, and information architecture 

Process

Validation

I interviewed a variety of people to understand a range of customer needs and habits. The 8 customers I interviewed 1) confirmed the idea was relevant, 2) provided me insight into top scenarios and apps with temporary numbers (dating, services, and social), and 3) helped me create a persona of my intended user.

I optimized the design for the subset for whom it resonated most strongly. This included people who were technologically literate, 18-30 years old, and heavy users of at least 2 apps that provided temporary contacts. I created a persona for my target customer to keep myself in the shoes of the customer.

UX goals

My UX goals shaped my design thinking going forward.​

1. Emphasize transience

Adding contacts should feel non-commital. The app should bring focus to deletion dates, and make deletion timers obvious and accessible.

2. Effortless categorization

People don't want to add someone to their OS contacts in part because it's too much effort. This app needs to make storing contact information feel effortless.

Pattern exploration & Wireframes

Identifying existing patterns is an important part of my process. I explored and analyzed other contacts apps, like the iOS default and top apps in the category from the App Store. Some key takeaways were:

  • Show only the most relevant information at the top level. Provide a way for user to access more information only if they choose to.

  • Quick scanning or searching is easiest when the list is primarily neutral colors and contains visual anchors (icons)

Below are some early brainstorms and wireframes.

UX prototyping & User testing

Testing with users led to several interaction changes. For instance, originally uncategorized contacts appeared in a simple list format. Users said that categorizing still "feels like a chore, not something I want to do." I explored options around user delight and gamification, and arrived at the successful cards version.

Interaction details

Below are some design details, and rationale behind those decisions.

Recent unidentified contacts as cards

(Video)

Primary views: Contacts and Categories
Contact cell
Contacts expand inline

An expand-inline model keeps the user in context by exposing additional details as a 'peek', rather than adding weight through an entirely new detail view

(Video)

Edit/New contact

The Edit/New partial-screen overlay keeps the user focused on the new view but is still contextual. The number of input fields is intentionally limited, and scoped to fit in a single view for quick entry.

Add New Category

While a few top apps are responsible for 90% of unidentified numbers to most users, I found that several scenarios still don't fit neatly into an 'app' bucket. To solve this, users can create a new, customizable category.

Outcome

Based on user testing of the prototype, this app has market potential. My next step is to find a developer to implement it on Android. (Due to technical constraints, it is not possible on iOS.)

© 2020 by Ashwini Purohit