Working in collaboration with Microsoft, we sought to answer the question– How can we get millennials to use Outlook? I started out by surveying millennials to understand how they manage their time, and found that the results were closely tied to social activity. The resulting concept that developed involved tapping into the energy millennials invest into social networks.
Research was conducted using quantitative methods to determine areas of focus. Follow up interviews were conducted to dive deep on those areas. I discovered that Millennials placed a lot of value in flexibility with their time. I also found an interesting correlation between social activities and time management, which I decided to pursue.
A challenge of the research phase was that I wasn't allowed to interview art & design students for this project. I had to find a way to reach out to other universities. I found the best way to accomplish this was to find one person from another university, and ask them to recommend their friends to me afterwards. Since I was doing this without a budget, I needed to keep the surveys and interviews brief and entertaining.
My first prototype was a scan-able calendar. This concept was based on my findings on the importance of flexibility, and the discrepancy between virtual and physical planning methods.
The Microsoft representatives determined this concept was too technically difficult to accomplish. My second concept was beginning to take form from the things that I had learned from the first at this point.
The second concept, connecting social media with Outlook, was originally thought of as a plug-in or sponsored content for various social media apps. It would later evolve into a native Outlook function.
To test my assumptions, I recruited some research subjects who would send me their plan for the day. Throughout the day, they would send me pictures of what they were up to. My assumption was that this would keep them accountable of their normal day. After comparing the results with a control day, in which they would send me their schedule but not pictures, most subjects found they achieved more of their time management goals. All of them found that they were more aware of their schedule when sending pictures.
I took the learnings from this study and applied them to the various modes of sharing that would be possible in my prototype.
My prototype had 5 different use cases. Their uses range from accountability to quickly sharing an event with a friend.
I chose to keep these features native within Outlook, and to link to various applications from there. This was to keep the experience native, and to encourage users to stay on top of their schedule before sharing with others.
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