Ohana is a project I started with two of my colleagues from Mapify. We were interested in exploring the personal Customer Relationship Management (CRM) space since we had personally experienced challenges in managing and maintaining relationships. Ohana was an exploratory research project in UX/UI.
For people with a lot of diverse relationships, maintaining them is difficult. There are no easy tools for maintaining contact with friends and colleagues, and people often tackle this task in their own unique ways. The challenge for Ohana was to build a single platform for customising contact management.
First, we talked to potential users and found three major areas that are crucial for seamless contact management:
1. An organised and easy to view Contact list
2. The ability to Search specific people
3. And a Home screen that displays important reminders and upcoming events
Next, I started ideating, wire-framing, and prototyping the solutions to these three areas. Usually, I start with just scribbling creative ideas in my notebook but with this project, I started wire-framing components right away. Why? Because I was able to quickly iterate and execute on early adopter's feedback.
The goal of the Contacts List is simple: present personal information in an easy to understand way. I prioritised name and occupation as the main descriptors, with the ability to see when users last contacted one another. Taking inspiration from outside of the phonebook address book market space, I added hidden customisable features for power users, such as: the ability to group contacts, describe relationships, and plan meet-ups. We wanted the Contacts List to be powerful, but still easy to use thanks to a simple and clear interface.
Users we've interviewed described a need to search through extensive networks. Therefore, we couldn’t stop by simply searching for a user’s name. We had to include the ability to search for users based on location, occupation, and network connections. Thanks to suggestions, users wouldn’t be overwhelmed by all the choices.
Finally, we needed to create an interactive home for displaying extra information, such as reminders, and upcoming events. I wanted to clearly separate the different streams of information, and therefore grouped them in different boxes. Sizing of these boxes indicated importance to the user—i.e. the larger the grouping, the more important the information based on personal preferences.
In addition to the described product design, I also set up a new design system that allowed us to keep consistency across the entire product. Unlike the traditional framework, I created for the Mapify project, for this design system I gave myself room for experimentation.
I came up with a unique structure that allowed me to see in real-time, how components were overlayed within the platform. However, the increased effort of recreating the entire application was not worth the subtle reward of increased visualisation. Nonetheless, experimenting with a new design system was a great learning experience.