Our Daily Bread App UX
Art Director, UX Architect, UX Designer, UX Researcher
UX Design (Contract)
Aubree Berg: Prototyping
The Our Daily Bread app delivers the daily devotional content that is so popular with opportunities to engage via comments, bookmarks and journaling. It's most recent design evolution back in 2016 added new features that were proven to be useful to the audience as well as the organization, such as reading plans for additional content, notifications, and the ability to donate via the app.
With a growing global user base nearing 1 million, the app was in need of improved UX to better serve up a more diverse content library and simultaneously allow localization of content and experience to provide regional offices the ability to test and customize local experiences.
Support multiple content types and organize them clearly.
Allow regional customization of content and priority.
Further implement progress tracking.
Remove unused and confusing content, UI elements, to focus on the main objectives of the user.
The original app offered basic functionality of devotional content and easy access to older content that was rarely engaged with.
The research process was started by myself before Our Daily Bread Ministries had a UX research department. I began by combing through hundreds of user feedback comments compiled from the Apple and Google app stores as well as customer service records of all app feedback since launch. I carefully tagged and documented all of this data to identify patterns and uncover pain points in user journeys.
Each of these pain points was then carefully researched and comparative analysis was done to learn where best practices were not being followed and to help identify areas where the app was not aligning with user expectations.
With researched recommendations for improving the user experience documented alongside ministry goals, I was able to begin sketching and wire-framing solutions. Wire-frames started very simple and over time were refined to high-fidelity wire-frames that our new UX Researcher felt comfortable testing with some users.
Early wire-frame prototyping
The initial wire-frame testing was very informal, but we learned a lot from it. We found that in our efforts to deliver new and/or improved features we were creating a new level of confusion by introducing too much at once and being too dependent on the user to quickly adapt to the UI changes and new elements. We also learned from content producers and marketing strategists where the wire-frames were not showing support for some desired experience expectations.
I built new wire-frames based on our feedback which tested much better and gave us confidence to move into the design and prototype phase. Due to limited internal resources we reached out to a trusted partner to help us. I oversaw the partnership and daily activities of designers contracted to do the work. With their help we were able to quickly move from concept to high-fidelity design on key screens of the UX. The team worked efficiently and we were able to deliver mature designs with additional designs for future testing of ideas that emerged during the work. After this initial design work, I was able to polish some rough edges and clear up some visual communication challenges that were still resident in the designs and to provide a polished and final look for the primary screens.
Highly interactive prototypes were delivered for stakeholder review and deeper user testing. Stakeholders were thrilled with the modular and customizable approach that was taken. This met the needs to deliver an app that could be highly customized to local audiences and deliver new forms of content and interactions that were strategically important.
User testing proved that, while there were some small adjustments and improvements to be made, our simplified approach to presentation and interaction was effective in helping all users (both familiar and unfamiliar) with our current experience use the app more effectively as well as discover and engage with new content more easily.
Findings comparing our earlier user test to the revised designs showed a greatly increased user-satisfaction score.
Along with designing an improved user experience, I also was able to gain approval to modify the design of the devotional experience, something I had been advocating for long before we started reworking the app.
Our analytics had shown that across most digital channels, our social media graphics were some of the most highly engaged with pieces of content. Using some well-researched recommendations, I was able to show the organization how we could better leverage that element and help create a more focused and meditative devotional experience for the user with the goal of enhancing their devotional time and making it easier for them to share encouragement from the app with others. This change, which is also being reviewed for other digital channels, also has the added benefit of eventually reducing the number of assets needed, decreasing load times, and unifying the brand experience across multiple channels.
The other new feature we have slated for later development is around the use of home screen widgets to display content and provide shortcuts directly into different experiences in the app such as the daily devotional, daily video, or podcasts.
Detail views of some of the home screen widget explorations as well as the improved mood-setting graphic intro to the devotional screen.
With leadership approval we have been moving this work into a development phase with ongoing testing and design support to help build out remaining aspects of the app. As an organization that is working in SAFe practices, a team is being built to support ongoing needs for the app. Right now that is in its early stages but the goal is to bring research, design, and development all together and allow an iterative process for continual support and improvement of the app and user experience.