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Internship Project


Design Managenment
User Experience Designer
Visual Designer

Summer 2014

Beta testing
Click here for test invitation

Project background

I joined the design of Parrot during the early research stage while I was interning in Propellend. Parrot originally was designed to achieve the goal of helping professional researchers conduct research via audio recording more easily on the phone. However, as research goes on, we narrowed it to solve the problem of marking insightful quotes during recording, and synchronize with paper notes. My role is to conduct concept development through rounds of testing and prototyping, and all the way to interface design and final assets delivery.

Assisting recording in the field

Parrot is a mobile application for assisting recording in the filed. It helps mark the insightful moments during recording, and synchronize notes along with it.


We started out by understanding the traditional interviewing process and try to figure out the needs. We interviewed 10 researchers (different levels of research expertise) to get to know about their step-by-step process and essential equipment they use. The key takeaways are:

  • Professional interview won’t be recorded with phone, because of power management and memory shortage.
  • Insights could come from any second of the interview, so moment matters.
  • Insights are the best when identified through interviewee's own emphasis and interpretation.
  • Take notes digitally would be ideal, but paper notes are still the most commonly used tools.
  • Edit interview documents (audio, video, photo) on the laptop. (won’t do it on the phone, seems troublesome)
  • Organization of audio documents generally based on hierarchies (location and time), however differs individually.
  • What to mark during the interview is based on what goal of this interview is, and it’s very flexible.

Narrowed down to the three main problems:

How to mark intuitively during interviews?
How to edit notes and audio on the phone easily?
People use both digital and non-digital tools, then how to synchronize tools?

Design criteria

Contextual. Think about the environment that it will be used in and design for that (for eg, when the actual recording happens, where the phone would be positioned, the screen should not distract either the interviewer or the interviewee).
Simple and enjoyable.
Come alive with movement and color. Use both intentionally.

Final solution

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Persona and User Cases

Professional interviews are usually recorded with more sophisticated equipment, because phone doesn't have enough power management and memory. Therefore we shifted our primary target users from professional researchers to people who do research on the go. And put professional researchers in the secondary target user group. The persona includes hypothesis of the context of their usage, including motivations, interview environment, and journey flow.

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Feature prioritization

While building up the flowchart of how the app should work, the team prioritized on what we can initially offer, taking into consideration of time, effort, and resources available. The core features are recording and editing. Features such as presenting, generating reports, and desktop support are listed as adds-on to be developed later. The overall structure is designed to be parallel, but also provide users shortcuts from one screen to the other.

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During the wireframing phase, there are two major challenges we faced, one is how to build up the hierarchy via visual language, and the other one is how to create affordance in audio editing. We spend lots of time iterating on those two parts.

The final flow of the app was built around two core features: 1. Record and mark interview, 2. Edit recordings and notes. We embed “add interview” into each screen for easy access, since "live recording" is a feature that would be used spontaneously.

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Rounds of Iterations

To make sure that everyone is on the same page of the design process and can contribute from different perspectives, I would try to get qualitative feedbacks on a single design iteration from the entire team as much as possible. During each review, I would take notes and sketches of how we can improve the prototype, and the design will change accordingly.

Qualitative feedbacks on design iteration from the entire team

Usability tests were conducted throughout design iterations via click-through prototypes together with test scripts. Tests were done both within and outside of the team.

Since it’s a task oriented app, the goal is to make it as be simple and light as possible, and we wanted the visual language to support those goals. However at the same time we kept in mind not overvaluing simplicity and style at the cost of clarity. Eventually a flat minimal esthetic, which is just enough to communicate the information, is what we agreed on.

Previous Design

Here are some images captures of the previous iterations of the interface. We thoroughly discussed and tested on each iteration to make sure the next design would be a step forward. If you are interested to hear some thoughts behind each iteration, please contact me, and I would be very happy to share some behind the scene stories with you.

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