This was a student project completed in eight weeks.
To begin defining my primary user group and better understand their boating motivations, I conducted 3 user interviews, a contextual inquiry of a group of ten boaters, and a competitive analysis of other available applications. I began by finding people who had different relationships to boating:
From my research, I found three main user viewpoints:
I looked into where these users currently sourced their boating information. Top responses from respondents were:
Garmin GPS for navigation
Word of mouth
Various weather and tide apps
I found social boaters most likely to connect with other boaters and meet up in different locations. The majority of these users utilize their cell phone to connect with people through use of messaging platforms on Instagram or SnapChat, but also used word of mouth to visit new areas. A main pain point for these users was boating alone and not knowing where to go to meet up with fellow boaters. A pleasure point for this user group was having a fun and new social experience out on the water.
"I met friends out at a water concert. It was a unique boat centric experience. I liked the social aspect of it."
Many boaters I spoke to reported that it is hard to find events or meetups on the water. They tend to be random experiences or not well announced to the boating community.
I found that this industry has market opportunity and is growing in coastal and lake areas, but there’s a lot of similar applications that have not been overly successful. It was interesting to note that the leading competitor was Garmin Navioincs, even though this is a paid service and has issues with bugs and inaccurate mapping. However, it is well funded and associated to a leading brand in the boating world. I wanted to see who the main players were:
From my research, I prioritized the needs, frustrations, and values of the social boater to come up with some problem statements. I then had to think how this app could help answer the following questions.
To help the social boater connect with other boaters, I knew we needed a platform that allowed for the ability to find friends and schedule meet ups. To alleviate discomfort associated to mechanical issues with the boat, I knew this app would need a way to easily connect the social boater to commercial businesses (mechanics/ tow services/marinas). This platform will allow for real time tracking of a mechanic on the way to you or a tow wait time estimate. Through my competitive analysis, I also determined the app would need to have easy onboarding and accurate map charting in order to be successful.
I put together some wireframes to show how we might create a simple sign up process for boaters. This would then transition into a profile creating and then to the main menu. The main menu will have options to navigate, see nearby meet ups, upcoming events, and local business information. The users profile will be able to save previous trips, join meet ups, schedule meet ups, and store boat information.
This app needed a brand name associated to boating, after researching different terminology, I came up with Bosun. Bosun is the term used for a senior rank of a deck department. l then researched the colors typically associated to a nautical theme, and as expected it was predominantly blue. I chose blue as the brand color, but also added a light blue, orange, and cream color to create a modern and energetic feel. To continue this energetic and fun nautical theme, I illustrated several nautical flags to be used as icons and the app visual.
The next steps to determine the viability of this product is to user test the prototype. There are many features to this app and we need to see what users gravitate towards or if users are overwhelmed by the broad range of features. Competing applications have had issues with inaccurate mapping. We need to male sure are mapping and chart plotting is accurate in order to be ahead of our competition.