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Amazon Alexa
Redesign

Mobile iOS

Project Details

Team: Solo project
Role: User Researcher, UX Design, Interaction Design, and  Visual Design
Skills: Figma (Design + Prototype), Design Thinking, Product Design
Method: Qualitative + Quantitative
Time Frame: 2 weeks (Sep 2020)

Research Goals

1. Understand how Amazon Alexa users use both the product and the app
2. Learn how Alexa’s app can be improved to benefit users’ custom needs

3. Identify ways Amazon’s Alexa team can evolve to meet users’ needs in a personal, natural way

Problem Area

“I cannot emphasize UNINTUITIVE UI enough.”
- Participant 4, Male, 22

“The Alexa application on all platforms is very poorly designed. Amazon has not been designing user interfaces for a user.”
- Participant 7, Female, 24

“Amazon is known for horrible UX in all of their apps.”
- Participant 3, Male, 25

“The UI is clunky by design!”
- Participant 6, Female, 24

Participants

100% Alexa users
20 participants
• US only
• Equal mix of Male + Female
• High on Tech-Savviness
91.7% = 19-29 y/o
8.3% = Under 18

Observed Patterns

a. Frustrations on organization + categorization of Amazon Alexa’s App
b. Desired customizations on voice commands
c. Sought relevant info + recommendations personalized per user

Amazon's Big Business Opportunity

We know that good UX = good business. The fact that 1 participant said the poorly made Alexa App was “almost enough to switch to another AI like Google Assistant” is concerning and can be assumed that there are others who feel the same way. With companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook prioritizing design made for users, it makes me question how long can Amazon’s Alexa keep users before they contemplate or fully convert to other AIs with stronger design just because the app feels inconvenient?

Background Research

To kick off my background research, I first began dissecting each action, noting areas I enjoyed as a user, capturing what would be nice to have, and analyzing the current use of white space. I asked myself, “What do I want to see when I first open the Alexa app? What would be the purpose of opening the app aside from setting up a new device?” Trying to be mindful of the page’s categories and what is expected from them individually helped me reorganize the placement of certain actions like “Add a Device”. I equally took ~15 minutes on Google Assistant’s iOS app to study the user interface and compare/contrast the strengths of the two.

Crisp AI + Predictive Modeling

CRISP uses a human attention simulator powered by generative Artificial Intelligence. It provides insights on any visual design in an instant, allowing designers to iterate faster, make informed decisions, and avoid lengthy and costly eye-tracking tests.

I compared the current Alexa app (top) with my proposed design (bottom). Instantly, CRISP shows ~160% stronger engagement  with each page within the Alexa app, allowing users to optimize what their virtual assistant currently does and can do for users.

Specifically looking at the Home page (bottom far left), we can see through AI that the proposed design catches more user attention when first opening the app and this trend carries throughout each page.

What Did I Learn?

Many users voiced their displeasure for the mobile app because the app seems outdated for its time. There were general complains about the limitations of the mobile app like only being able to see quotes from the internet instead of the app itself, evolving expectations as users become increasingly high in levels of tech-savviness, and frustrations of jumping through multiple pages/apps from finding a new book and purchasing it through their Amazon account.

Opportunity

The therapeutic value of books can be derived from the act of reading as much as from the moral of a story or the distraction it might provide. Just as a body acclimates to new elevation, those who are sheltering in place will adjust to a highly restricted new normal. The opportunity lies deeper than a redesign of the product itself, but more within leading a more immersive experience of the product: a complete absorption in an activity, a traffic of ideas between writer and reader, an intimate mingling of voices and experience.

My Design Process

Naturally, I questioned how others use Alexa and the app. So I launched a usability research forum to 20 individuals. I then synthesized the data, broke down each page within the app, thought through UX best practices and accessibility requirements. After creating my first prototype, I shared it with a focused group of 10 individuals for initial feedback. I took the feedback and reiterated my design to its final design (beta).

New User Flow

Wireframe

Key Changes

Recommendations

1. UX/UI should prioritize the user through focused CUJ testing

2. App should be restructured to highlight Alexa’s abilities + give users more control through customizations/shortcuts

3. Reimagine and harness the power of white space

4. Clear navigation, streamline process of getting to an answer/destination

5. Created for all levels of tech-savviness