Concept Mobile Application: Outdoor Climbing Tool

Goat Guide

Problem

Climbers often struggle with the task of selecting a climbing area and navigating there.

The process is time-consuming due to the need to gather information from many sources. Moreover, making incorrect choices can result in unpleasant experiences (ie: getting lost) or potentially hazardous situations (ie. getting injured)

Background Info

🚫

Skip the background if you’re familiar with outdoor climbing.

If you don't know, allow me to elaborate because not everyone scales walls for fun...

but I do 🤪

Rock climbing is an adventure sport that feels like it’s:

10% going up walls

90% researching

A climber can go up and down on the same wall but, on different routes.

Each climbing route has a different difficulty level. A climber chooses which one is within their skill level. Routes are graded from easy- 5.0 to hard-5.14.

Easy as climbing a ladder and as hard as pulling on non existent holds.

Climbing is risky, and so is the journey to reach the spot

Sometimes the journey to the climb can be a little adventurous too.

That's me!^^^

It’s about finding the balance of preparing enough to be smart and safe while also preserving sense of adventure


- Participant #3

The Solution

Goat Guide: An Outdoor Rock Climbers Guide

Goat Guide caters specifically to climbers, offering optimized search and comparison features. By utilizing this app, climbers can easily select their desired climbing area and receive guidance for seamless navigation to their chosen location.

Climbing Area Page

View Climbing Area Info you want to know

  • Charts providing weather and popular times to know when to go

  • View what other people rated the area

  • Graph overview of climbs in the area

At A Glance Card Results & Climbing filter

Climbing Filter + Quick Comparison Card Results

  • Filters for what climbers care about: weather, crowd, hiking difficulty, sun exposure and more

  • Detailed cards for at a glance comparison

Map feature

Navigate with Confidence

  • Active tracking feature to always know where you are

  • Directions with waypoints to find your way

Competitive Analysis

Current Applications are not user friendly and it’s difficult to find information

Rock Garden

Mountain project

27 Crags

Weakness

Apps prioritize searching/ filtering singular climbing routes not areas

Most climbing apps prioritize searching and filtering singular climbing routes rather than entire areas. An area can often offer multiple climbing routes

Information hard to process

Overwhelming amount of information available

Maps for climbers - not user friendly

Existing climbing maps often lack user-friendliness and fail to include climbing trails.

if they do, it's challenging for climbers to keep track of their location

Survey

Leveraging surveys to identify key problems and understand user profiles

Climbing has a lot of problems, but what’s THE problem to solve? To determine this, I utilized surveys to assist in identifying a problem space. This approach enabled me to formulate more focused questions during user interviews.

What problems are important to climbers?

How to hike in/ out

Finding climbs within difficulty level

This helped arrow down the problem space to do a deeper dive in interviews to focus on planning for a climb.

Who are the users?

Users are experienced outdoor rope climbers NOT new climbers

Based on the survey, the focus will be users with experience in outdoor rope climbing, as their challenges will differ from those of novice climbers.


Newer climbers typically prioritize learning the technical skills required for outdoor climbing and are advised to climb with other with experience.

Interview

Information is either scattered all over or scarce; making it hard to select a climbing wall and get there. Kind of scary....😱

5 Outdoor rope climbers | Virtual interview via Google meets

View Affinity Map

Insight #1

Climbers stated navigating to & from the climbs without enough information can be scary

We chose the wrong way to get down and I was afraid in tears.

I’m overwhelmed, knowing all the types of areas and nailing down what exactly we’ re looking for the day.

Insight #2

Selecting where to climb can be overwhelming because of all the considerations to think about. (ie: direction of the sun, crowds, hiking length)

Insight #3

Climbers have to parse through scattered information that often shows an incomplete picture.

Persona

Identified two user personas: the follower & the researcher, with the potential for the follower to transition into the researcher

Although they shared similar goals and pain points, their motivations differed significantly. There's a need to address the needs of both personas in the user experience.


User Journey

Climbing fun 🙂 Planning not fun 🙁

Because climbing can be a pretty niche and complex topic to explain to others, I created a user experience map to make it easier to communicate the pain points and challenges climbers face.

From user interviews and competitive analysis - I was able to

  • map out problem areas and when they occur

  • identify opportunities for improvement and determine how they align with the climbing journey

  • determine insights for future improvements

View Detailed Customer Journey Map

A climber’s journey for how they plan for their climbs:

User Journey Insights From Interviews and Competitive Analysis

“ this is best case scenario, often you get no information”

Search & Filter for Climbing Areas

Overwhelmed by the number of choices

  • Too many choices

  • Not enough to filter for specific needs

Mountain Project App

Filter from Gunks App

“It’s hard to pick climbs that suit you well.”

Weather

Sun Angles

List of climbs

Climbing routes

Difficulty level & rating

OR

OR

“I feel bogged down, its too much. I don’t want to mentally store all this data in my head.....

Comparing climbing areas

Time consuming process

Each consideration requires a separate page to compare. It's hard to get a clear picture and make informed decisions when you have to juggle:

  • Weather

  • Amount of sun on the wall

  • Distribution of grades

  • Distance

  • Read Reviews

Directions

Not enough information

or too much text

Comment from climber remarking on directions

Directions: Not enough information

Directions: too much text

“it’s a mess, absolute mess - its not even good.

User made map from Mountain Project

Google maps GPS coordinates to Climbing area

Where is the hiking trail information?

Where am I?

“ I need an easier way to navigate to the climbs. I have a hard time getting there.”

Hiking information

Getting lost navigating to climbing area

How might we…

How might we help climbers access centralized information to easily select and navigate a climbing area based on preferences?

Information Architecture

The task flows were created to test out flows for the MVP that needed user validation

Once task flows were created, it was important to create user flows after to see how everything fit together and make sure the product worked seamlessly.

User flows were used to identify alternative paths that users could potentially take

  • I sought feedback through design critiques, specifically focusing on identifying any overlooked decision points.

  • External perspective was crucial because I needed fresh insights beyond the happy paths I had already envisioned.

Wireframe iterations

Using low fidelity wireframes to decide which feature to move forward with

I've narrowed it down to 2 main features:

  1. A search/filter to compare results

  2. A feature to input multiple locations for comparison.

⭐️Option 1:

Search with filter and then compare

⭐️Option 1:

Search with filter and then compare

Option 2:

Input areas directly into a search- and compare function

Card Results help users compare climbing areas

Chose Option 1: filter and then compare

  • If users do not have a place in mind, they can find a new page easily

  • Matches the problem statement better

  • Whereas- inputting areas into search - requires that you have a place in mind

  • Good feature for users who go to the same places vs looking for a new place

Results card- iterations

Multiple iterations were done to create an essential card design for the compare feature. It needed to convey information at a glance, allowing users to narrow down choices and access more details by clicking.

Cards without inside box

All grades shown-inactive bars

Amount of climbs on top

Graph on the right side

Chosen Design

This design was chosen for its visual balance and ability to convey essential information with minimal elements. Other iterations looked too busy and distracting.

Usability Testing

Positive user ratings and feedback received!
Usability testing suggests minor revisions & future work

5 participants with climbing experience | Moderated Usability Test | Remote via Google Meets

Tasks

Completion%

  1. Using the filter to find climbing area

100%

  1. Analyze results and select climbing area

100%

  1. Finding navigational directions to get to climbing area

0%

  • 5 point likert scale was used to rate “Difficulty” and “Satisfaction”:

    from excellent/ very easy to poor/ very difficult.

  • 1 incomplete task:

    • Participants were unable to complete 1 task (Finding navigation) without help, but still found it easy to use and rated the experience “excellent”.

Revisions

Hiking Navigation Feature

1

Navigation copy changed to
"How To Get There" b/c it is a more common phrase

Problem: Users perceived the word Navigation with driving directions

2

Added a “Start Hike” button

Problem: Users did not know about the navigation feature

Picture feature

Added button to view more pictures

Problem: Users wanted to be able to see more pictures of the area

Results Page

1

Titled all information for better accessibility and clarity.

Problem: Without titles, users said it took longer to process

Low accessibility for screen readers

2

Changed copy: Approach to Hike

Problem: Users were confused about the word “Approach”. “Hiking” is more clear to indicate time on trail.

3

A button was added with more detailed text to increase information scent

Problem: Users thought plus icon, added a card to favorites

Filter Page

1

Changed copy: “Best Match” changed to “Relevance”

Problem: Users were confused by what best match meant

2

Moved hiking filters in same section & changed “Approach” to “Hike” for consistency

Problem:

  • Users thought “Length” referred to “Length” of wall and wanted hiking information to be in the same section

  • Changed approach to hike to keep vocabulary consistent with previous changes

3

Changed Area Traffic -> Climbing Area traffic

Problem: Climbers were unsure what part “Area Traffic” meant “Is it how crowded the trail is?”

Brand Identity

Inspired by gravity defying climbing goats

The goat, known for its exceptional climbing abilities, was chosen as the logo and mascot for our climbing brand. It symbolizes our connection to nature and the outdoors, as well as the surefootedness required in climbing. Its presence instantly identifies our brand as a dedicated climbing brand.

Brand Values:

  • Reliable

  • Trustworthy

  • Nature/Outdoors

Goats are able to effortlessly able to climb steep terrain such as dams.

Goat Guide

Goat Guide

Large

Goat Guide

Medium

small

Primary Button

Secondary Button

Primary

Secondary

Neutrals

Goat Guide

Goat Guide

Large

Goat Guide

Medium

small

Primary Button

Secondary Button

Primary

Secondary

Neutrals

Using colors to convey trust and nature

  • The app's use of blue is intentional, as it symbolizes trust and wisdom according to color psychology.

  • It aims to convey reliable information and dependability.

  • The blue-green color scheme adds a touch of freshness and a connection to the outdoors, especially with the green tint and the use of green for maps.

Final Screens

View Figma Prototype

Key Learnings

  • People have different definitions than expected - Something that came up frequently during usability testing and the design process was people's understanding of jargon even though they were climbers. Each climber had a different perception of what something meant: ie navigation was mistaken for driving, and the word approach was mistaken for driving + hiking. I had an assumption that climbers had the same definition as me, and my mind was blown when I learned they did not!

    • This experience has taught me a valuable lesson. In future projects, especially those with technical aspects, it is imperative to conduct early usability testing specifically focused on the words used and their definitions. By proactively addressing potential misunderstandings, we can ensure effective communication and alignment with the intended audience.

  • You can't solve all the things, even though you want to - I found myself wanting to fix all the identified problems in the user journey. However, in hindsight, I realize that I could have benefited from narrowing down my focus and placing more emphasis on either selecting a climbing area or finding it, instead of attempting to tackle both simultaneously. Although combining these aspects into a comprehensive app seemed like a tempting approach, in retrospect, I could have achieved better results by dedicating more time to fleshing out each idea and incorporating additional features within them. It's essential to strike a balance between ambition and feasibility, recognizing that it's better to excel in one area than to spread efforts too thin across multiple aspects.

Next Steps

More robust weather feature: I would act up on usability testing results, and design out more a weather feature to compare climbs. Climbers stated they wanted to be able to see hourly data, wind, precipitation and temperature information and be able to compare to other areas easily.

Help climbers select and locate routes they want to climb: The current app assists climbers in finding climbing areas but lacks support for specific climbing routes. During interviews, users expressed difficulties in locating climbs on the wall. To enhance the app, we should create a feature that allows climbers to not only navigate to the wall but also select and locate their desired climb as well.

Thank you for reading!

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Interested in my work? Let's connect :)

Designed with matcha 🍵 + brown noise sounds 🎵

© 2023 Heidi Moy

Interested in my work? Let's connect :)

Designed with matcha 🍵 + brown noise sounds 🎵

© 2023 Heidi Moy