NAVER is a South Korean online platform operated by Naver Corporation. As part of the hiring process for NAVER's Design Fellowship, I did a redesign of NAVER's mobile application.
Duration: Feb 2019
Results: User research, High Fidelity Designs
My Role: Product Designer
As a product designer, I worked from ideation to the execution of high-fidelity design mockups. I was actively involved in solidifying the new design language for NAVER. Lastly, I contributed to the branding effort by creating a brand guide.
Users & Target Audience
The target users of re-designed NAVER application are Korean users that visit the app daily to search for something and view their favorite contents, such as news and comics.
The key differentiator for this target audience is that they have a limited amount of time due to their lifestyle.
There are too many contents and categories on the main screen that it is hard to perceive the application as a search app. In fact, it looks more like a news app.
Also, there are much more texts than images, making the app harder to use for foreigners. Even though the app is designed by a Korean company, there should be a way for foreigners to utilize it since it is the most popular search portal in the country.
Because there are too many contents, users can forget what they wanted to search or get distracted by something that caught their attention.
For the Designer: Simplify the overall interface by replacing texts with intuitive icons & images and provide the most contents while not overwhelming users. The design should be intuitive enough so that even those with little technical literacy can use.
User Research: Understanding the Why
In Korea, there are two groups of people known to have a minimal amount of free time during the day.
After interviewing potential users and receiving survey results from the user groups, it was discovered that:
The target audience was prone to making errors because there were too many contents on one screen.
They did get easily distracted from their goal, searching, due to other contents that show up when they open the application.
They ended up using the application more for entertainment than searching that some people thought they were getting off track when they just want to look up something.
Market Research: How other search portals design their mobile app and what are they centered on.
Currently, many companies in the market design the application centered around their search bars. It was also discovered during the research that, for other contents, they utilize images and icons to draw users' attention, but not in a distracting way. As a result, NAVER would be able to benefit greatly from moving away from contents-centered design to user-centered design. Instead of being a content provider, it should be a search engine and focus its app on that function.
Defining the Problem
I initially thought that contents are just distracting and inefficient for search engines, but a lot of competitors out there have contents as part of the home screen. The only difference was how much space it took and how many there were. Also, the crowdedness was influenced significantly by the amount of texts. The hypothesis of contents being useless was incorrect. I discovered that contents are necessary parts of the application, but there was a need to do it differently than before.
I summarized key takeaways and observations from the interview and survey results. I grouped the findings by stakeholders (students and office workers) and then clustered similar points into groups of ‘problem’. Afterwards I evaluated which ones are worth attacking. The selected problems are:
Too much to read on a small screen.
Misconception due to contents-centered application.
I brainstormed several ideas for a new way of organizing contents that will not distract users and keep the application centered on its "search box." These included:
Use of graphics (icon) instead of texts.
Reveal full contents only if users push the icon. Otherwise only show a preview picture.
Place the search bar in the center to give it more emphasis and presence.
Allow users to save the contents to see later.
Hi-fi designs of the screens
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