My re-design of the iHull app

Overall I have tried to simplify the design of the iHull app, as when reviewing the current iHull app design, I felt that the original version had too many unnecessary sections. It also wasn’t very user friendly and didn’t take into consideration the needs of other users like those with disabilities and international users.

The current iHull app didn’t really have a set colour scheme at all, and instead seemed to have a bright, multi-coloured appearance which I feel was a bit too excessive and didn’t look very uniform. I decided to simplify the colour scheme on my design and I decided to stick to 5 colours which I feel looks really effective. I’m hoping that the colours I have used are appealing to the majority of the users.

Here is the first page that the user would be greeted with when first opening up the app. As well as having the iHull logo on this page, I also decided to include the official University of Hull logo to hopefully show the app is genuine. I decided to keep it fairly simple and self-explanatory and stuck to a basic log-in page look. The user would use their ‘Single Sign-On’ number and password from the university, this is to keep things more straightforward as the app would automatically know what kind of user they are (Student, Lecturer, Other Staff member etc) and it would then tailor the rest of the app to meet their certain requirements. There is also the option to ‘Stay Logged In’ which I felt was really important to have the option to do as this was something definitely lacking in the original iHull app which seemed to log out of every individual section each time the user went out of the app which was really annoying.

This is the main page to my app – I wanted it to be almost like a ‘newsfeed’, where all of the most important parts of the app would be in one place, I have presented this in a scrollable weekly view timeline. I felt that this kind of layout is similar to those used in other forms of social media, so therefore should be more user friendly. On each daily section on the timeline, the important things for that day would be shown – most notably the lectures from the users timetable, then using information from the users ‘Canvas’ account, any announcements and alerts would show up on here too (these would also show as a notification on the users phone if they choose to have that option – see below on the ‘Notifications’ section).

The user can access their university email account from the main page on the app. I tried to keep the email section fairly basic – it is split into an inbox and sent section where the user can then view their emails. The emails in the inbox are also colour coded – the icon will be blue if it is an unread email and grey when it’s been read. The user will also be able to compose their own messages by pressing on the icon in the top right corner.

Here you can see the side menu that appears when the user presses on the button in the top left corner. When designing the app, I really tried to focus on only including the sections that I thought were really essential for the iHull app, and have eliminated quite a lot of unnecessary ones.

Here’s the more detailed timetable section. The user will be able to scroll through the calendar layout to any month and then press on any day, any lectures for that day would then show underneath. I tried to keep this layout as clear as possible.

The ‘Assignments’ section of my app would again use information brought from ‘Canvas’. The main part of it would show a basic overview of the users current assignments. They can then click on each of the individual assignments and get all of the information about them. There would also be an option to submit assignments through the app if the user wishes to do so.

Here’s the ‘Library’ section where again I have tried to narrow down and simplify the options offered compared to the original iHull app. At the top of the page there is a basic search bar where the user can search for books, when they have searched for things they are taken onto another page where their search results will be shown and it will provided more information on where the books are located in the library etc. On the library section the user may also book rooms by pressing onto a day on the calendar which will then take them onto a page where they can select a time and room type. Finally, at the bottom of the page is a small section with the library opening times which I felt is important important to include on the app.

 

Here’s my ‘Accessibility’ section. I felt that this section was crucial to ensure all users of my app have a straightforward experience. On the accessibility section, I’ve included the option for the user to change the text size and spacing. There is also an option for the user to change from the apps current all caps setting to regular, this is because some people with dyslexia may have difficulties reading all caps writing. After doing some research into dyslexia, I also found that they find it much easier to read sans serif fonts, hence why I have used the font ‘Arial’ throughout my app. I also found that they find it easier to read font sizes 12pt-14pt, I opted to do the majority of my app in 12pt, but as I said above, there is an option on the accessibility page for the user to change to a bigger size if they wish. During the research I found that dyslexic people find it easier to read things with dark-coloured text on a light (but not white as this can be dazzling) background, I have tried to stick to this as much as possible throughout my app. Users with audio disabilities shouldn’t have a problem using my app as there isn’t any part of it that includes sound. Users with epilepsy also shouldn’t encounter any problems as my app doesn’t include and seizure-inducing content.

I also decided to include an area on my ‘Accessibility’ section where the user can view disabled access points and disabled parking around the university, again I felt this was important as this was so ensure the inclusion of all users.

I decided to include a ‘Notifications’ section on my app. The user will be able to select whether they would like to receive notifications at all and they can choose how the notifications will appear on their phone and on the app. Personally I feel like receiving notifications for the various alerts you may receive from the university is an important factor to the app, especially regarding short-notice announcements and alerts from the university like room changes or lecture cancellations –  at the moment the only way to view these would be to read an email or to see it on Canvas. By having it sent instantly to your phone would help the user to see these alerts much quicker.

Here’s my ‘Safety’ page which I decided to keep from the original iHull app, but just re-designed it to my aesthetic. I felt like the page was vital because it provides information on various services the user may need in an emergency. I decided to keep the layout of this page very simple, and the user will be able to access the the links and phone numbers provided by clicking on them.

Another factor to the current iHull app was that it didn’t have any options for users who have English as a second language, which again isn’t very inclusive considering there are a lot of international users. Here, I have included a language selection page which has a fairly basic scrollable layout where the most popular language are listed. This would translate the whole of the app into the users selected language, and any notifications from the app that they receive on their phone.

Overall, I am pleased with how my re-design of the iHull app has turned out. I have tried to simplify it quite significantly and have eliminated quite a lot of sections which I felt were unnecessary from my research into the current iHull app and the other university apps and hopefully adding some new sections like ‘Accessibility’ and ‘Language’ will help to make the app much more inclusive.