Spark is a productivity app for creative millennials to achieve their goals and learn new passions.
Creative millennials waste free time that could be spent working toward their passions and goals.
Spark was created for creative millennials to work toward their goals in small increments of time, while tracking their progress and connecting with friends to stay accountable toward their achievements.
Our team conducted six interviews and received 40 survey responses. Based on qualitative and quantitative data, we discovered that our demographic is creative millennials.
The research showed that a majority of our users fill their free time with creative hobbies. But, they have a difficult time focusing on meaningful projects in small amounts of free time, specifically 15-30 minutes. It is too short of a time to start something new, but too long to fully relax.
Millennials also have busy schedules, where free time can differ from day-to-day. In general, they do feel most creative and motivated in the morning, as opposed to other times throughout the day.
“I think 15 minutes is hard [to fill] because I am not usually going to be able to finish my single task in 15 minutes, so I have to put it down and come back to it.”
“At work, I’m more creative in the morning. For things I’m interested in, I find inspiration when I get home because I’m passionate about the hobby.”
“I think if I’m waiting for something for 30 minutes, it’s not enough time to actually do an activity, or go somewhere. It’s just a weird, awkward amount of time.”
After extensive research on Spark’s potential competition, we found three direct competitors: Forest, Motivate and Fabulous.
Forest aims to keep users focused while trying to complete their goals through growing a forest of trees while their phone is locked. Navigating from the app causes the forest to die. Forest’s main strength is its simplicity, both in use and onboarding. The free version of the app does feel like a ‘demo’ from the ‘pro mode’.
Motivate gives users inspirational quotes and videos to help users stay driven and focused. The app allows users to choose a main goal, while also given the option to narrow down the focus. However, it is unclear how to change user goals within the app.
Spark’s biggest competitor is Fabulous. The app lets users choose a goal and provides subsequent subgoals and to-do’s in order to achieve it. Several goal options are given to users with daily task reminders. This app allows users to have a guided journey and document their journey with the app’s built-in community. Fabulous’ strengths are an easy onboarding, an explanation into the process’ psychology, and user progress reports. Unfortunately, there is no personalization/customization of user goals, while not providing a free version.
From these competitors, Spark aims to take advantage of the simple and no-stress onboarding process, as well as the choice of goals to pursue. Additionally, daily reminders is important to Spark to set a precedent for users to complete their goals.
After completing my feature prioritization, it was clear that there were some high priority features to make Spark the most effective. The ones we focused on included working toward user goals, getting recommendations based on hobbies and passions, and finding something quickly without searching or filtering.
The point of Spark is ultimately to have users work toward a single creative goal to receive a reward. We decided that a variety of options was needed, since people have different passions, but to keep them vague enough, so enough people will resonate with the options. It was also important for us to consider adding a suggestion option to include in the future of the app.
Spark promises to teach users something within small amounts of free time, but to do that successfully, options need to be limited. The app must provide quick suggestions without users having to filter or search through many suggestions, otherwise time will be spent endlessly scrolling and losing track of time, like Instagram or TikTok.
A typical user for Spark is someone like Neisha Jones: a millennial with a full-time job, who enjoys pursuing creative passion projects on the side.
She is someone who leads a busy life and can’t find time to learn as much about her passions as she wants. She also never knows how to spend a free 15 minutes, so uses that time to scroll through her phone.
Spark bridges the gap by allowing someone like Neisha to use those small increments of time to focus on her passions and goals.
Our team made the onboarding a priority. Time and again the sign-up process can be too long or pointless. We wanted ours purposeful and focused on the users’ goals.
On the splash page, new users can learn what Spark is and determine if it is right for them. From there, the user is asked to choose a passion and when/if to receive notifications.
The app lands on the homepage and uses a hamburger menu to filter through the progress, rewards, community and profile pages.
Wireframes & Lo-Fidelity Mockups
The team tested Spark on six potential users with the goal to successfully complete three tasks: onboarding, changing preferences and logging out.
Two users mentioned that they were confused about selecting categories of focus and weren’t sure what about the point of Spark. When creating the 2×2 matrix to the right, it was clear that the highest priority for users and for the app was to create a page describing Spark, its intentions and why users are asked to choose between categories of focus.
Users also questioned the motivation to use Spark in their free time, as opposed to scrolling through social media, playing a game or watching videos. This issue was high priority to address because it could be the difference between people using or deleting Spark.
Other than these two specific focuses, the issues included format consistency, locating the sign-up button and navigating the notifications page.
Feedback & Iterations
“Is there an incentive? How can I motivate myself to use this in my free time?
After distinguishing Spark’s direction, some major iterations were included. Specifically, the Rewards page to account for partnerships and incentives.
Potential users weren’t convinced that they would use this app unless there was an incentive to keep them motivated, so we incorporated the Rewards page, in order for users to work toward a specific goal that they can get excited about.
“What is the point of this app? Why are these categories I’m choosing?”
A high priority iteration for potential users was making sure the onboarding process was smoothed out. First and foremost, we made a new splash screen, where the user has two options to “Login” or “Sign-Up”, both equally-sized, so users have no difficulties finding either.
The second iteration to onboarding was making sure users could easily read and learn about Spark. We added the button on the splash page, “What is Spark?” The button leads users to a new page with information about the app, with the option to return to the splash screen.
“I have different free times throughout the day.”
A major pain point for our user is having different free time each day, so it was difficult for them to choose a specific time to receive notifications everyday.
So, the notification page was change, so that users choose between three general times: morning, afternoon and evening. They can also choose to opt out of receiving notifications altogether.
There are creatives of all types and abilities, so I think Spark would benefit from accessibility components for millennial creatives with disabilities. For instance, a screen reader for the visually impaired and subtitles/transcripts for the hearing impaired. These are simple steps to take that would enhance Spark’s video and audio options.
Spark is an app to reach goals and learn about passions. The Spark team created the community page to keep users accountable by posting updates and allowing friends to motivate. The community feature is a unique aspect to Spark, so I think it would benefit from being built out further in the future.