Our client, Wow!Systems, approached us with an opportunity, designing a cross platform innovative interface which supports the process of creative writing.
For the MHCI Capstone as Project Lead and Design Lead, I planned and managed the budget, coordinated team meetings, maintain close liaison with the client, created the visual design, logo and branding, and collectively worked on the UX research and interaction design with my team.
With an undefined scope and to understand the creative writing process we used a combination of user research methods on aspiring and established writers and educators.
We performed a competitive analysis and secondary research to gain an awareness about what tools and applications already existed and what techniques worked for writers.
A few of us from the team attended a series of creative writing workshops to immerse ourselves in the writing process.
Informal interviews and directed storytelling were conducted with poets, novelists, editors, bloggers, screenwriters, teachers, songwriters and cartoonists.
After each interview, the team would meet up to interpret our findings from each of the interviews. We then used affinity diagramming to synthesize our data and come up with insights.The information that we gathered allowed us to hone into the following 4 key insights: community & inspiration, revision & frequency, reflection & play, and the writing sweet spot.
Working with our client, we decided to focus on trying to find a solution to enable amateur writers to examine their work, explore different possibilities or ideas, and have the ability to be flexible and make major and minor changes. We would like to create a desktop application for amateur writers which will aim to shuffle pieces of text and writings to help support the creative writing process.
With the chosen concept, we generated 60+ design ideas and narrowed down to 12 visions. Which we sketched out storyboards and used the method of 'speed dating', to allowed our peers and professors to quickly vet our ideas.
Storyboarding Scenario #1
Christopher has always found it cumbersome to organize his pieces writing and struggles when it comes to putting it all together. Christopher opens up the app and is quickly able to organize his writing and see an overview of how his story is progressing.
Storyboarding Scenario #2
April has been writing since she was 11. She understands the hard work that comes with writing, and produces various iterations on most parts of her story. She is meticulous; every detail is scrutinized. Asking herself, would this character say this or that? Should I use this tone to describe the scene? What if my character decided to do this instead? With the app open, April is able to quickly write her story and evaluate alternatives.
Evolution of Yarn
For a larger version, here is a PDF of Yarn App Workflows
Features of Yarn
FEATURE #1: THE THREAD
Each dot on the thread denotes a section in the writing and displays the title and subtitle of the section.
FEATURE #2: TEXT EDITOR
We found that a minimal text editor with just the essential formatting options was the focus of our application and ideal for concentrating on writing.
FEATURE #3: ALTERNATES
We have provided two "Alternates" which can be found to the on the left of the thread. By clicking on them, it slides over the text editor, opening up the alternates pane. They can be swapped horizontally to switch the writing displayed in the text editor.