Project Description

The goal of this project was to research and propose a re-design of the Foursquare application (version 6.4.3) that improved user privacy without sacrificing the shareability of the application itself.

These are the four problems identified through user testing:

1. Novice users are forced to share with everyone “public” or no one “private” but they would like more control with whom they share a post.

2. Hard to keep track of who is following you.

3. Users do not always want to share their exact location.

4. The app makes it difficult for user’s to have a clear mental model with whom they are sharing with because a user cannot see who has viewed her check-in and the icons “private” and “public” are unclear.

My Contribution

• Task analysis
• User testing (Think-Alouds)
• Affinity diagramming
• Literature review
• Interface re-designs
• Report writing


Re-design Proposals

Design Idea #1

Give users more control with whom they share

Currently a user can only toggle between two options when sharing a check-in: Public or Private. The redesign allows people to know exactly with whom they’re sharing.

Current UI only allows private or public toggle (left). Design Idea #1: Being able to choose exactly with whom to share (right).

Design Idea #2

Make it evident who has seen your post

Many users were also not clear who had seen their posts. This redesign addresses that problem by allowing a user to click on the link and view who exactly has seen their post. It also adds a way to track popularity which could encourage sharing.

Design Idea #3

Abstract details in a photo by blurring

Allow users to blur parts of an image they upload. This gives users more control over what they share.

Screenshot of blurring feature

Design Idea #4

Abstract your location

Allow users to abstract the place they are checking-in. This allows people the ability to generalize their whereabouts. For example, if a user wanted to check-in to a Target store he would be able to say he is checking-into a Target in a particular city rather than a specific store.

Screenshot of UI



Task Analysis of Creating an Account & Checking-in

We conducted a task analysis of the account creation and check-in process in order to list the mechanical and cognitive actions involved when checking-in to a location. Then we conducted user tests to see how much actual behavior deviated from the required actions.

Read Complete Task Analysis

Usability Testing:
3 Novice Users

In order to identify areas where new users would have difficulty using the app, we tested with three participants who had never used the app. They were asked to voice their thoughts aloud as they: created an account, checked-in to a location and shared it with one friend.

Experiences of 2
Expert Users

The second part of our study was to interview two expert users in order to understand how they use the app and also to gauge their awareness for the kinds of behavior patterns that can be extracted from their long-term usage. We created an affinity diagram from our interview transcripts to extract these insights.