Persona to Prototype Design Exercise


Project Objective: Design a new product feature from persona to prototype.   

Project Brief

Waze is a navigation app that allows for users to crowd-source real time information into their navigation decisions and driving routes.  Although there  is a limited ability to communicate with other drivers nearby, I thought a deeper social functionality would bring a new layer of depth to the app's utility.  

Feature Description

The feature idea is to add a simple box denoting the exact proximity of nearby contacts, or the distance to their last point of navigation.

Persona Building

I wanted to imagine the kind of user that would find this new feature useful.  I used personas to create a user that would have many occasions to use Waze, and would be ideal subjects for feedback.  Below, meet Sam and Cindy:



Task List

I generated the following task list because it both evaluates the possible in the app, testing general interface quality - and it also asks the user to do the impossible.  This is to gauge the interest and effort different users would have with regards to various pain points.

  1. You’ve just arrived in Menlo Park and aren’t sure where exactly you are in the city. How would you use the app Waze to figure out your current location so you know where you’re starting from? 
  2. You’re feeling tired because you’ve been doing a lot of traveling. Next, use Waze to locate a surrounding cafe that you think might be a good place for a cup of coffee. Set your navigation to arrive there. 
  3. You really want your avatar to be a Porsche. Change your car in the interface to be your favorite color Porsche. 
  4. Now, locate user friends in Waze that might already be at the cafe or at a cafe near it? 


Design Stories

Writing design stories helps to capture how a product would function. I broke it down into two parts:

  • Epics- Capturing a high level scope of what a user can do.
  • Stories-More detailed and common actions that a user would use to navigate through the epics.

Usability Testing Feedback

Pain Points

  • While some users figured out they did have friends using Waze, they weren't sure about the actual possibility of physically meeting.

  • Users wondered about other friends who could be off the visible map, but Waze didn't tell them how far away they were.

  • Users didn't understand how Waze could integrate to help them personalize and simplify their lives.

  • The desire for a simple readout for friends and contact options was desired but not readily obtained.

  • Users were confused about the link between friends who were using Waze and communication

  • Users found the Waze communications interface lacked direction and distinctions they were looking for.

Task Flow: Waze Contact Proximity Feature

I created a task flow to visually depict the series of events that would occur with utilizing Waze and optimizing it to implement my suggested new feature. I decided to use a task flow because of the clarity and detail present in such a cogent design method.

Prototype Flow

The next step was to take the idea and mock up prototypes of the feature and an alternate feature as well.  I wanted to develop the idea in greater detail, so I designed in the program Sketch to lend a high level of realism to help potential users grasp the idea in a tangible way.

Interactive Prototype Link / Video Demo


Click Here to Explore the new feature using InVision

Closing Thoughts

Through informed user testing, and a rigorous methodology, I have determined that adding this layer of functionality to Waze would boost user retention and give users a new element of engagement with the product. Although I am not affiliated with Waze or any direct subsidiary company, I completed this exercise as a user of the product who advocates for features that would enhance and enrich the experience when using the product.  I would be excited to see this feature implemented, and to witness its effects on users who will find new meaning in Waze.