DPSS LOS ANGELES MOBILE APP
Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with DPSS in any capacity, and the views for this case study are strictly my own. Since I don’t have full access to all the user data that influenced their current design, this case study is not fully comprehensive. This case study was done to enhance my learning experience and challenge myself to redesign it to serve a specific purpose.
Timeline: 3 weeks
Role: Researcher, Designer
Platform: iOS App
What is DPSS?
DPSS; short for Department of Social Services, is a Los Angeles county government agency that offers a wide ranges of services and assistance to individuals and families. They offer food stamps, medical insurance, job assistance and a plethora of others. DPSS serves roughly 10 million residents and have an operating budget of $3.9 billion.(1)
Why The Redesign?
As a person who has needed to take advantage of the services that DPSS offers, navigating its mobile app is a rough and unpleasant experience. It does allow you to do things that one would usually have to do at a physical office which is minutely more convenient. This convenience is diminished by how difficult it is to use the app. There was no option to choose a different language besides English, outdated and hard to use modals to submit login information, and lots of redundant options and navigation.
GOAL: To take the app in its current state and create a redesign that adheres more closely to ux design standards and conventions.
To get a more comprehensive record of the users pain points with the app, I took screenshots of everyway a user could interact with DPSS and recorded a typical user flow.
Understanding Current Users
The DPSS mobile app is available for both android and iOS users with a collective download count of about a million users and has an average rating of 2.5/5 stars. To get a better understanding of their experiences with the app, I searched through the user reviews on both the Play Store and the Mac App Store to validate my concerns.
Identifying Pain Points
During my analysis, I found the following pain points:
1. Lack of language accessibility, no option for user to choose a language besides English.
2. Text is not legible in some instances.
3. Modal is difficult to use and outdated.
4. App features are redundant.
5. Visual design is jarring and clunky.
Need 1 - Greater Accessibility: Users which English is not their primary language are left a disadvantage, so more language options are suggested. Also users who have some type of visual impairment or blindness would benefit from voice prompts to help them navigate the app.
Need 2 - Improved Usability: Users feel the app experience is slow, not user friendly and outdated. Most users expressed how the most pertinent info regarding their case was not displayed.
Next, I compiled all the feedback, insights, and pain points listed above and grouped similar ones. This helped me brainstorm and develop potential ideas and gave a clearer view of what was important to users while keeping in mind the business goals and objectives.
Creating a Design System
The first step in the visual redesign process was to create a system of updated UI components that was more visually pleasing and consistent.
Suggestions and the Redesign
Primary Language Selection
When a user opens the app they are now able to choose their primary language to help them navigate the app easier.
Updated UI Elements
The calendar modal has been updated to be more user friendly and is less likely to result in an error by the user when entering their birthdate. Previously, it was very difficult to select the right day, month and year.
What's outlined below is a new and improved user flow and feature diagram. It includes the usability improvements that were proposed then made.
Challenges and Next Steps
The biggest challenge trying to refine the design with departing too much from the original design. I wish I had more opportunities to actually speak with users of the app instead of having to rely on my own experience and impersonal user reviews.
This actually brings me to my future plans for the project. I want to give the design an actual complete overhaul and test the proposed solution with more users to validate my assumptions.
Try the app yourself here.