This project was an exercise in which I built a simple but useful app prototyped in light and dark mode to embrace the increasing popularity of dark mode apps. The concept of Giterdun (pronounced gitter-done) was inspired by my struggle to find a planner app with the simplicity of a physical planner and the more advanced functionality offered by a smartphone.
Forgetting to complete an assignment can be one of the most frustrating experiences students encounter in their classes, but there is no shortage of ways to make it less likely to happen. Whether you use a planner, notebook, or calendar, physical or digital, it seems as if the problem is easily solved! I've used my fair share of physical planners, task apps, and even the reliable ol' "write it on your wrist" approach, but for some reason, these methods never stuck. I would always start out strong but eventually stop keeping track of my assignments entirely, relying on my constantly failing memory until I forget to do an assignment and start the whole process over again.
Considering the upsetting amount of time we humans spend glued to our phones, an app seems like the best solution to our chronic forgetfulness. Obviously I am not the first to come to this conclusion; just look at the overwhelming amount of task-related apps in your app store. The only problem is most of them try to do too much (and the others do too little). I don't need an app that syncs all my calendars, reminds me of a task when I get to campus, or schedules my google home to brew me a cup of coffee in the morning. That all sounds great, but I just need a simple digital planner where I can input a task and a due date and be done. I realized this dissatisfaction with existing planner apps may only be felt by myself, but I figured it'd be a good exercise to design an app where I was the intended user.
My goal was to create an app that only required the most essential information to create a task, but including some optional elements would ensure I was never limited OR overwhelmed by functionality. Every task app I'd tried had one of two problems.
This prompted me to determine which elements should be required to create a task and which should be available but not required. First things first, the required bits:
These two should provide enough information for a bulk of the tasks I create, but there are times when some more information is helpful. For these, I thought about what context and features I might need in order to make sure I complete an assignment correctly.
These features are what round out a true digital planner. They offer every variable you can denote in a real planner (and just as easily), but with the important ability to set a reminder. This full set of variables led me to decide on the tabs of the app: Tasks, Classes, Calendar, and Settings. These different organizational options would help users view their upcoming assignments in more adaptable ways and give them a better sense of what they have to do by a certain day for a certain class.
As a mini exercise within the larger scale of the project, I designed prototypes of what the app might look like in dark mode as well. With the release of iOS 13 and the introduction of native light vs dark mode, I figured this would be a challenge I faced before too long. Meeting the user's needs (and in this case wants) will always be at the forefront of my process, and it seems as if a lot of users want dark mode!
While this project essentially started as a casual exploration of app functionality and style, I found myself thinking about it as a more legitimate project as I progressed. As a result, my process was not nearly as thorough as I would have liked. I jumped right into full-fidelity prototyping without much of a plan, causing me to run into roadblocks that would have been easily avoidable had I followed the necessary steps of sketching, wireframing, and even user testing. Regardless, this project taught me how to approach a problem I encounter in the real world and use my intuition and insight to develop effective solutions.