Chroll- A UX Case Study
This project was part of a 6-week design sprint for Design Interactive, a student-run design agency at the University of California, Davis, where our team had the opportunity to create Chroll- an app to help housemates accomplish household chores in a fun and hassle-free way!
Awarded: Best Prototype
Meet the Team
Living with others is difficult. Whether you are a student living with friends or parents raising kids, chores need to get done one way or another. Many factors including physical ability, schedules, age, and more influence how a household distributes tasks. Oftentimes, verbal agreements are forgotten and people end up feeling conflicted and frustrated.
How might we improve the experience of getting household chores done when living with multiple people?
Introducing Chroll- a gamified, incentive-driven app that keeps housemates on top of their chores! In a race against time and each other, users must finish their chores to earn bubble points and win first place on the leaderboard. Through customizable troll avatars and anonymous communication tools, Chroll aims to reduce passive-aggressive tendencies and increase accountability among housemates.
- Understand different household dynamics
- Gauge current household chore practices
- Identify common user pain points
User Survey: 105 Participants
Our survey asked open-ended and closed-ended questions to identify the types of chore distribution systems used, how people keep track of complete or incomplete chores, and how they resolve chore-related conflicts if any.
User Interviews: 16 Participants
We conducted interviews with college students, ages 18–22 and living with housemates, to ask more case-specific questions based on their survey responses. Interview questions were framed to understand why a certain chore distribution system is preferred, what causes chore-related conflict, how people hold each other accountable, and to dive deeper into why only 40% use communication to resolve conflicts.
“My housemates can get very passive-aggressive… I usually have to nag them to get chores done properly and on time but I hate confrontation.”
“We use a whiteboard to keep track of chores that have or haven’t been done…”
“We try to compromise when we face conflict… but sometimes, it feels unfair.”
Synthesis and Ideation
After concluding our research, we moved on to synthesizing our data using affinity mapping. We identified and categorized the pain points and recurring patterns, using them as inspiration while ideating our core designs. We narrowed our research down to 3 key themes:
- Communication: Most people avoid confrontation to maintain positive housemate relationships, but for those who do, they prefer direct communication via text or in-person discussions. Unfortunately, attempts at communication tend to be deflected by passive-aggressive behavior.
- Organization: Given that different households have different dynamics, most people also have different systems for keeping track of chore responsibilities. Some have rotational schedules while others prefer to maintain cleanliness by “cleaning as they go.”
- Accountability: Most people rely on the “honor” system or word of mouth to keep track of finished/unfinished chores but some also use diagrams and other tools to create a housemate accountability system.
Revised Problem Statement
Based on our user research, we formed a more specific problem statement that would help guide our design decisions moving forward.
How might we create an app that encourages organization, decreases passive-aggressive behavior, and promotes accountability between housemates who divide chores?
Using those three themes as inspiration, we independently sketched several possible solutions. Here are some of the common features we found among our sketches:
- Incentives: Making chores a fun, interactive activity through score-based games, customizable avatars, or competitive activities
- Communication: Prioritizing anonymity to reduce housemate bias. Communication ideas include requesting chores to be done, chore swapping, nudging housemates to stay on task, or image-based communication
- Dashboard: Centralize user and housemate's chores, scores, notifications, and general communication
- Settings page: Allow users to control chore cycles, adjust chore lists, and add teams
For our mid-fidelity designs, we experimented with the various ideas mentioned above as well as new concepts that addressed concerns that arose as we were designing.
New Chore Cycle
Users are directed to a new chore cycle where they can race to claim chores. We decided to start the flow of our product with a notification instead of logging in or signing up to better demonstrate the competitive, gamified structure of the app.
In addition to creating this flow, we decided to make our app mascot and user avatar a troll! Trolls are traditionally viewed as unclean creatures in fantasy video games, so we thought it would best represent the ethos of our product- the need to clean! Hence the name of our app, Chroll (Chore + Troll).
Users can explore personal and group profiles to track incomplete chores, view scores and progress, Chroll housemates, and request chore swaps. We chose to exclude a navigation bar so the dashboard also houses notifications and settings.
This flow allows users to customize their avatars using bubble “points” earned for completing chores. Troll avatars can acquire new accessories and change colors! Customization can be accessed in the user profile dashboard.
Notification and Settings
For our final flow, we decided to create a system where housemates must vote to approve or deny when adding or deleting a chore to avoid conflicts and establish a compromise among the housemates.
We tested our mid-fidelity prototype with 10 users and used their feedback to revise and expand on our designs. Participants explored the 4 task flows above.
Participants were asked to complete the following tasks:
- Select chores for a new chore cycle
- Chroll your housemate
- Send a Redo Request to your housemate
- Swap chores with your housemate
- Customize your troll avatar
- Check your notifications
- Approve or decline the addition of a new chore to your team's chore list
User testing participants really enjoyed the overall concept of our app. From the troll avatars to the structural layout, participants were very satisfied with the direction of our designs.
Areas of Improvement
Although participants were very receptive to our designs, they did run into several obstacles when navigating the app:
- Accessing different profile views, including their own, was very difficult
- The purpose of Chrolling was unclear
- The flow to customize their troll avatar was confusing
- They ignored the notification center and were unaware of the Pending Review section in the Edit Cycle.
- The bubble point system was not straightforward
Ultimately, while our features were intentional, we needed to simplify our designs, provide clarification on several elements, and rethink our flows.
After creating an account, onboarding provides new users with a product tour of Chroll’s key features- communication tools like Redo Request, Chrolling, and Bubble Points. Users can then select their troll avatar before proceeding to their personal dashboard. Through the dashboard, users can create a new group, join an existing one, or accept a group invitation.
Through the chore claim, users of the same group can compete to select chores. The number of chores are evenly divided among users so if a chore is already claimed, users are given a chance to select from the list again!
In order to decrease passive-aggressiveness between housemates, we designed Chrolling! Similar to Facebook’s Poke feature, Chrolling a user sends an anonymous reminder to complete chores before the chore cycle ends.
Using Bubble Points earned by completing chores, users can shop for accessories, colors, and clothes to further customize their troll companions!
Anonymously request chores to be redone! Users can send a Redo Request if a chore needs to be repeated or hasn't been carried out properly.
Leaderboard & Cycle Settings
Users can compete to be recognized as the first housemate to finish their chores in a cycle. The winner of the chore cycle earns bragging rights and a place on the app leaderboard!
The settings page allows the whole group to adjust the length and frequency of their chore cycle, and request to add or delete chores. Members of the group must vote to decide if these changes are implemented.
By the end of our 6 weeks, we learned that the design process isn’t as simple as following the five main phases. Instead, it is filled with cycles of different iterations, new challenges, and compromise! Learning how to openly communicate and defend our design decisions was a skill we cultivated over the course of many late nights filled with design debates. Overall, we enjoyed the challenge of designing an app from scratch and look forward to continuing our journey as UX designers.
As we continue to design Chroll, we hope to…
- Further develop the bubble-point system
- Expand our target demographic by conducting user research on families with younger children
- Multiple rounds of user testing with mid-fi and high-fi prototypes to refine Chroll’s key features