The Happy Llama… Let's put a blanket over the stigma on knitting!
A User Interface Design focused concept project. The Happy Llama is a monthly subscription of knitting kits. The app lets the user pick from a section of projects and different patterns at different abilities (1-week sprint).
Who is the Happy Llama?
The Happy Llama delivers knitting packs straight to your door monthly. Users can pick from a selection of knitting projects, colours, patterns, levels and styles.
The Happy Llama’s differentiation is it is more directed towards young adults. It wants to normalise knitting for young people. Currently the knitting market focuses on grandmothers or knitting for babies. But the Happy Llama wants young adults to feel inspired by knitting and it to become a youthful hobby.
This was a solo User Interface Design project in which I followed the British Design Council’s Double Diamond process with its four phases: Discover, Define, Develop, Deliver. However, as this for a UI centred project, the main focus was on the development and delivery phase.
Due to Covid-19, there has been an increase in young adults trying out different activities which they previously would not have done. With lots of places being shut people resorted to trying out different methods to keep themselves occupied — this included knitting. The target audience is promoted more towards the 18–35-year-olds. People who might’ve otherwise not known how to knit but want to continue to do so.
“The repetitive and rhythmic motions that make up knitting are the key to relaxation.” Dr Barry Jacobs.
The Happy Llama wants an app to allow users to access the knitting patterns and subscriptions easily.
Develop a mobile app experience that allows users to subscribe to the Happy Llama easily and importantly excite users about the process of knitting.
Due to it being a UI focused projects the main deliverables are;
- Onboarding — to direct the user on what the app and Happy Llama has to offer.
- Focus on clear and simple navigation to direct the user.
- Product listing page of the subscription offers (filterable)
- Product display page. A page that features information about the product with the ability to add to the basket.
The Happy Llama wanted to find a way to ‘de-grandma knitting’. Ensure that younger generations continue with these activities and keep occupied during Covid. Similarly, the Happy Llama want a way for users post Covid-19 to continue the wave of people being more creative and trying new things.
There were lots of knitting subscription websites, but these were mostly outdated and felt stale. There were nearly no knitting companies which had been made into apps.
From research, it was clear that Wool and the Gang were most effective in their presentation of their subscriptions. Their brand was fresh and youthful which is something the Happy Llama wanted to illustrate too. I took inspiration from their website in the representation of knitting.
The outstanding feature from most of these companies was the lack of app on which they sell their products. Equally how their companies layouts and products were not directed to young people. Wool and the Gang I felt were most effective with their vibrant colours and modern layout in attracting a younger clientele.
Due to there not being many knitting subscription apps I looked at other subscription companies which had a similar vision to the Happy Llama to gain insight into how to effectively design an app that is modern and young but equally informative.
Birchbox as an app had a great informative onboarding experience. Their app was easy to navigate and their onboarding experience was colourful and vibrant. Their brand voice felt young and exciting and was very inspirational.
I conducted 5 user interviews with people (18–25year olds) who said they knitted as a hobby. The results were affinity mapped as seen below.
The main findings were:
- Users loved to knit but often felt embarrassed to say they do.
- One of the main frustrations users found when knitting was dropping a stitch.
- Users often did not understand the pamphlets they got with kits so would want a tutorial or real tutor to understand knitting concepts.
- Users liked the idea of subscriptions but would want flexible commitments. The concept of subscribing for a year was overwhelming.
- Users wanted to share their knitting love with friends and do projects together- this they often said added motivation.
- Users loved to track their progress. This was a big thing for users as it meant they were motivated to finish.
From these interviews it was clear there were some added features that I had not considered.
The persona highlighted the wants and needs of young adults that want to learn more about knitting and wanted their friends to be inspired by the activity.
Summary of research insights.
- Young people did not want to feel embarrassed by knitting and wanted their friends to feel inspired.
- Users loved to track themselves, and knitting was no exception — users wanted to know where they were in the process and how long they had to complete a project as it motivated them.
- There were some big pain points in knitting, such as dropping a stitch, this would have to be resolved.
- Users would love to get help from professionals or have clearer tutorials to learn from.
“Lily would love a way to improve at knitting whilst tracking her performance. She wants knitting to feel young and rejuvenated as an activity, inspiring her friends to take up the hobby and do it together.”
This was a User Interface Design focused project, however, I felt I could not fully understand the UI side of the app without delving a little more into the research- to understand the users wants and desires. I did go into greater depth on the design section of this project, investigating to a larger extent, colours, typography and drawings.
Researching for design.
The designs I was inspired by were the ones that were most simple and clear in the product sections. I liked the illustrations seen throughout some peoples work. I also felt the pastel colours felt modern and had the clean- brand image I was trying to get across in my designs for the Happy Llama.
After consideration of research from design, user insights and competitors I made a brand personality scale (seen below) to really highlight how I wanted Happy Llamas image to come across. From the research, it was clear that I wanted the app to be sophisticated and modern but equally with a more liberal and playful twist.
To effectively design the brand image I wanted the Happy Llama to give I made some more mood boards. Collecting images from different forums to give me inspiration for possible ideas for the app. I curated two possible design routes to go down which I felt suited the Happy Llama.
- Pros- This option was much more bold and graphic in the colours and images. The colours used were very dynamic and stood out more. I liked the modern feel that this mood board gave.
- Cons- Potentially all the colours together were a little overwhelming. Though the colours worked in these illustrations, they would be too intense used throughout the whole app.
Options 2 -
- Pros- The subtle tones and colours I liked here and felt could represent the Happy Llama well. I liked how the tones were very muted but had little pops of colour. I liked the use of line drawings in small amounts of detail, and having big amounts of white space to exaggerate specific bits of writing.
- Cons- There is a worry that these colours could be considered stereotypically ‘feminine. I want the Happy Llama to feel accessible to everyone so I think the pink colours would need to be toned down.
After trying out different colour pallets it got narrowed down to these final 7. They there was some bold colours for the accents I was inspired by in my research, but most the tones would be muted and clean.
I sketched out some initial designs for the onboarding and then tested them.
Iterations of version 1.
Tested initial sketches on 3 users.
- The route was changed to make it flow better.
- The wording was changed so people did not feel they had to commit to a year.
- The last screen changed as it did not feel like the end.
I also tested users on whether they preferred the left or right option when viewing the subscriptions in the onboarding. All the users picked the right. Similarly, I tested users opinions on the home page, all of the users picking the middle option to navigate most successfully.
I tested out different drawings for a potential Happy Llama logo.
I experimented with using the colours I had picked for my designs. Testing these during usability testing.
It became very obvious that the most successful colours were the more muted tones. The final screen is the one I went on to develop as most users felt it was most accessible to the eye and felt most modern and clean- all concepts the Happy Llama wanted to get across.
Below is the final colour palette and typography styles for the designs.
A navigation style guide is seen below too.
When testing the final prototype there was one main iteration in design. The filters moved from being vertically place to horizontal. This allowed more space for the products to be on show, making everything bigger and more accessible.
The design process described above resulted in a high-fidelity prototype of the app made using Figma. Some of the key flows of the app are shown in the GIFs below.
How did I meet the brief?
I think I have successfully developed a mobile app experience that allows users to subscribe to the Happy Llama easily and importantly excite users about the process of knitting.
The main deliverables were all developed.
The overall design of the final product is modern and clean. The use of sketches throughout I think gives the company an added personality.
- Usability and accessibility testing on a greater number of users.
- A/B testing on colours, as I think it could potentially be too pink and light coloured for some peoples eyes.
- Develop the Checkout experience of the app — making it easy for users to re-buy subscriptions.
- I did not realise how subtle colour changes alter accessibility so much. This is why I think colour has to be readdressed.
- Focus on particular screens to make them correct before rushing to make many screens that could be wrong.
- In the case of both designs and colours it might have been more effective to lessen the amount on each screen- From this project, I realised simplicity is sometimes the way forward.
Thank you for reading this far!
Let me know if you have any questions or comments on my designs for Casper Sleep.
If you’d like to have a chat about anything design related I’d love to hear from you!