For 360 Life I collaborated with Deniss Bohanovs and Martin Van-de-Loo on a Rails based minimum viable product (MVP) that was to be completed over a 10 day period. We were tasked with moving a popular paper-based "wheel of life" tool (used by life coaches and motivational trainers) to a digitized version that would be generated through the completion of an online questionnaire. To accomplish the task we used agile development techniques along with Rails 4.0, Ruby, HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery and D3.js library.

I was responsible for the initial research, creating the personas and user flows and the general desktop front-end version of the app, which included the visual and conceptual design. Deniss was responsible for generating the data visualization from the questionnaire using D3 (a technology he had never used before), while Martin coded the app using Rails and Ruby.

Initial research revealed that coaching is the second fastest growing industry in the world with the $2.4 billion industry growing at rate of 18% per year since 2007. The field has gained in popularity due to changing lifestyles which often result in increased stress factors and difficulty in maintaining a work-life balance. The field is also popular due to individuals seeking to have more independence and taking charge of their lives. There are currently not many digitized coaching tools in the market and it is one of the few paper-based industries that still exist. 360 Life will be one of the first to offer a complete set of digitized tools that can be used by both professionals and individuals who are interested in self development and personal growth.

We decided to start with the most popular tool of all, namely the wheel of life (as seen below) that is used by life coaches and motivational trainers to provide a visual representation of how a client’s life currently appears, that they might target certain areas for improvement and be able to check, track and assess progress over time. Sectors on the wheel are marked on a scale of 1 to 10 to indicate how satisfied or dissatisfied a client is in each area, with 10 being the most satisfied and 1 being the least. The ideal situation for overall balance and well-being would be to aim for at least an 8 in the majority of areas and that is what coaches and trainers help their clients work towards.

Wheel of life

I started on the storyboards right away so we could get a high level understanding of what problem the app would solve and for whom.

Once the storyboards were complete we then identified three major user groups for the website and I developed the personas for each.

With just over nine days left, we decided that we would focus on Susan Jeffreys as the primary persona and design the system specifically around her needs with the MVP to include the following:

  • User registration (sign-up and sign-in)
  • The questionnaire
  • The wheel of life data visualization which would be generated by answering the questionnaire
  • The ability to assign, track and update goals for the desired areas on the wheel
  • Goals should include the following:
    • Goal title
    • Description
    • Due date
    • Priority (with a rating system of 1 to 5, with 1 being the most important)
    • Additional notes
  • Updating goals etc. should result in changes to the visual representation of the wheel
  • Include ideas of example goals for each sector of the wheel that is actually clicked on

With the MVP narrowed down to specific functionality, I then started thinking about the user flow through the system and created an example site map to paint the picture of the user’s path, or basic experience, through the app.

System Flow Diagram

With the user flow defined I then jumped into Axure and created a prototype. Watch a video of the walkthrough below or you can click through to the HTML version here.

Now it was time for the guys to jump into action. They had been busy preparing the environment and getting the code base ready. Due to an NDA the initial prototype is pretty much all I can show at this point but I can tell you that although we were completely frazzled by day 10, our presentation went extremely well and a cold "brewski" was definitely in order at the end of the night. We had done it!

360 Life Team

(That's me on the left, Martin in the middle, who hails from Germany, and Deniss on the right who is from Latvia. I think it's safe to say that we were truly an international team.)