Nextdoor is a social platform of more than 10 million neighbors. Their mission is to provide a platform for neighbors to work together to build stronger, safer, and happier communities all over the world. The platform's use of design for trust embodies that mission.
I chose to redesign Nextdoor because of its mission and the opportunity to apply accessibility design. Although I'm a regular user of Nextdoor (it's my mom's favorite!), I've noticed specific areas of the platform that can be redesigned to be even more accessible and equitable for users of all age range and capacities.
Overall, the posting process was very straight forward, and the users did not encounter any big pain points. However, throughout usability tests, the participants and I were able to identify some areas that could be improved with the current experience. Below is the flow that I am redesigning.
I'm currently an exchange student in Berlin, Germany, so I only have access to Nextdoor EU. I'm aware that Nextdoor US has a different UI and more features. Therefore, I redesigned the EU version with UI components that represent these new features, but tackling usability issues consistent in both US and EU versions. Redesigning for Android allows me to conduct user testing more frequently.
I interviewed two German students, and one Professor, each at a different degree of involvement in their own communities - and all Android users.
Based on their social media behavior and their roles in the community, I raised three underlying issues about Nextdoor's usability, and three proposals to answer to these issues.
Before getting into detailed work, I started to sketch some flows and screens that I would use for the basis of my redesigns.
One of the most vital functions to a social media platform is inter-user engagement. Sharing content on any platform should be as streamlined as possible. When I introduced the app to my classmates and friends, the most common first question is
Big oof. That's why for the redesign, I decided to observe both the US and EU versions of the app. The two have the same posting process - a path with multiple steps of UI that discourages a user to post. Below are some observations made on both EU and US versions:
"Lost & Found"/" Crime & Safety" is replaced by "Urgent Alert". This provides space for the user to post an alert about immediate crime/activity without having to route through additional categorization, as shown below:
Now that "Add" menu is reorganized and reprioritized, we must look towards how the user generally posts to the newsfeed. Poll was removed to be grouped with General Post
In order to see how other users post, I observed several classmates and floormates going through the process, posting something they would like to share with our neighborhood.
The "More" page is cluttered and text-heavy. Redesigning it as a grid format with larger icons allows users to memorize page by color- and image-association. The page is below the contrast guidelines for an accessible app, which is especially important as a large population using Nextdoor is Senior Citizens.
The W3C Accessibility guidelines are built into the STARK plug-in, which helps me keep these designs within the AA to AAA standard in all UI.
Bookmarks is a personal experience to save our favorite or useful content from our neighbors. With these other redesigns, it is essential that the user also have the ability to intuitively save posts and revisit or edit them in the future.
The key-word in Yai's question is "should", meaning her concept of organizing the bookmarks is open-ended. It is our duty as designers to provide a unique Nextdoor experience. While staying within accessibility standards, I want to focus on organizing information in a way that stays on brand and creates an equitable experience for all users.
The current bookmarking method is rather tucked away. The dropdown chevron is dulled out and blends in with the adjacent text.
Adopting swipe gestures for this experience will bring it down to a level of familiarity and comfort. For example, Gmail uses Material Design's Swipe-to-delete. This swipe gesture would enhance the bookmarking experience.
In order for Nextdoor to foster a symbiotic community, it's crucial that its product is designed to be used by anyone with a smartphone. That's where accessibility and intuitive UX comes in.