It’s really interesting to take a look at a senior project and do a friendly critique on it. 🙂
GetHelp is certainly quite a cool app – when I first read the case study PDF I thought that it is something that I would want to use. They sort of capture the need of a person to ask for help and make this ‘service’ systematic – by allowing sort of an official platform for people to ask for help and/or help others. This is kind of similar to my first project, ShopForMe, in the sense that we both capture an informal service and attempt to ‘systematize’ it. (Is there such a word?)
The first thing that I realised after I finished going through the app’s details, is that the interface doesn’t feel professional. Take a look at Quora or Stack Overflow, the way they design their pages, in my opinion, makes it useful and effective. If you take a look at Stack Overflow’s website (versus the Overview page of GetHelp), Stack Overflow actually place emphasis on the title of the message and the tags of the help post.
On the other hand, GetHelp somehow has its focus on the ‘Help Him!’ and ‘Refer a friend!’ buttons, which doesn’t really make sense as what’s important to a helper is that the subject that requires help needs to be something that the helper is familiar with.
Other minor comments about the UI:
- The slanted buttons at the top right are.. too slanted; it’s difficult to read and it should just be made vertical.
- In the Projet Page, the ‘Helpers’ and ‘Probables’ lists at the side looks like advertisements at first sight. This actually clutters up the screen and makes it look like a badly designed app.
As for functionality, GetHelp managed to cover what it intended to; the objectives are clearly delivered in the different pages (posting a feed, referrals etc). However, from the description of the app, I feel that they did not make good use of the tags system; there should be a system to sort the needs of your friends in tags or categories. This way, as I’ve mentioned above, the helper can look for needs that is in his area of expertise. Certainly, no one likes to scroll through a long list of needs to actually look for something that he/she can help.
One thing I don’t really quite get though, is the Wish her luck! button; it doesn’t really make any practical sense and surely doesn’t add value to the app.
The options given by the app when posting a need is also, to be honest, quite weird. A deadline certainly wouldn’t help you in securing a helper faster (it’s not shown in the needs list), and in the first place, the helper is doing you a favour by helping you, and it wouldn’t make sense to chase him. I feel that the description box should actually be emphasized more as it can be made a 1-2 line detail about what you actually need help in – a too general question wouldn’t entice helpers to help you.
As for the incentives, we take a comparison again:
I might have missed something in the app, but it appears that if you pressed ‘Help Her!’, you automatically get a +1 in your list of helps, instead of the person in need confirming your help. This doesn’t really make sense as a good helper requires a good reputation built from other members who received his/her help. Stack Overflow does exactly this, in that other members can raise the reputation of the helping member if they feel that their queries are responded appropriately. In this sense, GetHelp doesn’t offer constructive statistics, but actually abusable ones, and the flawed badges/rewards system will not give much incentive for users to continue using the app.
In this current state of the app, there’s actually a big problem that I found – there’s not much difference between the app and normal Facebook statuses. If I need help, I can just post on my Facebook status, and naturally it will work the same as if I’ve used the app, except that my friends can respond immediately without going through the process of allowing an app to access your information, blah blah blah. (They can tag their other friends to refer) The lack of categorization and the flawed reputation system are the cause of this, and it really doesn’t give much incentive for people to use the app.
All in all, I believe that GetHelp is a good idea, but the execution wasn’t very well thought. They need to have more differentiating factors to attract users.