Shape - Mailing app

Given the task to design a mailing app and design a system around the app. Welcome to shape. Scroll down to see more.

WHAT IS SHAPE?
"Shape" Is our mail management app for IOS. The entire goal of shape is to allow users to have an alternative and safe way to manage their mail with additional features included. Some of the features we wanted to include was more social feature like connecting your facebook, twitter and even old email you are no longer associated with. Using shape will help you with reminders and will shape your emails for important dates to find you.
Who did we end up making this for?
We ended up making our mail management app aim towards towards students. After doing some user experience research and asking around, we've found out that students had more interest in the app concept than any other demographic. People who were already in the work force we're not open to the idea of switching ecosystems or were assigned a work email. People who were much older also had no interest in changing. We feel if we made it towards students it would of be more successful.
We ended up back in contact with three out of all the people who gave us input. Here's who they are.
Michael
Micheal is a design student who told us he is willing to change mailing app if it suits his needs. He wants something that he can connect his social/work feed into one. Often he believes most mail apps are messy. So doesn't bother with any. When we talked to Micheal we took what he said into consideration.
What made started using your current mailing app?
"No reason to be honest, I just found the default one on my phone and ipad really featureless. I just hate searching for things."
Jake
After talking to Jake he gave us some things he current didn't like about today's mailing apps. We often finds them empty with features. "too many of these all try to hit minimalism but also sacrifice features" .
What made started using your current mailing app?
"It has everything and enjoy how it looks. Functionally is important to me over looks because I need to constantly be opening my app"
Shonda
Talking to about mailing apps with Shonda we've come to the conclusion that she isn't someone to stray away from the path. She currently really enjoys her current mailing app but gave us some interesting reasons on why she liked it.
What made started using your current mailing app?
"My friends mom actually showed me this really cool mail app thing but it was shut down because the user base was really small. I wish something like that would come along but it really doesn't look like it's happening, right now I'm just using the default."
How did we end up using their input?
Taking Micheal's, Jake's and Shonda's input we decided to cut out our blue tree line and making some modifications to the original idea. We went into with our own ideas on how it should be before talking to others. The image on the left is before and the image on the right is the aftermath.
Paper and Pencil Time 
After coming up with with some revised sketches from our original concept sketches took a lot of work and our app turned out a lot different than what we expected but we're happy that they did. We went with a more realistic approach when trying to jam in features making the app clutters and unusable.
When drawing we were aiming not to having to go back to the drawing board. Once we finished our sketches we wanted to make them as clean as possible,.
and here are some of our icons.
Time to open AI
When we first began on AI we started out with simple boxes that can be adjusted at anytime. We found out that when bringing the drawings to AI, we started to think "maybe we should make some changes" but sticking to our original idea kept us on track.
The Style of our choice
The further we got, the more real it felt.
After getting through our medium fidelity we got the okay to go on with our high fidelity. With the high fidelity, we originally wanted to go with a pure stock material design outfit but we ended up with this blend of flat and material idea. Also the idea with transparency crossed our path.
Usability testing... didn't turn out so well. 
We thought we got caught up in thinking about ourselves and slightly forgot about the users. Our three task were able to be done it's just how they were down didn't make it a smooth experience for the user. We needed to back and make some real changes to the app through proto.io. We did a complete overhaul on how the main screen should look and the task it should be doing.
The Return
We went back to the very beginning. Enough with the over complicated design, enough with trying to everything poor instead of doing one thing it's purpose suppose to do right. We started all over again, stop the backgrounds from constantly changing, made the animations more cleaner and simple. Just focused on sending a good mail.
Dreams vs reality. It was all worth it.
"Design is never done" - google.
I believe we learned that this time around. We learned that sometimes trying to do everything isn't something you should be thriving for. Taking user feedback with a grain of salt is extremely important and trying to satisfy everyone is the impossible. We've gotten this small taste of how long the design process can actually be and why sometimes it can take up to years to put out an app.
Did we succeed?
We believe that we did, through the learning process, and trying to get into the mind of the user is something very interesting.
Plans after?
We'll definitely we revisiting this app in the near future for our portfolios. We believe this is something we can take to heart and continue to learn from it.
Hiccups along the way?
Designing in Edge Animate, we got half way through and had to drop it for proto.io. We were busy focusing on animations and not focusing on user experience. Flash apps don't equal good app. Also Edge animate lost support so finding solutions isn't an easy task.

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