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A real-time voting app that helps users make the best decisions during shopping

Dec 2016

Mobile App Design | Group Project
Graduate Studio Workshop

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


In a nutshell


We live in a consumer society where all companies are trying every means to influence consumers' purchasing decisions. So how do we make the right decision when faced with multiple options? Under the theme of "conscious consumption",  we were asked to design an interactive product or service that solves the problem.




"Conscious consumption" is a fairly big topic. Finding a small but accurate touchpoint is not easy. We divided the buying decision process into "before", "during" and "after" to find out at which moment and how people's purchase decisions are influenced.




We created a mobile app named "Dcidr". It is a real-time voting app that helps users make the best decisions when they shop at brick-and-mortar stores. By choosing the default "A or B" or "Buy it or not" templates, users could easily create their questions in less than a minute and are able to get real-time feedback from people with the same taste.

Right Choice, Right Time.

Desk Research

  • A purchase is far more than a simple economic action: it has social and psychological implications.

  • Personal identity is often strongly linked to an image projected by products one buys.

  • People make prompt decisions with their subconscious.


Cultural Probes


We designed a set of artifacts as probe toolkit and recruited six participants. The whole period lasted for two weeks and we gathered all the workbooks back.​

Wong 20


Wu 30

Marine Surveyor

Shao 23


Li 35


Leung 28


Ben 38

Startup Founder

We found out that although our participants are of different age and profession, they had something in common when it comes to shopping.


  • People's love towards a certain product can be easily extended to its accessories

  • People will read online reviews and think over for a long time when they want to buy something expensive

  • Most impulsive buying decisions are motivated by salesperson at stores and friends who own the similar products

  • Sometimes, people are happy with their "Bought but seldom used" items which could provide them with a sense of reassurance and comfort. 

Cultural Probes Tookit

The toolkit aims at encouraging participants to dream about things they want, think about things they have and reflect on things rarely used by asking them to draw, write and snap.

"Happy moments" taken by three different participants

Field Observation

We conducted a 30-minute observation at the 7-Eleven convenience store on our campus and found out that:


  • Too many options make it harder to choose

  • Friends influence one's purchase decisions

  • It takes longer time for girls to make decisions than boys

Role-Playing & Scenarios


We divided the buying decision process into "before", "during" and "after" and build three scenarios accordingly. Then we acted them out for a better understanding of the potential and effective touchpoints. Below are some interesting findings.



  • People gather information from mixed sources - social media reviews, company website, friend's recommendation, and physical store

  • People trust peer reviews



  • People are price-conscious

  • Friends influence one's purchase decisions

  • People don't pay for actual things, they pay for how things make them feel



  • Moving is a time for people to recognize their never used or rarely used items

  • When choosing between two things of similar functions, people make trade-offs.














of Purchase

Delivery /



 How can we help people 

 make the right decisions 

 at this moment? 





To better design for the "critical moment", we analyzed all our findings from initial research, cultural probes and role-playing, and generated three major insights.


  • People buy emotions, not things
    People don't buy things, they buy how things make them feel.

  • The crowd leads the way
    Most of the people's preferences are learned and formed by social norms and expectations

  • Word-of-mouth matters
    Asking people around for purchase decisions face-to-face or through instant messaging platforms is commonplace


Chat with friend

about desired product

"What is that?" "Why is she so excited?"

"That's not bad."

"Let me see the video."

"Wow, it looks sleek!"

"Aerial shooting is cool."

"Huh... it looks great. Maybe I need one too."

"I'll go with you to try it out."

"New product release!"

"He might be interested too."

"Reviews are great. I want one."

"The price is affordable."

"Let me check more details."

"I want to go to a physical store to see it. "

"There's a store here, let's go."

- "I want sugar-free drinks."

- "I'll try the Vita soymilk."

"Oh, we can buy 2 get 1 free."

"Shall we drink soymilk?"

"Chocolate milk is rich in fat."

"Fruit milk is a better choice."

"Good for you!"


Buy drinks with

two friends

"I want soda drinks!"

"Coca-cola or Coke Zero?"

"I don't want soymilk, I want the coke."

"Maybe I'll take Coke Zero.

"Chocolate milk looks good roo."

"How about fruit milk, seems less in fat and cheaper."

"I'll have the  fruit milk!"

"Low calorie, lighter weight!"


Decide what to take

to new house

Wrap things up

"What should I take with me to my new house?"

Choose between two keyboards

"Should I take the lighter one or the wireless one?"

Evaluate rarely read books

"I seldom read these books."

"Maybe I should recycle them."

Consider selling used stuff

"I rarely use this heavy camera."

"iPad can take pics too."

"I'll sell it."

Throw out old shoes

"Let me try them on to see which is better."

"I'll take the cushioning one."



When people hesitate about their buying decisions, they turn to friends for advice through instant messaging applications. They want to know whether this shirt fits them well or that headphone looks sleek on their head. Some of them even have small groups made up of people with similar tastes to help make better decisions.


But it's not possible for one to always get instant replies before handing in the money. And that's the time we could step in.

"Help! I'm staring at the screen waiting."

There is an interesting meme on most social media platforms across China. It is called "在线等" in Chinese, which means "staring at the screen and waiting online".


People usually throw out a quite tough or tricky problem such as "I borrowed my daddy's watch and broke it, how should I tell him?" and add "Help! I'm staring at the screen waiting".​

Image source:

​"We want to create a virtual community based on a real-time interactive app to help people make better decisions when shopping."

Target User


  • Familiar with mobile app

  • Active on social media

  • Cares about appearance

  • Value other's advice

Product Key Features


  • Easy to use

  • "Virtual" friends

  • Simple "this or that" format

  • Real-time feedback

Participatory Workshop


We did four rounds of participatory workshops to let the target users discover problems and possibilities for us. The overall feedback was quite positive, but our participants asked us three major questions:


  1. How do I make sure that most "voters" are with the same taste as mine?

  2. Can I delete my post after I get the answer?

  3. What information will be put in "Trends" column?


Iterative Design


To answer these questions, first, we added a tagging system to enable users to tag themselves. Second, we allow users to delete the post after they get the answer. Third, we split the "Trend" column into "Trend" and "Ranking" columns. In "Trend" column, there are fashion news and trendy items. In "Ranking" column, users will see the most popular questions with the highest votes in the day. Meanwhile, splash screens were added to help users understand the core functions of the app. 

Usability Testing


We conducted three rounds of usability testings in total. Each time we made some refinements according to the feedback given by users.


Most of the users love the idea of the app and understand most of the features well. Nonetheless, there are moments of confusion and uncertainty documented below.

​Scenario & Storyboarding


Future Opportunities


"Dcidr" promises greater potential than being an app. It can be an add-on for most instant messaging apps or even online shopping apps.


To attract more people to use it, we can invite Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) from fashion-related industries as part of our influencer marketing strategies.


The ideal business model for this app is to grow the user base to attract brands to launch promotion campaigns on this platform, which would allow us to move from online to offline, or even further. 


App Icon Design

​Personal Role

Icon Design

Flora Jiahui LIU

Maxine Yingtong QIU

Rachel Qinglin ZHENG


User Research

Idea & Development

Scenario & Storyboarding

Pitch Presentation


Eucalyp from

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