The VPN 4U mobile app was developed to provide an easy to use, fast, and secure connection for user’s when browsing the internet or streaming their favorite media.
VPN 4U is the new VPN product that was launched by VeryPrivateNetwork, Inc. Although this company was created separate of TextMe, Inc. the stakeholders wanted a familiarity between the apps since some of TextMe’s users would potentially be using both apps.
The goal of this app was to provide users with a simple, trustworthy, and easy to use interface that allows them to quickly connect to their favorite servers. The team’s initial objective was to develop an iOS app and later develop the Android version, so keeping in mind the flexibility and limitations of iOS and what it might look like for Android devices in the near future was a priority.
SKILLS & ROLE
Competitive Landscape Analysis
1. MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT: We were planning to launch to the Apple App Store quickly and I had a short timeline to deliver a finished hi-fi prototype to engineering and stakeholders.
2. HUMAN INTERFACE GUIDELINES: We initially implemented this app on iOS but it was important to keep in mind what it might look like on Andoird using Material Design Guidelines. One of the key things about the TextMe products is that the apps are similar on both iOS and Android devices and we wanted to keep this trend with VPN 4U.
3. LOOKING AHEAD: Since this would be an MVP - what features would we be adding later that we needed to think about ahead of time so that we did not need to completely change the UI or UX.
I began my research with a competitive landscape analysis and looked at the different VPN mobile apps on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Some things we took into consideration during the analysis were:
Branding (dark theming vs. light theming)
What is their promotional and marketing strategy?
What are the range of products/subscriptions they offer?
Reviews on the stores
We also used some user personas from TextMe to guide some of our design decisions since we would be funneling users who were interested in protecting their privacy to VPN 4U. However, we were careful to rely on these since we knew that these personas would change as VPN 4U would grow and evolve.
SKETCHING & WIREFRAMING
I identified, on a high level basis, what I wanted the product to look like based on my research and ideas from key stakeholders on the team. Key factors I took into consideration while sketching and beginning the branding were:
Colors: Our team still wanted the same look and feel of TextMe products, but something different and “trustworthy” for the new product
In-app icons: How many would I need, what would they look like - filled in/sharp?
Logo: Did we want something evocative, sharp, and dark (reminiscent of the dark web) or lighter, airy, and bright (trustworthy and private)?
I expanded upon the blue color scheme of TextMe and picked a true and light blue as the primary color for VPN 4U to invoke a feeling of trustworthiness and stability. I used an additional blue as the secondary color to continue the trend and carried the blue color scheme through the app. For the settings page, I choose to offset the blue with white and grey surface colors to anchor the branding around the light and airy theme which is reminiscent of the TextMe brand.
1. It’s important to think of the process as a whole. Having a strong product strategy, vision, and road map is integral to the entire design and will help guide the process and my design decisions in the future.
2. Spend more time on the prototype. I moved quickly through the first few stages because of the time crunch we were on, but there could have been more time spent on the sketching and wireframing stage.
I have omitted and obfuscated confidential information in this case study. All information in this case study is my own and does not reflect the views of TextMe Inc. or VeryPrivateNetwork, Inc.