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App Development and Design

Designed a new app proposal for families living overseas that work at US Embassies and Consulates abroad. This app was designed to be an all in one place for old and new members to share information that is fast, efficient and focuses on communication and referrals from within the community. The main goal of this app project is to help make an easier transition for new families and enjoy improved community communication with one another, while they live overseas and enjoy their new home away from home.

This project is a proposal designed for the Community Liaison Office (CLO) for the US Department of State.


The US Department of State wants to help it’s employees and families moving to a new embassy or consulate abroad, easier. They want their employees to have the best information, but not from the outside - from the inside (their own employees of embassies and consulates), so they know the information is the best they can offer.


The US Department of State hopes, in cooperation with The Community Liaison Office, that this app will help them be one step closer to creating an easier adjustment for their families and employees as they move around the world and help their great organization as they serve their country.

OBJECTIVE: Design an easy to use app that employees and families of the US Department of State can use and at the same time, contribute to as well. This app will provide invaluable information to all those involved as they move to their new job positions at multiple embassies and consulates world-wide.


Secondary Research: Review the information The US Department of State currently gives their employees when moving to a new embassy or consulate abroad. Evaluate other offices, government agencies, military and other re-location companies to see how they achieve this process in the best manner. Also, researching other companies to see if they have apps that offer something similar for their employees and how they achieve success.

Competitive Analysis: research apps that give multiple options for users when traveling to new cities and countries. Compare this with other popular apps like Whats App and Instagram messaging and work on ways to combine multiple key features into one app.

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Conclusion: I tried to choose some of the not as popular apps that incorporate adding trips or sharing trip information with other travelers. The ideal travel sites; Fodors and Lonely Planet are the best at providing information on each of the cities which will be helpful when incorporated later; however, I needed to find out more about sharing and collaborating with other travelers through these apps. Some apps were not offered everywhere around the world, some were unable to use without paying additional money, and although Visit A City was my favorite of them all, it only had city guides, but no additional information for restaurants, clubs or family adventures. 

Primary Research:  Conducted surveys and evaluated people’s needs when being moved to another country for a new job. What key items were they missing when they arrived that would have helped them acclimate better? What information were they given that helped ease their transition?

A survey was conducted with 13 people, with ages ranging from 28 - 65. Half of the participants were ages 40 and up and all were sent to Panama for a company move (not all were working at US Embassy). 

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  • 83% were connected with someone in the area where they moved

  • 59% were emailed documentation

  • 50% were provided information when they arrived & sent links to websites to review

  • 33% attended an event when they arrived to their new home

  • 17% had their own company website to use with information that was not available to anyone outside their organization

  • 8% had a community newsletter

  • 8% was in a self-starter business (did not have any information)

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  • 77% Believe a forum is important to them- with all using Whats App

  • 15% Think maybe it is important

  • Less than 10% say it is not important (or annoying) 

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  1. 50% - Things to Do in Area​

  2. 42% - Traveling Outside the Country

  3. 33% - Restaurants

  4. 33% - Traveling Inside the Country

  5. 33% - Sports 

User Personas

Click on each persona for full story 


A task flow and user flow were designed to take the user through a specific journey of logging in as a new user and then being able to add their own custom pin of a new restaurant in their area. Being able to share information with the community is one of the key features in this app, so I wanted to focus on those steps in this prototype.

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Creating this user flow below allowed me to view a better visual of the app screens, but understand my process before I started sketching and wireframing. I felt this was a quicker way to communicate my ideas and flush out some bad ideas as well. This process helped me create a faster wireframe layout, but also created an easier way to understand the "press and hold" and how to actually show that during my testing. This process is still in testing.

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By creating some rough sketches first, I was able to easily transition into my low fidelity wireframes. 

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To continue creating with the current flow, I designed easy to use buttons, simple icons, fun typography and photos to create the full experience for the user's testing the app. I also wanted to make sure this experience was fun and easy for new and older users and decided to keep with a travel, moving and adventure theme.

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I did five one on one interviews for my usability testing working within my team as well as actual users in my workplace. The design painpoints and actions were taken into careful consideration and were the main part of my re-design process. There were quite a few additional steps I had not thought about before and was happy to see these pointed out and even happier to change them for better use.

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"I want to see my pin once it's added so I know it's saved."


Goals: Create an app that is easy to use, helps people navigate around easily in the new country they have moved to and are living in, and is easily able to share new ideas, locations and events with their community and new friends.

Make it EASY to use and navigate

Allow the whole COMMUNITY to add new items quickly and share with friends and colleagues... On the Go!

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The result of this final design was heavily based on the user testing, feedback and observations. It was important to me to test within the community I am already living in as well as those around me. I also wanted to test with those moving to new countries for their careers and families, that were not in the US State Dept. or with the government or military. Taking ALL the additional research, interviews and the customer's feedback from testing were invaluable and ultimately helped me shape this final design and iterations below.

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I enjoyed designing this project due to the complexity and research necessary to narrow down the key options, but also the unique perspective and opinions of each person. Although there were many different scenarios I would have liked to have created, I found this to be the bes​t scenario for this example. It would also cover the most demographics and get the best amount of research time and efforts. I am looking forward to creating additional scenarios for this app and testing them out in the future. My next steps will be:

  • Test again with those in similar lifestyle, record feedback and keep making iterations to final design.

  • Continue to work on creating additional screens to complete multiple paths; exploring vacation locations and checking out events in and around town.

  • Continue toward project deadline goal to be ready for final presentation to US Department of State by November 2020. (Still pending due to COVID)

More  Work...

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