(self-initiated, timeline: after-work hours - work in progress)
Current digital ID options are either un-inclusive across operating systems, or not trusted.
A digital ID app that works on both Android and iOS platforms, where ID checkers can actually use a secondary app to get identity confirmation and thus boost credibility of a new product.
Competitive Analysis + The Gap + Interviews
Not long ago, Apple secured a first few states that will support a digital ID. Rivaling Apple is foolish - my main advantage? Lack of association to any one OS. Having a platform that works across multiple operating systems is key.
To showcase validity, current and up-and-coming apps use animations or QR codes. While giving people the option to share specific data about themselves, I think it's also important to stick to utmost simplicity: creating a product that is more complex than just showing an ID card taken out of the wallet seems unnecessary.
After going through Hollywood and talking to a variety of people, 3 key takeaways became very clear.
1. Credibility. To fight the young and tech-savvy generation's sophisticated fakes, many stores scan the PDF-417 style barcode on the back of IDs to double-check customers' age. Security guards working at the entry doors of pubs and clubs echoed the interest in a product that could do the same but would fit in their phone.
2. Preventing identity theft. Ensuring that the QR codes cannot be used twice was a key issue brought up by many.
3. Simplicity and availability. The experience needs to be effortless.
College Student Persona
I love to spend my weekends socializing with others at local bars and clubs.
When I go out, I want to be able to take as little as possible with me!
A digital ID on my phone would not only mean that I can take less with me to go out, but more importantly, if I would ever lose my phone, I know it will remain locked and I can track it to get it back.
Sometimes being able to just let go on the dance floor with nothing but my phone in my pocket is nice. Currently if I end up taking my wallet, I usually take my purse as well which I have to then guard all the time.
Working through low and mid-fidelity wireframes, some major questions kept coming up.
What is the first screen to greet people? Some apps can't be opened unless first unlocked via password. Given concerns about credibility, usability and overall novelty of this in daily lives, having someone open the app first and then freely access any information seemed more question worthy than unlocking the specifically chosen information right in front of the person checking its validity.
Sliding to show specific information seemed at first like a good idea, but as conversations and interviews evolved, it became clear that the design has to be accessible and ready to show the information as quickly as possible.
While striving to be straightforward, separation between "ID items" and "settings" should be present. Furthermore, how far should one go in terms of consolidating what options to give the user?
Creating a hierarchy between buttons and function is key, but one shouldn't dwarf one in comparison to the other. At the same time, options that are too limiting might become a point of frustration for users.
Reducing accessibility to a single hand is crucial in order to maximize ease of access. The green zone shows a phone's most accessible area with just the thumb. While thinking of left-handed users, the area that is most crucial in this case, doubles in size but in reality, functionality needs to be mirrored on both sides or extended across the screen.
What are some of the most common ID cards uses?
Throughout interviews and conversations, it became clear that the most common type of ID card usage involves the purchase of age restricted products.
Confirmation of identity. Interviewees' scenarios varied from ticket purchases to restaurant operators looking for a match between vaccination cards and ID card names.
Finally, the most obvious scenario that was on everybody's mind: getting pulled over. In attempt to keep options to a bare minimum, the first but also final option that always needed to be included was the option of accessing the full digital ID card.
All in all, yes is less. Creating a hierarchy between buttons and options of a digital ID app is just as crucial as not overwhelming the user with too many choices, as this article on American Psychological Association's website discusses. If the goal is to maximize ease and access speed, less choices may actually be more productive.
In order to guarantee a safe login, information such as the ID # and the last 4 digits of users' SSN should be entered. This would prevent the need to sign up for the service while ensuring a secure login. Tracking usage of the digital ID app under settings could be another feature maximizing the amount of a user's control.
As previously discussed, every occasion may require a different set of personal details. Visually communicating what information is shared via the QR code (or PDF-417 barcode) creates transparency within the app itself, further facilitating the ease of use for both digital ID carrier as well as the ID checker.
Finally, while still in progress, ideally a separate app to scan the digital IDs' barcodes to check their validity is of course half of the project. I believe keeping these separate will create the most clarity as the user groups using one or the other might never need to have both functions within the same app.
Keeping this portion of the project as simple as possible is just as crucial. Furthermore, making it impossible to screenshot or save people's profiles would be a key feature to explore in an attempt to protect people's privacy.
Analysis + Conclusion
More than any other case study, this one showed me the importance of talking to strangers, and gathering not just data but actual stories, opinions, and overall impressions. While case studies like these will still be limited, engaging with both ID checkers and ID providers helped me understand the issues on both sides and keep the needs of both in the final design.