This project was dedicated find a solution to personalization and organization on a popular social media and content creation app, TikTok. A Collections feature was designed to organize and efficiently locate previously saved videos and an updated Discover page to provide a motive to explore the app beyond a user's For You Page.
In the appropriate setting, users attempt to scroll through past saved videos to find one specific TikTok and get frustrated when they are unable to locate it. The lack of description on videos can also contribute to this frustration and difficulty.
TikTok users spend the majority of their time on their For You Page (located on the Home of the navigation) and less time on the Discover page. Hence, users may rarely navigate to the Discover page to find new videos since their For You Page is consistently new content.
The problem is that previously saved TikToks become more difficult to locate for reference. The current solution does not allow users the ability to quickly and efficiently find old content.
Outside of the For You Page, personalization lacks throughout the app. The current state of the Discover section does not curate content to the user, making it neglectful by them. Users face the problem of being confined to their For You Page since this is the only section curated to them throughout the entire app.
Overall, users need an efficient and organized way to locate previously saved videos quickly and reasons to explore the app beyond their For You Page.
While TikTok has a wide range of users, an approach to find the solution to our problem is to assess the users and their general characteristics. TikTok has a user base of mostly Generation Z (Gen Z) and Millennials.
According to Wallaroo Media, “60% of TikTok users are Gen Zers . . .” (Source) Generation Z tends to have a higher level of computer experience and competence as opposed to Millennials. However, millennials still attain average computing experience.
Between the two generations, 6 year olds stand as the potential youngest users and extends to around 40-50 year olds. Altogether, the majority of prominent TikTok users have at least a high school education level and average computer experience.
Fourth-year psychology major with a criminal justice minor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
She is from a small town in Kansas and moved to Nebraska for college.
She lives with her cat, Mowgli, and enjoys leisure days on the couch with him.
In her free time, Amber goes to the gym and lifts weights.
She also enjoys baking and cooking to get away from social media noise.
Oftentimes, she will hop on TikTok to find new recipes and gym exercises to follow and use for inspiration. However, it has become difficult for her to organize her compilation of videos.
Amber also loves tuning into livestream events as background noise for her daily tasks.
Jonah is a 28-year-old nail technician artist with two kids and a lovely wife.
He lives in the bustling city of Chicago and works from home.
He loves to spend time with the family by playing card and board games. Occasionally, they will play a family video game on their Nintendo Switch.
In terms of his work, he works privately and is particular with his clientele. When with his clients, he will post videos of his work (with consent) on TikTok to showcase his talents.
He earns a small amount of revenue with each post, depending on their view count.
On his own, he cannot keep track of what’s new and what’s outdated.
Jonah wants to find current nail art trends and keep up with the latest hashtags to better promote his work.
Why do you use TikTok?
Amber uses TikTok to find videos to spur new recipes and fitness routines. Amber wants a way to organize them while Jonah uses it for some revenue and posts often. He wants to find new trends that curate to him.
Where/When do you use TikTok?
Amber mentions she watches TikTok whenever she is bored during her day. It is incorporated in her routine social media check-up where she opens each of her social media apps and sifts through them until there is no more new content.
Jonah says that he uses TikTok the day of a client in order to post. Outside of that, he looks there for art inspiration a day, or so, before the client’s appointment.
Do you use other tools to manage Favorited videos and find trends?
Jonah said he might use iMove to edit some of his videos, but that does not happen often. He does not usually Favorite videos. With that, he has a smaller collection of videos, so it’s not too difficult to locate a video, if he remembers the thumbnail. Sometimes he will go on Instagram to locate trends if he’s stumped on TikTok.
Amber says if she loves a TikTok and does not want to lose it in her Favorited section, she will save the TIkTok to her phone’s photos app. This makes it easier for her to locate it when necessary.
What do you feel are the time constraints on TikTok?
Amber says time constraints could involve the amount of time it takes for her to come back to a Favorited video. She noted that if she has Favorited more videos following the other, she could lose it unless she refers back to it as soon as she’s put in a situation where she needs it. Amber also wants to know more about TikTok announcements and livestream events before they occur.
John says trends come and go, so he feels that he needs to quickly grasp them before they go away.
How did you learn to favorite a video and find trends?
Amber said that almost every other social media network has that option, so she carried her knowledge over from networks like Instagram and Pinterest. She said that Instagram also has a “Discover/Explore” section that she has looked at occasionally.
Jonah mentioned that his daughter helped him add a video to his Favorites and showed him the Discover section.
On a scale of 1-10 (1 being not relevant, 10 being very relevant), how relevant is your For You Page?
Jonah would rate his For You Page’s relevance level around a 6. He says he gets videos he occasionally likes, but not all the time. Amber rates her page’s relevancy at an 8 to 9. She loves her For You Page since it usually makes her laugh and she gets tons of inspiration from it.
How do you talk to other TikTok users?
Amber and Jonah use the direct messaging function to share TikToks to other people that they follow. Both say that it’s always a close friend which they are sending videos to. If the friend does not have a TikTok account, they will hit the Share arrow icon to send it through text message.
How often do you visit the Discover section, post, and add to your Favorites?
Jonah posts at least twice a week and skims the Discover section somewhat often, but rarely adds videos to his Favorites. Amber rarely and almost never looks at the Discover section and rarely posts. She loves that she can Favorite videos for later.
What can go wrong when Favoriting videos and finding trends?
John says that if he doesn’t catch a trend in time, he misses the opportunity to boost his content and get more views. On the other hand, Amber says it is hard to find older TikToks that she has saved. She mentions that if she can’t find it, then she spends around 10-30 minutes trying to locate it, or she gives up completely.
The prototype was created to represent TikTok and its current interface with addition of new features. This included important screens such as the main Home, Discover, Inbox, and Me (profile) navigation. A mobile phone was drawn to mimic the actual user experience.
Using a script and task cards, I tested a total of four users. Two of four users were male software engineering majors who had never used TikTok. From the pre-study questions, both had heard about TikTok from friends.
Outside of the first two, I interviewed two current, considerably expert TikTok users—one male and one female. Both users were recent college graduates and use TikTok in their free-time. The variety of users allowed for identification of pain points in both new and current users.
Points of Friction
Adding to collections is “nice feature”
“Near You” would be used at least 1/month by one user
All users understood the functionality of the “Near You” section
2 users took over 2 minutes to locate the Favorites section
All 4 users found it easy to create a collections
Half of the users felt the Favorites section was not clear
Half of users depended on gestures for actions
1 user would not allow Location Services for their Near You section
2 users were confused by options in the share button
1 user deleted collection without being asked to
2 users could not favorite a video while on the video
2 users took over 2 minutes to locate the Favorites section
1 user navigated to videos directly to remove from collection
Using the research, a working prototype was created using Figma.
This usability test was ran within subjects where one set of users tested two different systems.
The objective hypothesis claims the introduction of the Collections feature to TikTok will improve efficiency by allowing a user to find a previously saved video in a shorter amount of time compared to the original design.
Subjectively, another hypothesis states the redesigned Discover page will increase its intention of use and overall user satisfaction.
This test was ran with four participants. All participants will be part of Generation Z, preferably between 18 - 26 years old. They were expected to be frequent TikTok users and have an average level of computer/mobile experience. These users were best for this usability plan in their ability to compare efficiency and satisfaction between the old and new systems.
The test contained two parts. The first part used TikTok’s current UI/UX. The participants went go through each task listed and were timed accordingly. For the second part, each user will be presented an updated version of the computer prototype and proceeded with the same tasks.
First, the objective hypothesis will be evaluated. To assess whether the Collections feature allowed a user to find a previously saved video in a short amount of time, their time was measured and compared. For each participant, average time (seconds) was calculated for the three comparable tasks.
This hypothesis can be supported by comparing the mean of the time recorded for each task found in Table I and Table II. Overall, the tasks ran with the redesigned TikTok prototype revealed a decrease in time from tasks ran with the current TikTok interface. Task 1 for the redesigned TikTok prototype was faster than Task 1 of the current TikTok interface.
To assess whether the improved Discover page increased intention of use and user satisfaction, a Likert scale question was asked in regard to the Discover page. For each participant, their rating was recorded. With our results, the redesigned Discover page was rated higher than the current Discover page.
This hypothesis can be supported by comparing the ratings found in Table III and Table IV. Overall, the redesigned discover page saw an improvement in likelihood ratings.