App comparison

Red Ventures was looking to expand its footprint in the entertainment space. Already having a few entertainment partners we work with, we wanted to build our own brand in the competitive search landscape.


Product Designer, Researcher, Strategist

Methods and tools

Focus group, persona analysis, platforma, Sketch, InVision,


5 Weeks (Research, Content, Design, User testing)


Margaret Smith (Content Strategist), Jake Mize (Creative Director), Oscar Romero (Researcher), Ben Grant (Customer Experience, Product Manager)



The App Store and Google Play Store has an app for everything, oftentimes 20 or more apps do the same thing. Both Apple and Google make it easy to discover new apps, but there is no way to compare side by side other than using multiple browser tabs. User generated reviews and Editors' Choice are not enough to make a decision and oftentimes lead to downloading several apps to find the best one, then deleting the others.


Create an experience that makes it easy to find the app(s) a user is looking for by narrowing down categories, sorting and filtering based on preference, and comparing several apps side by side.

Scope: For the MVP, the prototype will focus on entertainment (streaming) and financial (budgeting) apps. Advanced filtering and sorting, as well as side by side comparison of selected apps, will showcase all the differences including price, review stars, features, and more.



The first week on the team, I focused on researching and identifying our audience. I casually interviewed people to validate our hypothesis and discover customer pain points. A small focus group was conducted among several individuals and questioned about how they discovered and downloaded new apps in the App Store and Google Play Store.

From conducting this mini focus group, I determined five key takeaways:

  1. Subscriptions are deal breakers, but not free trials.
  2. Customers conduct branded searches in App Store or Google Play.
  3. Customers in research mode (non-brand) love top 10 lists and Reddit.
  4. Badges need to convey they are not paid results.
  5. Recommendations from friends and family, reviews, and ratings drive the most downloads.


Knowing that entertainment and finance are two high grossing categories, our team started there first. Samantha and Johnathan were created so that we could focus our efforts in comparing different streaming services and budgeting apps based on focus group feedback.


After learning more about our audience and their needs, Margaret and I whiteboarded out the ideal user flow. It was important to make sure this user flow could work for any category. We then reviewed our key findings and strategy with the broader team and project stakeholders. We refined our sketches based on their feedback before beginning wireframing.


I used InVision to handle feedback, communication, and create a tappable prototype to prepare for user testing. Using Sketch and Platforma 2 made it incredibly easy to put the prototype together in days instead of weeks. An InVision board was also used to document the process along the way so stakeholders could actively check in on progress.

Wait, Stop: Scope Change 😔

It happens to the best of us

After spending two and a half weeks on the app comparison tool, our senior leadership met and changed our overall business strategy from comparing apps to focus only on video streaming, music streaming, and gaming services.


Get to know more of our audience

Luckily part of our research was already conducted on video streaming services. I conducted a few more interviews on music streamings and gamers. Based on those conversations, I created two more personas in each of the different categories to discover their pain points.

Revised strategy

Through focus group feedback, we found the number one reason people choose one service over another is because they have their favorite shows or channels. This meant that our original prototype of filtering and sorting wouldn’t work, and we need to pivot to asking one question at time, and recommending a service (or combination of services).

Scoping out our revised MVP, I realized TV and movies services was going to be the most difficult due to how many different services exist (and continue to grow). We started with video streaming first. Future versions of the app could then recommend streaming music and gaming services, or a bundle of multiple services (for example Hulu + Spotify).

New wireframes

I continued to use InVision to handle feedback, communication, and create a prototype to prepare for user testing.

User testing

We narrowed down potential results page ideas and started prototyping the recommendation flow. We created a mid-fidelity prototype and used UserTesting to evaluate it.

Margaret and I conducted two unmoderated tests and recruited five people between the ages of 25-40, and five people between the ages of 40-55. Through two screener questions, we screened for people who currently have a cable or satellite TV service, but would like to cancel it for a streaming TV service. We excluded anyone who had already researched their current streaming service(s) and targeted people who do research before buying a new product. Each session lasted from 10-20 minutes.

Goal: Gather qualitative feedback on the following and use the findings to make iterations to the tool prior to MVP launch.

  1. Number of questions/How we’re asking them/Are they the right questions?
  2. Usability
  3. Results page trust


Final design

Stay tuned, this is still an active project wrapping up that will be live and in the market soon.

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