Mockup of Aashiyan website on an iMac & React Native (from Android) app on an iPhone


prototyping, user research & design for react native app

Anandana Kapur
Visual & Experience Designer


Aashiyaan is an interactive mobile documentary that is a living archive of the lives and experiences of the ‘invisible’ women of Delhi. As an interactive mobile app, it invites users to listen to and participate in women’s conversations about how they navigate unsafe urban geography.

Challenge: user research across two continents
Two Indian women photographed, one sitting on a bench, telling their stories as part of this project

Research Goals

  • to learn about how well users navigate the current MVP
  • to understand if people can successfully learn and use "hold down to play" video
  • to learn if users understand icons (both current and new global nav being considered)
  • Low fidelity artboards in an Adobe XD document

    High Level Questions

    Do users want to follow individual women's stories? Or are they happy seeing the icons representing concepts? Do users connect concepts with the icons? Do the Objects icons provoke curiosity?

    PDF of Aashiyaan user research findings and recommendations

    User Research Process

    1. Working to a script
    2. Reviewing notes with the participant
    3. Reporting positives & pitfalls

    photos of the Lava Atom Iris 3 smartphone used for prototype testing

    Production Decisions

    Our design and development teams were partners in a discussion about how to style the app in production. We ultimately elected to use the react-native default, where styles would be defined in the .js component files in regular JSON. This is a step away from the global style definition style of the design system as written, but dramatically reduced design-related unknowns for developers working independently.

    photos of the Lava Atom Iris 3 smartphone used for prototype testing

    Lessons Learned

    Get Closer to the Code

    We got the best results when the outcome of our design process was easily incorporated by developers and other non-design stakeholders. Clear action items based on research findings and component-level Javascript styles are two examples of this principle that we put into practice.

    Test Early

    Our team firmly believed in the need to conduct user research early and often in the design & development process, and we were rewarded with research findings that challenged high-level assumptions made while prototyping the visual design and interactions.

    Explore New Tools

    We found that prototyping in Sketch and XD was sufficient for designers working independently and in sequence, but wanted to explore other applications providing live collaboration and multi-user support&emdash;in addition to tools that could output production-ready CSS or JS from a familiar interface.

    aashiyaan city illustration with the text 'launching soon'

    Other Projects