What's Your Type (2016-07-01 update)

It's finally time to share more about what the software actually does: What's Your Type is a way to keep track of your crew's Myers Briggs profiles.[1]

Screen grabs from Android virtual device, data was randomly generated
What's Your Type Main Screen Grab
What's Your Type Edit Screen Grab

I talk Myers Briggs with my friends all the time and I can never remember anyone's type. That being the case, the primary goal for What's Your Type is simply to be a memory aid. "You're an ISFP?? I think Mike's an ISFP, too... let me check."

An unintended-but-welcome effect of having this information around is that it's actively improved the quality of our conversations. Now, instead of abstractly speculating about ISFPs and people we think may be ISFPs, we get to specifically consider each other, how we're similar, how we're dissimilar, and Myers Briggs' utility (or lack thereof) in helping any given person understand herself and her friends.

Whatever the scientific merits of Myers Briggs, I love that it's a conversation piece and a way for people to feel connected to each other; What's Your Type has enhanced those conversations.

An early mock-up (v2): Having a button for each possible letter was very confusing for users. Also, having the input gathering tools always on screen caused confusion.
What's Your Type New Record Mock Up

Developing this application has been a great way to learn more about how Android implements SQLite. The database's simplicity and my familiarity with the subject matter have been extremely helpful during that exploration.

Finding an intuitive way to gather input from users was the biggest challenge of this past design phase. As I look back through the sketches, I love that decluttering the interface A) made the app nicer to look at and B) made it easier to use. I guess it's hard to choose the wrong option when the only option you see is the right option.

Early sketches of Edit and Search screens
What's Your Type Edit and Search Sketch

Early mock-up of Search screen (v3).
What's Your Type Search Mock

Screen grab of current search interface
What's Your Type Search Screen Grab

Finally, a quick story:
After I'd been telling a friend about the project, showing her mock-ups, etc., she eventually opened up and said something along the lines of: Hey... I've been thinking about your app and I feel like it's sort of creepy.

It's hard to convey in print, but this wasn't exactly an accusatory statement... it felt mostly like concern. Still, she honestly found the whole thing a little creepy and I'm grateful I had an opportunity to hear that.

As someone who...

  • Finds Myers Briggs wildly fascinating,
  • Has friends who feel the same,
  • Often discusses Myers Briggs with those friends, and
  • Is actually crafting the application...

... it never occurred to me that someone might find it creepy -- I didn't have the outsider's perspective necessary to notice it. Now that she's mentioned it, I can totally see it: I'm collecting information about people and keeping it in a database on my phone... that could easily slide into creepsville.

I'm still working through how inherently unpalatable the whole endeavor may actually be. I'm also processing how to make sure this particular software, and also transactions of this nature, are safe and comfortable for people. The huge take away, though, is this: always get an outsider's perspective. Probably a few.

Designing better options to get input from users
What's Your Type Single Button Toggle Sketch

What's Your Type Single Button Toggle Design

What's Your Type Add Record Screen Grab

What's next
  • After tweaking a few things -- both visual and internal -- I'll load What's Your Type onto a tablet and get users to test the live software with random data.
  • In those same sessions, after the live tests, I'll be doing paper tests of new functions, at least including:
  • Ways to sort results
  • A quick test (under 2 minutes) for people who don't know their Myers Briggs type.

  1. Myers Briggs Basics: there are 4 slots, and you can pick between two options for each slot. A person's Myers Briggs "type" or "profile" is a series of 4 letters, e.g. "ESTJ" or "INFP".

    Based on what I can tell, Myers Briggs is sort of hated by scientists and academics who actually do personality profiling; its popularity persists all the same. For the record: I do love Myers Briggs and I can't imagine a scenario in which I would promote or defend its scientific validity.

    Here are a few sources to learn more about Myers Briggs:
    Myers Briggs Website
    16 Personalities Website ↩︎