Science has outpaced search. The Meta app allows researchers to subscribe to personalized feeds containing preprints to papers and biomedical science.
When I started at Meta, the product team had already developed the back-end of the app and a modest front-end UI. It was clear more attention would have to be given to the details of the user experience. Some of the work needed basic adherence to accessibility guidelines the rest of the work needed us to learn more about the users.
My role on the team was that of a product designer. My responsibility was to design a front-end UI for the Meta app. I also worked with a core team consisting of a senior UX architect, project manager, and three front-end devs. We also worked closely with the both co-founders.
I started off by speaking with key members of the team to understand the requirements of the project. The project was on a tight deadline and initially had to be completed within six months.
I conducted ethnographic research in labs at the University of Toronto and MaRS Discovery District to study the behaviours of the users. It was no surprise that the audience was very analytical and were accustomed to using apps like PubMed and Google Scholar.
Through our studies, we learned that the primary problem affecting researchers is the challenge to discover, rank, and keep up with scientific literature because there are so many publications out there.
Working on this project taught me about the importance of shipping regularly. Our team struggled to release new work before it was "ready" and it caused us to rethink our steps as we got closer to the end.
That said, our work must have made an impact because the app was acquired by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.