Conduct user research to find a problem facing your friends right now, and design a digital solution.
My partner and I took the first week to talk to our respective friend groups and take notes on what they're facing and how they're feeling about it. Honestly it felt more like catching up than research!
We noticed a lot of our non-mutual friends were talking about their dating lives, so I wanted to know more and if there was a pattern between our friends difficulties.
Each friend had the same complaint: despite dates going well, often there would be no follow up or a second date. Even if there was a follow up, many seemingly good relationships would end in one person cutting all communication with no notice - more commonly known as ghosting.
Not only is this frustrating, but it is deeply painful to experience. Everyone we talked to felt like there was something wrong or undesirable with them. We wanted to learn as much as we could while being as respectful and honest as possible. We found our interview questions led to rough and deeply personal areas we didn’t think of, and we just needed to listen and hear the person and their struggles.
It took several times going back and forth between our journey map and interviewing people again, but we found that there was a lack of communication that led to these issues.
BREAKING DOWN BRICK WALLS
Our journey maps could only get us so far. My partner and I got stuck in the story, and had trouble backing up and seeing the bigger picture.
We thought we might not have enough information to complete our first journey map, so we re-interviewed the friends with a fresh set of questions to help us get a better idea of where communication broke down.
INSIGHTS AND ITERATING
We re-mapped each interviewee’s journey and marked key points on their story.
We wanted to focus on how we could connect people who want to let their dates know they are still interested without a fear of rejection
Each opportunity on our maps dealt with communication breakdown. We marked questions in yellow, breakdowns in red, and opportunities in green (pictured above).
We came up with several paper prototypes based on each opportunity point. Post date questionnaires, an AI that could let a person down gently, and physical takeaways from a date were just some of the ideas we came up with.
PICKING AN IDEA TO MOVE FORWARD WITH
During our paper prototype presentation, classmates voted on which idea they liked the best. I focused my testing on general communication and less on dating — I found that fear of rejection was not only present during and after dates, but also persisted between friends.
After choosing, I started outlining key events and frameworks I wanted to happen within my app — well, amended settings interface.
USER TESTING HIGHLIGHTS
I asked both Android and Apple users to test out my interface. Android users understood my model well, whereas Apple users were unsure of where to find certain functions in my Axure model.
Hindsight is always 2020, and if I could do this differently, I would have moved to a medium-fidelity prototype after paper prototyping— I think the quality of prototype interfered with tester's understanding of the test itself.