Team Member(s): Mark Pragides, James Doroba, Frederick Vitale, Stephanie Heckman
Project Goal: Offer a mobile application solution that encourages friendship-building for new residents in their area.
Duration: One week
Role: General UX Designer
Tools: Sketch, Marvel
How can somebody who’s moved to a new location make new friends while dealing with financial limitations and the pressures of being overly social?
I conducted interviews to determine the process of how people made their current friends, and their approach to making new friends. I also emphasized in these interviews what sort of qualities people value in their friends, and what serves as the foundation for their most meaningful relationships.
When handling a social event for the first time, I’m kind of shy and it’s hard to introduce myself because I’ve always had someone to talk to. – Kelly R.
My current friends are generally open-minded, fun and tend to be more introverted than myself, with my introverted friends having more common interests with me. – Bianca H.
I don’t spend too much time online making friends because I like to treat my friends equally, and the online anonimity steers me away. – Bert
I compiled the results of my research into an affinity map, then analyzed the research to find key trends, relationships, observations, and inferences for which to base my design solution.
- Proximity is the key to forming most friendships.
- Familiarity is how people gravitate to each other.
- Introverts have the most difficulty in befriending new people.
- People prefer to meet at locations they’re already familiar with, or prefer to go to a new location with people they already know.
- People hang out with people the more they see them.
- The difficulty of making friends in a new location is due to a lack of assurance.
We determined the following design principles:
- Remove as much of the sense of unfamiliarity as possible.
- The platform should be accessible and personalized to the user.
- Allow for a way to incorporate pre-existing friends into the experience.
The design solution:
I drew up concept sketches to visualize how the design would look and function.
I created an initial prototype of the Buddy Up app that takes into account the insights gained from the research and usability testing.
We ran the design through a number of user testing sessions.
- The website platform didn’t allow users to have control over the circumstances of how they meet people.
- It didn’t alleviate the pressure of meeting someone new, which made making connections too impersonal.
- The option for group events was met with hesitation.
- One-on-one communication was proven to be preferable.
- A “meetup” service was less socially demanding than an “event” service.
- Switching to a mobile platform turned the user experience from being group-focused to individual-focused.
- Enhance the “buddy system” feature to become the core purpose of the app.
- Provide a better context for navigation and the interaction design.
- Address the nuances of connections free of stress and anxiety.
- Implemented a social media profile import requirement to maximize authenticity.
- Made the “buddy system” a request-based function to ease anxiety.
- Used language and instruction that relieves the user’s main reservations.
The finalized product was met with positive reception for providing a solution to the initial problem, and for its feasibility for developers.