Just In Time(JIT)
With 8000 existing dating sites worldwide, the online dating space appears to be still very challenging for users. We would like to restore hope for people who are looking for real connections.
Online dating lost its real purpose and turned into an ego boosting, incessant swiping, small talk and no shows converter belt. It fuels the idea of a disposable society. The mission is to raise the bar in online dating!
Scope of work
The app needs to be great for serious daters, which means game seekers won't have the patience for it. The goal is to find a balance with restrictions and still offer a fun and effective dating experience.
The design process was a complete 360 service. The process was: Primary research, competitive analysis, ideation, executing journey, wireframes and prototype, followed by user moderated testing.
User interviews were the most effective primary research method to identify user pain points. 15 people, both men and women were interviewed, who use or have used online dating apps. Affinity mapping helped to narrow down and identify the main user pain points:
1. Frustration with endless small talk and dropped conversations.
2. Online dating became a time filler or a game to most people.
3. Too many choices. “There is someone better around the corner”.
4. People are tired of thoughtless swiping and matches which lead nowhere.
5. Only 2-10% of people go on real dates.
The affinity map helped to categorise a lot of collected data. Main user irritations were identified from technical and human behaviour perspectives, as well as understanding their desires, goals and suggestions.
Competitive analysis of serious relationship dating apps such as Bumble, Hinge and Ok Cupid fulfilled mostly all heuristic principals and revealed great focal points such as:
1. Encouragement and guidance to help people meet in real life was missing.
2. Swiping is being replaced by a scrolling feature, which helps to slow down and improve quality browsing.
3. Smooth user guidance and onboarding is key to a new user.
4. Interesting or funny answered questions is a great way for people to start a conversation.
5. Beautiful and seamlessly designed interface is a must.
The online dating user takes up a very large market and it was challenging to identify clear groups. For empathy maps, four groups were identified - confident/ambitious; connection/quality seeker; geeky/insecure and frustrated/socialite.
1. All users desired connection, meeting people in real life sooner. Age, appearance and interests were the most important features. However, they revealed very different behaviours in how they search, judge and make a choice depending on their personality and experience.
2. Connection/quality seekers stood out with more clear goals and behaviours. They engaged with the interface differently; searching for more quality points in the profile, debating about matching and taking their time with messaging.
3. Majority frustrations were; not meeting the right people, time-wasting with small talk, dropping connections, no clarity about other person’s intentions, wanting to meet in real life and looking for an easier way to engage with each other.
How Might We?
Six problem statements emerged after doing the research, but I'll be focusing on the first three for this stage:
1. HMW encourage people to meet face to face / go on more dates?
2. HMW encourage good manners and respect towards one another? -avoid 'ghosting' (disappearing), and cancellations?
3. HMW help connect people in a more fun and engaging way?
HMW help people to match more meaningfully?
HMW encourage women to take more action?
HMW help people get more realistic impression of another person?(as meeting a person in a real life can be a very different experience)
Intence brainstorming was needed to apply restrictions which won’t take the fun of dating away and keep people using the app. The real success is to find a golden middle ground. Many ideas were heading for a dead end. The idea of a core group of people having limited matches and having to meet these matches in real life, before being able to access matches with other people was decided. This could potentially work as it encourages meaningful matching and deters unfavourable behaviour.
It was time to sketch out the ideas visually. Layouts were made for main red routes and cut them out to make a simple prototype for guerilla testing.
Guerilla testing was a great way to see how people engaged with the idea. It was positively received without delivering many changes. Only the calendar icon needed to be available from both pages: Activity and Events.
Sketches & High
During wireframing, it was vital to grab the user’s attention in explaining the core app’s principles quickly was understood. The video option would be a great way to do so. User thoughts and actions around the date planning and how to make the process seamless and natural were predicted.
"SOPHISTICATED - RELIABLE - FUN" - A challenge was to create design that serves both genders, is sophisticated, reliable but also fun. Users should feel that they have support and can rely on the app and experience overall. Quick tests were ran with men and women to be sure that the colour palette is suitable for both genders.
After two rounds of prototype testing two major changes had to be made.
First and the most important change was “Lets PLAN THE DATE” button and the concept around it. When people discussed the place and the date in the chat, in their minds they had already made a plan and there is no need to press the button to confirm it. The important part of the app is for people to set the date, so it is placed in their calendar, which makes people commit more.
The process had to change slightly - instead of "Lets PLAN THE DATE" it was replaced with "Send YOUR AVAILABILITY", which was a more intuitive approach. To draw a person's attention, the App will send hints in the chat to encourage the user to take action. This was also a very positive change - the date planning now was redesigned to be on one screen rather than four. The place and exact time were made optional with a choice to be added later, to give a user more flexibility.
The button — “Invite to event” wasn’t clear, people thought they would be sending a message. People also wanted to like a person before they invite them to an event. This behaviour comes from other app experiences.
The button was changed to an icon of two people, and we removed the “Like” button from the profile preview page. This will help people to explore the profile instead of "Like" from the preview photo. The pop-up guidance when people use the app for the first time will also help them to understand that they can invite anyone to an event without matching or liking another person.