Building mutual connections
Monster is a two week design challenge that I put together for a gaming company. The goal was to create an app that would help users build mutual connections with others.
For this personal project, I did user research through dating apps and online chat platforms to understand and synthesize users needs for building mutual connections that led to ideation and design decisions.
I created doodles, paper prototypes and tested them early on. I built wireframes through sketch and sent a PDF presentation and an Invision prototype to test and iterate before sending to the client.
USERS WANT TO BUILD CONNECTIONS
Designing a social media app that will let people create relationships and connections online with others. They must be able to meet anyone around the world, start a conversation and continue it if need be.
"I am always looking for others with shared goals"
FINDING MUTUAL NEEDS
I wanted to understand why users would want to meet others online at all. Assumptions include:
Friendship / Dating
Talk about similar Interests
Job search or career discussions
I thought of a flow where a user might be traveling and would like to meet others in the area. There's opportunities for strangers to meet due to mutual understandings or needs.
TALKING TO STRANGERS
I used Omegle, a website that allows you to talk to anyone in the world, to talk to strangers and an understanding of how connections are formed between strangers. Here are some key discoveries from my research:
Users know that there are a lot of trolls
Users are not discouraged by trolls
Users feel more comfortable meeting others online because they can be more of "themselves"
One must be vulnerable to others in order to expect the same in return
"I continue using this platform in possibility of connecting with another person."
My next assumption was that people would want to meet in order to "skill swap". This brings people to a vulnerable stage and ask for help and also give back in return.
I created paper prototypes on this idea and tested it.
I wanted the app to have an introduction for first time users. This gives the user a taste of how the users can adjust their characters to fit their own personality. This also introduces questions and gives the user to answer them later after they have tested the app.
After testing the paper prototypes, users made it clear that skill swapping may not be the best way to build a mutual connection. I learned that:
Users won't necessarily ask strangers for help
It may be rare to match up with someone that is looking for your help also
Users are suspicious of others expertise in the skill
LET'S TALK ABOUT TOPICS WE LIKE
From the skill swap test, I learned that users would rather get to know one another by talking about a similar topic that are interesting to them. Users get to share their own personal interests and be open to talking about it with others and vise versa.
With this idea, vulnerability became one sided and the user sharing their interests don't necessarily know who would see it.
"You have to be genuinely interested in the other person and contribute to the conversation."
Q: How do you become good at conversations?
Dating apps had a big influence on this app.
For example, Tinder connects people through looks, while Coffee Meets Bagel connects user through an algorithm of interests. Based on these apps, users have created their own depiction of what to expect by using these apps.
I wanted Monster to be an app that allows users to be open, vulnerable and safe. That is done by letting users create their own avatar that depicts their style or who they aspire to be. Being vulnerable comes with answering questions in the app knowing that they will be matched with others that have also answered the same questions. It is also safe because once users are matched with one another, they have the option to leave or continue the conversation.
ANSWER QUESTIONS THAT INTEREST YOU
I learned that building mutual connections with strangers don't happen overnight. People like to create their own "online persona" but users become more genuine with strangers as they become more comfortable. People don't feel as comfortable answering deep questions in the beginning. They would either lie or make up something quickly to avoid it.