Agatha Tutia
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Amisu: Long-Distance Friendship App

Amisu

A social media app to bring long-distance friendships closer

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UX Design | Intro to Human-Computer Interaction


Objective

Design a personal informatics system to track data and allow people to self-reflect and gain self-knowledge.

My Roles

Project Management, Interviews, Task Analysis, Ideation, Paper Prototyping, High-fidelity Prototype, Iterative Testing, and Visual Design.

Timeline

11 weeks

Team

Add Gritman
Kellan Grant
Yang Liu

Tools

Sketch
InVision
Photoshop
Principle
Premiere Pro


 

The Opportunity

How can a service or product provide long-distance friendships an intentional focus?

Sometimes it’s difficult to keep up with friends when you don’t live in the same city. Different time zones and schedules hinder friends from making time for one another.

 

Research Methods

 

Interviews

We conducted interviews with 2 underclassmen, 2 upperclassmen, 2 graduate students, and 2 international students so that we could look for similar pain points across age and culture of students.

Affinity Diagramming

From our interviews, we sticky-noted problems, moments, and anything special that came to mind and grouped them into an affinity diagram of the constant themes throughout.

Task Analysis

We answered a series of Task Analysis Questions to fully understand our target audience, their current tasks, and what they hoped to accomplish.

 

Friends need to communicate with each other to maintain their friendships. Whey they are not in the same place, technology, say social mediums, can help people get in touch.
— International Graduate Student, Participant

Synthesis

 

Key Insights

1.

Face-to-face is the most desired form of communication

2.

Distance, different time zones and schedules make it difficult to keep up-to-date

3.

Memories of the friendship are very much cherished

4.

Social media often feels shallow and unintentional

5.

True friendship can go untended for long periods of time

 
 

Communications Matrix

Observing the various tools and platforms of communication, I organized them along a matrix of public to private conversation and surface-level to deep interaction. We decided to aim for a private and deep tool.

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Ideation & Design Narrowing

 
Sheet full of ideas

Brainstorming and Concept Focusing

We brainstormed and narrowed down to 3 ideas to improve how friends communicated with each other: a trip planner app, an Alexa skill for video voicemail, and a scrapbook app. After analyzing and thoughtful conversing on the most crucial tasks to address, we combined the various aspects of all 3 ideas.

 

Design Narrowing & Storyboards

We decided to focus on a social media app that was mindful of the depth and sentimentality of the relationship. To aid us in understanding how this app could be used, we storyboarded scenarios to guide our prototype decisions.

Sketched out wireframes
 

Iterative Testing

 
A finger taps on a paper prototype

Paper Prototyping & Wireframes

We then created paper prototypes for user testing. Once we were more confident in our flows, we continued on to high-fidelity wireframes which I made in Sketch.

 

Heuristic Evaluation & Usability Tests

While we were prototyping, we conducted one round of heuristics with other designers and developers, and two rounds of usability tests with people who have long-distance friends. Based on their feedback and team discussion, changes to the interface were made for the final design.

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Visual & UI Guide

Light, friendly, and heartfelt

Avoiding the blue scheme of other social media platforms, I wanted Amisu to be warm and inviting, welcoming and intentional. The typeface, Nunito, embraces rounded corners, but maintains credibility. The UI embodies rounded corners to be more organic and friendly.

 
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Design Response

Amisu, an intentional social media app to keep long-distance friends closer.

The name is a combination of the Latin word “amici” (which means “friends”) and “I miss you.”

 
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Tending to the Ones that Matter

To break through the clutter of social media, a “feed” is replaced with a live-location map of your far-off friends.

Making it About US

Instead of pages dedicated to oneself, pages are purposed to be shared between two people only and to intentional focus on their friendship’s history.

 
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Staying Connected Through Time Zones

Scheduling a video call through the app takes into account the time zone differences to help manage scheduling conflicts.

Remembering the Good Old Days

Friends can add memories to their shared profile and cherish the times they were together physically.


Future considerations

Not all friendships last forever

The ending of friendships do happen, and it’s important to consider the various contexts in which a friendship ends and the emotional implications of designing for that experience.

Friendships can also be more than two people

The bond shared by 3+ people is also unique to that particular group than with one-on-one friendships. But there are risks in polluting the app with too many groups/one-on-ones.

 

Lessons Learned

An interdisciplinary team brought various perspectives

I worked with Computer Science and Industrial Distribution majors, and discussions brought in outlooks into coding-time restraints and other hypothetical situations.

Paper prototyping made designing the digital mocks easier

The lower fidelity had our participants think more about the flow and interactions than the visuals.