A social media app to bring long-distance friendships closer
UX Design, Visual Design | Intro to Human-Computer Interaction
Design a personal informatics system to track data and allow people to self-reflect and gain self-knowledge.
Project Management, Interviews, Task Analysis, Ideation, Paper Prototyping, High-fidelity Prototype, Iterative Testing, and Visual Design.
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.
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.
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.
We answered a series of Task Analysis Questions to fully understand our target audience, their current tasks, and what they hoped to accomplish.
Face-to-face is the most desired form of communication
Distance, different time zones and schedules make it difficult to keep up-to-date
Memories of the friendship are very much cherished
Social media often feels shallow and unintentional
True friendship can go untended for long periods of time
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.
Ideation & Design Narrowing
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.
Paper Prototyping & Wireframes
Whiteboarding our screens and flows first, we then paper prototyped for tests and continued on to high-fidelity wireframes I made in Sketch once we were more confident in our flows.
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 long-distance friends. Based on their feedback and team discussion, changes to the interface were made for the final design.
Visual & UI Guide
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Paper prototyping made designing the digital mocks easier
The lower fidelity had our participants think more about the flow and interactions than the visuals.
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.