y initial plan was to model an inspirational board with the insights to run a co-participatory session with users before starting designing concepts myself. This would allow me to browse through user's ideas later, to check how they solved it themselves, usually this brings a lot of clever hacks into the design process.
This is one of the numerous scenarios where I missed having a deisgn team. It is always pretty straightfoward to move from research to sketches. But not as fun to, working alone and on the fast lane prepare the data to estimulate users to generate ideas. I really couldn't muster the energy to prepare a room for a co-participatory session, mainly because I had already so many ideas and couldn't wait to try them all out. Plus, I could always go back to do it later if no ideas worked out for the users in the prototyping stage.
So, straight to ideas and simple prototypes I went. But first let me talk about the design principles that surfaced from playing with the user research data.
“The idea to make 'The Kind' look and behave like a game came from the principles derived from the user research: Safe, Familiar, Zero reject and Fun. The idea of "zero reject" played a big role on steering the design away from relying too much on user photos. While the idea of 'safe', pushed back on this trend, advocating for some sort of visual identification. The conflict between these two principles, peppered by the 'fun', opened the floodgate for many cool ideas."
People constantly mentioned the need to feel safe when approaching others. The feeling of safety is connected to the willingness to pursue, or not, the encounter. Even for introverts, an unsafe feeling represented a greater driver to avoidance than intraversion.
Users stated many times that they are used to the Apps they use everyday. Any detour from the existent affordances provided by dating/friendship Apps risks having a steep education curve attached to it.
Any solution tasked with helping people make friends can't have the same level of anxiety attached to it as dating Apps have. People must feel comfortable with the solution, and this is highly correlated with the elimination, if possible, of the fear of rejection.
Is it fun though? This principle should drive the design of the interfaces and affordances of the App. Dating Apps, per this research, are definitely NOT fun. Addictive, yes. Perceived as deeply necessary by most, certainly. But not fun. It may seem otherwise if you are not user, but all users reported a high level of stress and anxiety related to the use of such Apps. (for more information see the emotional journey)
Along with the creation of principles, I worked Atomic with the other components from the visual elements to the UIViews inside XCode. The cool thing behind creating the Design System thinking Atomic is that you can quickly derive a reusable library from it. This was especially helpful when pivoting from The Kind to Persona.
As for managing the visual components I used Lingo in the beginning, but as Sketch released its native functionality I ended up giving it a try and sticking with it. To be fair it is still lacking some core functionalities but it is definitely promising.