UX Case study — Meet your new best girlfriends

Last May, I started the part-time UX/UI Bootcamp at Ironhack Berlin. After 6 months of intense learning, challenges, struggles and joys, I have concluded this journey with a lot of new skills and knowledge in the design field.

Although this is only the beginning, I am very proud of what I have achieved and I would like to share my work with you.

The context

For our last project we have been asked to choose a topic we really care about and I immediately knew I had to create something that would involve human connections and interactions.

I am lucky enough to have known my best friends for 10 years now. We all met in Berlin, in 2012, while we were all working at Zalando. They are the reason I could survive for so long in this chaotic, yet charming city. Yep! That’s what true friendship cad do! 🍀

In the past years tons of new people have moved to Berlin and I started noticing that for many of them creating new circles and making deep connections have not been the easiest thing to do. Then the pandemic came and loneliness became a very serious problem…

Therefore I decided to create an app that would aim to help people find those friends that eventually become your new family and support you in your new life and city. And most importantly, they STAY.

“International Berliners have been particularly affected by the isolation of lockdown and the limited availability of mental health services in the city”. (Source EXBERLINER.com)

Everyday a lot of women write posts in different Facebook groups because they want to meet new friends. Having a stable social life seems to be quite complicated in Berlin (and in big cities in general).

But those groups are made of over 20.000 people and even if it’s pretty common to ask/receive tips, they fail to create a deep connection that goes from the digital to the real world.

FB posts in different groups

User research

In a world where Social media platforms rule, the goal of this project was to find out and improve what’s not working when it comes to connecting women online.

I started with the competitive analysis to see what the offer on the market is and how those platforms are used.

Competitive Analysis

To understand the users' pain points and explore the topic in-depth, I interviewed 4 women on the following topics:

  • Competition: which apps did they try?
  • Motivation: why did they choose/use them?
  • Experience: how did they feel about the experience?
  • Choice making: how did they decide who to meet?
  • Meeting in real life: how was the meeting planned?
  • After meeting: how did they keep in touch?
Questions for the interview
Interview answers and Affinity diagram
Insights and users quotes
Insights and users quotes
User journey

After gathering all the insights of potential users and identifying their problems, I was able to build my User Persona. They represent the target group I want to focus on.

Problem statement

What did I find out?

Women have hard times meeting long-term friends and connect on a deeper level via apps because it’s hard to understand with only pictures and Social Media links if this person really matches with their personalities, share the same values and has the same goals. Often the meetings end up being only a one-time event and women loose contact afterwards, feel frustrated, decide to delete the app and give up.

How might I help them to have a better experience?

In the jungle of social media apps, I want to create meaningful connections because I know my users and I want to match people with real bonding potential. In addition, I want to show them places and things they could do together to nourish their relation.

Ideation Process

With this in mind, I began my ideation process and started brainstorming potential solutions to the user’s problems, thought about user flows and sketched some low-fi prototypes to better visualize how the product would work.

Brainstorming ideas
Sketches

Design Solution

After sketching different ideas and concepts, I decided to prioritize the following features:

  • Focus on the content rather than on the images.
  • Onboarding process where the user needs to answer to a list of open questions so she can be matched with a potential friend.
  • List of places and activities.
MoSCoW: Features Prioritization

I then had to think of a name, the brand attributes and the overall feel of the product.

I decided to call the app FRIENDMADE as a combination between friendmate (a soul-mate in friend form) and making friends.

Thinking of the brand attributes and getting inspiration from the sunset colors, I chose a soft and delicate color palette to give the idea of comfort, reliability, warmth and a clear, accessible font to keep the focus on the content.

Moodboard and colors inspiration
Style tiles

Value Proposition and App Key Features

Why should users choose my product over the competitors?

  1. In depth profile focused on personality.
  2. Connect users with a high matching potential.
  3. Help them discover and share places and events.
  4. Give them the chance to make new long-lasting friends.

High-fidelity wireframes

Here you can have a look at the final design and see how the app might look like.

Of course this is just the MVP and there could be a lot of other features that could be developed!

Splash page and Onboarding screens
Registration and Profile set-up
Questions for Profile set-up
Profile picture set-up and profile preview
Finding new friends
Exploring and suggesting a place

Here you can also have a look at the Figma prototype.

If you made it until here, THANK YOU for you time. Any feedback and comment are much appreciated. 🙏🏻🌸

Next steps will be keep learning, growing and hopefully land a job as a UX designer.

— Sara

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Berlin based, made in Italy, dreamer.

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Sara Zeverino

Sara Zeverino

Berlin based, made in Italy, dreamer.

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