Local Social App

Conceptual Design of a Local Social App Using Design Thinking

Client, Year
SIMD School Project, 2016

Fields of Activity
User Research, Conceptual Design, Prototyping

Getting Assigned to the Task

As a team consisting of 4 interactive media designers, we were challenged with the task to develop a conceptual design and clickable prototype of a local social app, that promotes the use of local cultural and communal offers and which would desirably contribute to the improvement of local life quality. The goal was achieved with the use of the circular design thinking process, which enabled our team to design in a problem solving focused and user centered way.

The Non-Linear Design Process

Thanks to our teachers and experts from “Associes” (www.associes.ch), a design consultancy company, we got introduced to the non-linear design thinking process, which is a innovative , resource effective and proven universal method to solve any type of problem. In this process we also spend a great proportion of the time trying to understand the people that we wanted to serve with our conceptual product, which is one of the most important factor for the success of a design approach.

Iterating through Research and Evaluation

Beginning with the user research we first went to different local communities to conduct interviews, for example at a local meeting point that was also operating a day care center for childrens. Afterwards the recorded information of their daily routine, including their difficulties and highlights, was broken down and put on post-its, that later formed categorized clusters, creating a bigger picture that helped us to formulate things like customer need, possible solutions to the problems, benefits etc. which was the foundation of any further work.

Our goal, set by our analysis, consisting of several iterations through research and evaluation, was to improve digital communication and awareness of local cultural and activity offers with a cost effective and accessible mobile application that can be integrated into various types of use cases and therefore enhance local life in a versatile way.

From Ideation to Rapid Prototyping and Back Again

In the next step of our journy we took the evaluated information from our previous researches and turned them into ideas, which later became solutions in form of features and fuctions, that we then tested on our paper prototypes, by conducting various usertests, looking out for problems and room for improvement. This was then repeated several times to achieve the most promising results.

Turning Layouts into Interactive Prototypes

From this point on everyone in the team designed their own layout and screen design version of the social app. My version of app, that I have developed from the paper prototypes, is centered around the exploration of local events and activities that are created by communities and event hosts, which enables the user to quickly find suitable offers that are being shown on information cards or on the digital map. Beside that, it is also possible for users to socially interact with each other across the plattform, through direct messages, comments, invitations, and so on. My design approach also lead to a way of onboarding, where users can easily select their individual set of interests, so later on, only events and activities that fits into the respective profile gets displayed to the user, resulting in search results that would match the user.

All of the screen had then been turned into an interactive, clickable and lightly animated prototype which can be seen on Invision by using this link.

Project Outcome and Gained Insights

The project resulted in a finished conceptual design, paired with an interactive prototype. It also teached me and my team, that design thinking methods can be used to gain important insights during the project and that it can be utilized to guide one through a complex project, like this one for example. I have also become more aware of the benefits coming from an iterative circular design process, which requires one to fix the most fundamental things before starting materializing the ideas, resulting in the saving of valuable time and resources.