Chattr

The redesign of the online dating experience

With many women in my life currently looking for a significant other, I realized how scary the experience of online dating world is.

Many existing dating apps leave many users feeling frustrated and burnt out from the repetition of meeting people only to find out they were not the right ones.

In this project I set up to solve and recreate a dating app that was different and focused on creating more meaningful matches.

View prototype

Problem Space

Ellen is a human factors specialist working in the medical tech space. After trying out all the different apps that are out there, she's really frustrated and starts to lose hope of ever meeting someone right

I researched more about metrics from the existing dating app space to see if I can get any further insights.

43%

of all online dating app users
are millennials

70%

Increase in in-app audio and video calls since the start of the pandemic

36%

of women ages 18-34
felt online dating was NOT a safe way to meet people

Objective and Goal

Existing apps to meet people often focus on just meeting people but don’t address the safety of participants. That lead me to my first initial objective.

How might we make women feel safe
meeting people online for the first time

Assumptions

In order to tackle this problem I started out by writing assumptions and evaluating which were important to validate. The key assumptions were ranked based on risk to the project and ease of validation. I then made sure that the riskiest and hardest to validate assumptions were either verified or reduced through the interview.

  1. A

    Women want a better way to safely meet people online

  2. B

    Women feel unsafe about using meeting people online

  3. C

    Users are finding it more difficult to safely meet due to COVID

  4. D

    There are some negative connotations about using online dating apps

  5. E

    The lack of information that can be verified scares people

  6. F

    Women know what they want in a relationship and what they are looking for

  7. G

    Different expectations between parties causes unhappiness

  8. H

    There are unpleasant dating experiences that can be avoided

  9. I

    Users dislike creating a profile or feel like the profile doesn’t fully represent them

Hypothesis

I created my main hypothesis that I wanted to test from user interviews.

I believe that women are searching for a better way to meet people online.

I will know this is true when I see improved user feedback on their perceived safety and quality of standards.

I know this is wrong when users rather utilize other methods to meet people.

Primary Research

Because I wanted to understand people’s inherent attitudes towards online dating and get qualitative data, I selected to do over the phone interviews to understand what the current online dating experience was like.

Interviewees were selected based on the following criteria. To simplify the the process, I decided to focus on heterosexual relationships as the first iteration of the app. All the different relationship types can be added in future iterations.

Interviewee Selection Criteria

  • Heterosexual men and women in North America to simplify and test the intial assumptions

  • Has had experiences with dating apps

  • Age low 24s to 38 (millennials) since they represented 43% of all dating app users

Interviewees

Here are all the interviewees I was able to reach out to:

Problem Space Pivot

From my interviews, almost all interviewees expressed that they felt safe meeting people online. This was unexpected and different than my initial hypothesis.

This lead me to pivot the problem space to create better connections. My new hypothesis is that through creating better suited connections - Ellen, my persona who wants a long term relationship, can reduce a lot of the frustrations during her journey.

How might we make women feel safe
meeting people online for the first time?

How might we let women find and create better connections
so that they can have a better and safer experience?

Insights

By grouping similar related topics from the interviews, I was able to arrive at the following key insights.

Insight 1

Dating pool size is either too big... or too small

The promise of fresh faces or new people
is what gets me to try a new app

If I were to use specific [niche] apps
it would narrow down the pool way too much

Insight 2

Hard to initiate conversations with a stranger

Prompts in Hinge really help me
associate more and find things to talk about

It’s nice to respond to prompts
vs just trying to reply to a photo

Insight 3

High effort in keeping chats going when theres no connection

I find that [online dating] can be exhausting,
there are lots of nice people...but it takes a lot of effort to keeping the chat going organically

I really want people to just respond on time
and keep the conversation going

Online dating is takes a lot of effort,
meeting in person is just so much easier

Insight 4

Developing relationships organically vs starting with a relationship

I want to get to know someone as friends and
as time goes on, our feelings reciprocate
and the feeling kinda grows

The relationship really fostered together as we spent more and more time together and deeply connected

User Experience Map

From here, I decided to focus on solving Ellen's key pain points. To get a better understanding, I mapped her journey from onboarding all the way to connecting with someone and having that connection end.

Opportunities

Opportunity #1

Browsing through profiles

Improve and create a curated profile recommendation to reduce the burden of choice

Opportunity #2

Starting the conversation

Suggest and recommend topics to discuss when meeting someone new - to help the conversation be more organic.

Opportunity #3

Keeping the chat alive

Help nudge/remind participants in a chat to respond, and when conversation is exhausted, create new prompts to keep the conversation going.

Further persona refinement

I dug deeper into further additional statistics to refine my user group. In an online resource,
I was able to find the top 3 countries that was willing to pay for online dating services.

From this I decided to refine my user group even more.

My design will be focused on millennials
of asian descent living in North America.

This would allow the app to tap into the Chinese market eventually - greatly increasing business opportunities.

Competitive Research

To generate ideas for features, I reviewed main competitors which were identified through the interviews. This showed a gap in the problem space for a brand new dating app that had employed a better algorithm, but also focused more on the personality of profiles. By finding people who are closer in traits and personalities, their relationship can also grow organically - something the interviewees iterated over and over again.

It's not a match, it's a chat

Another important distinction that will be key to make not call messages matches. By calling conversation matches, it's creating unnecessary burden and pressure on both parties.

Iteration

Initial Sketches

Here are some of the initial wireframes I sketched from my inspiration. Testing out some of the different chat views and profiles

Iteration

Version 1 Wire Frame

Version 2 Wire Frame

Version 3 Wire Frame

Overall, I conducted two rounds of user testing, with 5 different users in each round of testing for a total of 10 different users.

The following are the tasks that I ask the users to conduct during the test.

User Tasks

For user testing, I asked the user to go through the registration process as a brand new user to the app.

  1. Registering a new account

  2. Speak with Eros about you preferences

  3. Select photos and write Bio

  4. Start a conversation

Testing Insight 1: Unclear Modals

One of the main insights during user testing was the confusion from some of the modals. I improved the modals by keeping and incorporating more relevant information like below.

1. Modal title naming

This gives the context and setting of why the modal appeared

2. Clearer descriptions

Explain what the user needs to do to resolve the notification

Testing Insight 2: Intrusive and Ignored Popups

Majority of the users ignored the notifications and when a modal was tried, it was too intrusive to the overall experience.

To mitigate it I used a built in banner to notify users so they can check it in their own time.

Post Testing Survey

In order to confirm and evaluate if the changes in the process and variations had a positive impact on the user experience, a qualitative test was conducted through google forms.

From the post testing survey results conducted there were still some opportunities to clear up the sign up flow, especially regarding how to to set various profile filters, and how to discuss that with Eros. Through the changes, there was clear positive impacts in the interaction experiences with Eros. It would be important to conduct further testing in the clarity and usability of the sign up flow until it is completed and statistically significant.

View Testing Results

Final Prototype

View prototype

Key Features

Smart AI, smart insights, smart connections

Utilizing an AI chat bot to learn the preferences of the user in order to

  • Reduced selection anxiety to go through all the profiles

  • Only the right profiles are show to the user - but still ability to "explore"

  • The goal becomes to learn about themselves and enjoy the journey vs focusing on end results

Showing off personalities

Most dating website focus only on looks. By utilizing prompts similar to "Hinge's" design, people will be able to see these prompts and better gauge who the other person is before deciding to chat with them. This helps reduce the negative feelings caused by lower quality matches.

Tailored Preferences - because preferences is not just black and white

Having the ability to designate detailed, custom preferences instead of a standard pick list.

Brand Colour Selection

Takeaway

1. Conducting a post test survey would've allowed better refining and prioritization of changes and edits

It was only after the second user test, I realized creating a post testing survey to get quantitate results would be much better than just comparing task success. After the initial edit, the task success rate significantly increased; however, there were still areas of improvements and insights that was much easier to gleam and evaluate once they were compared side to side.

2. Don’t reinvent the wheel - follow industry best practices

In the effort to create a “different” dating app experience, I tried to create unique layouts. This resulted in confused users during testing. In the end, I ended up redesigning on top of industry best practices and I could have gotten additional insights out of the user testing.

3. Hardest thing was not creating ideas, but prioritizing the right ones

The most challenging parts in the design was determining how to choose the most important features for the app. Determining how to show these features and ideas without digressing from the main task flow and leaving additional features for future iterations.

Next Steps

1. Conduct additional user testing to ensure the revised flow is clear

In the second user test, many were still confused about the flow being incomplete. The task flow and design was revised and so additional contextual testing will required to ensure those changes have fixed these issues.

2. Implement additional (nice to have) features

Due to time constraints, only the primary and secondary user flow was completed. However, there were still many tasks and features that would greatly improve Chattr's experience.