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Social Media Application New Feature

THE CHALLENGE

DinnerTree is a Social Media App that allows strangers with some overlapping interests to meet online in order to organize live dinners. These dinners have always been public and have taken place in restaurants.

The company wanted to add a next level feature where members, in app, could organize some of these dinners in their homes, and meet other app members there. 

MY ROLE

My role: Information Architect, though we used Agile Methodology which also had me creating a portion of Wireframes, and conducting User Interviews

TEAM

3 people, including myself

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THE SOLUTION

Our team needed to build a next level feature to DinnerTree, enabling them to have the ability to empower people to open their homes to other members of the app. After considering this problem, we realized the main strategy we needed to address to make this feature successful was:

  • How can we build a function that connects strangers in someone’s house, over food, while maintaining their physical, psychological, and legal safety?

  • How can we build the trust that empowers people to show up and feel good about it? 

TIMELINE

12 days

MY TOOLS

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SKETCHES AND WIREFRAMES.
PROTOTYPE
USERS AND AUDIENCE-WHO ARE WE SOLVING THE PROBLEM FOR? 

Our initial conception of the User would be someone with high tech empathy, who is accustomed to using technology to facilitate their social life.

 

Our Researcher created a screener in order to begin narrowing down the details regarding the User for this function. Through this screener we realized several facts:

 

 

  • There was anxiety about safety from both ends of the proposed app feature: those who would be attending an event in a private residence, and those who would be hosting in their own home.

  • From this we gleaned that we had two users: Hosts and Guests. Both of them needed reassurance that they would be safe in a private dinner at someone’s home.

TRUST-HOW DO WE BUILD IT?

One of the main issues we had to address was building trust into the app. This was at the center of the question for our app feature. How do we build trust?

Research shows us that trust is not an abstract concept; it is built through details.

According to researcher Frances Frei, trust is composed of three components: 

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Process:

With the understanding that we had two users, we began the process of building wireframes for two journeys.

Shane’s journey would be that of looking for a private event in a home, and signing up.

User Flow Register for an Event as Guest

Clara’s journey would be that of planning a dinner event in her home.

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User Persona
User Persona

What does trust look like in practice on a social media app? 

Protection from harm = Ability to block people

Rewarding responsible and longstanding engagement which allows you to become a host = Community Points

STORYBOARDS

It became clear that the user story was vitally important to understanding our feature. I made a storyboard for both journeys to clarify this journey. Here's the one for the Clara, the Host

Dinner Tree Storyboard

USABILITY TESTING 

We usability tested 7 people with our wireframe. From this we studied what worked and what didn't, what was clear, and what caused confusion. We listened to feedback about people's comfort with the process of gaining trust in the app, with "Community Points" and what would make them feel comfortable about signing up for a dinner, or hosting one. 

Through this we realized we had to make some adjustments to our design, mainly in terms of clarity, and ensuring that people had the capability of blocking other users of the app with whom they felt discomfort.

From that understanding, the whole team made an Affinity Map so that we understood what the path and pages would be. 

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Affinity Map

REFLECTIONS

At the center of this prototype is the process of building trust. Without empathy, authenticity, and logic it is difficult to convince people that they are safe enough to be vulnerable.

 

People are vulnerable when they go to a stranger's house, as well as when they open their home to strangers. The foundation of the user path in our new feature in DinnerTree was built on extending a certain amount of accountability and buy-in to the app. 

I believe we would have been aided by usability testing earlier and more often in the process. The need for trust as a series of choices and processes was illustrated clearly with the usability testing. Test early, and test often. 

Case Studies

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