mimo (meet, interact, mingle, onwards) is a social mobile application that aims to improve the social experience of college students experiencing loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Making friends as a college student has been harder than ever because of the lack of physical interaction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has had a large negative effect on the well-being and mental health of college students, especially those who are moving to a new school and haven't had the opportunity to make friends yet. With everything online, it can be awkward and difficult to find opportunities for social interaction and initiate those first conversations that lead to friendships.
We hope to help college students who are experiencing loneliness be able to have a positive experience making friends online. By emphasizing the importance of creating an experience that is tailored to the user, users have the opportunity to choose the type of connection that they wish to make in a safe online environment.
Winter 2021 (8 weeks)
User-Centered Case Study
HCDE 318 Course
UI Design / Prototyping
User Centered Case Study
High Fidelity Mockup
Mobile User Interface
We conducted research to understand the wants and needs of our typical users. We conducted semi-structured interviews as well as competitive analysis with other similar products in the market. Our findings showed that new college students want a platform to meet their peers in a manner that encourages guided conversation and activities in an initially anonymous setting.
Describe your image
Describe your image
Describe your image
Describe your image
Creating personas was the next step after finalizing our research findings to represent the typical users of our product. Jevin is an outgoing student who wants to pass time during quarantine and meet people since school has been remote. Sydney on the other hand is an introverted first-year student who is struggling to make new friends and wants to do so in a low-stakes environment.
user journey map
We developed a user journey map that followed our typical user's day and compiled all of the possible highs and lows. We were able to think more about our users and their emotional trajectory to see where our solution would potentially fit in. This aided us in developing our lo-fi prototype as we referenced our user map to get a sense of what features would best benefit our users.
To make this project as applicable to the user as possible and give us a better sense of direction moving forward, we created design goals and requirements-
Address loneliness experienced by college students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Make friends and engage in meaningful conversations in a safe online environment.
Choose the type of connections they want to make (friends, significant others, study buddies…)
To work towards these design goals, our team developed the following design requirements:
Users gain access to the application by signing in with UW NET ID (university authentication)
Users build a profile to gain more accurate matches.
The platform’s algorithm matches users based on their input, such as topics and filters.
The platform provides prompts to guide conversations.
Engages users in gameplay to break the ice in conversation.
Unlock details about the user as pairs progress through levels.
Provides anonymity to protect users’ privacy through the initial stages of chatting.
Provide pseudonyms to all users’ profiles upon joining the platform.
We created these storyboards to gain a better understanding of how our users would be using our product and explore the best ways to approach our designed solutions. They helped us to establish the different features of our product and finalize the platform that we wanted to base our product on, which ended up being an application.
By getting feedback from our peers, we began to map out the possible interactions as well as the structure of our application through an Information Architecture Map. We were able to locate points of confusion and redundancy in order to have a smoother user flow. It was also useful in seeing which paths were necessary and those that derailed from the flow.
Since our team collaborated remotely, in place of paper prototyping, we developed a low-fidelity interactive prototype using Figma. Creating this interactive low fidelity prototype was helpful because it allowed our team to do a basic evaluation of the application’s interactions and make necessary changes before developing the high fidelity prototype.
Based on the low fidelity prototype we conducted a basic usability test with four target users. The aim of the study was to evaluate the usability of the application and identify any pain points that users may experience.
Methods: With each participant, we conducted pre-observation interviews, task completion, and post-observation interviews. Users were encouraged to use the “think-aloud” protocol during task completion, where they were asked to:
Complete a survey
Have a conversation and progress to the next level
Leave the conversation and find a new match
Throughout the test, team members took note of how the users were feeling while they were interacting with the application and any points of confusion or frustration.
From our observations, we discovered the following four findings:
Too much wordiness on certain screens
The level countdown timer is easily missed
Users experience survey fatigue
Buttons are too instructive (or wordy)
The findings allowed us to make several suggestions that would improve the high fidelity application, including making the timer more apparent, make a one-time survey upon joining the application, and using intuitive icons over buttons.
This was the last step of our design process and was a culmination of all of our previous artifacts. By reflecting on feedback and research, we were able to create the final iteration of our application. We were intentional in the color scheme, icons, visuals, and overall layout of the app that would be best in serving our user group. Click through the Figma prototype down below.
In future iterations of our prototype, we hope to conduct more research and usability testing. Since this was a short 10-week project, we were only able to conduct four short usability testings. While this was sufficient to move forward with our low fidelity design, we hope that in the future, we are able to conduct this more extensively. Another aspect we hope to work on in the future is adding more levels to our app. Currently, we have two levels designed in our user interface, but we are looking to add three more levels to provide a complete experience for the user. The concept and branding of our product are what we feel we did best, and will continue to keep this consistent in future iterations. We are open to suggestions and feedback!