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Branding, Web Design, Mobile Apps, SEO & Marketing
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Design Thinking • Competitive Analysis • Personas • Focus Group • Branding & Identity Design • Medium-Fi Wireframes • User Interface Design • Developer Vetting
Collaborator: Tim Opsal, Business Analyst

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Business Objectives

Design and launch a mobile app centered around shared interests of users. In a world filled with online toxicity, create a platform where positive vibes only will be tolerated. Understand how users feel when interacting with various social media platforms and how we can improve those experiences with a new digital product, define a minimum viable product (MVP), and vet a potential developer to build the MVP. After launching the MVP, focus primarily on user acquisition and brand development.

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Research

Objective — Deep dive into what works and what doesn’t for millennial social media users. Understand their goals, frustrations, and behaviors as they pertain to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit. Identify key features for a new positivity-focused social media mobile app that will be most appealing to our target market (millennials).

Process — First, I conducted several requirements gathering meetings with the two project stakeholders (my clients) and a business analyst consultant that I brought on to the project. The team met several times to ideate and whiteboard. Next, we came up with several user groups (end user, professional groups, nonprofit groups, facilitators, communities, advertisers, future investors, future buyer) and brainstormed several potential benefits of the app to each user group. We later used these benefits to create MVP features.

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View the full user benefits document here.

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Competitive Analysis

Myself and our business analyst identified 7 competing apps, based on our takeaways from the research phase: Cord, Cyber Dust, Facebook, Meetup, Groupspaces, About.me, and Reddit. Then we conducted a comprehensive competitive analysis for each app.

Key Takeaways

  • Consider incorporating private voice messaging

  • Leverage anonymity — users are more likely to have open/honest conversations if they can remain anonymous and/or if they know their conversations will not be stored on a server

  • Leverage back-end algorithm — users will appreciate a quick onboarding process, where they are automatically directed to content they’ll enjoy after answering a few quick questions

  • Allow users to toggle on/off whether they are willing to meet up in person after meeting in the app

  • Incorporate compensation model for group facilitators; will help automate and incentivize users to start their own groups

  • Encourage a focus on positivity; give users the ability to flag inappropriate content

View the full competitive analysis here.

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Focus Group

I gathered 10 representative users and asked 10 questions in a focus group setting. I first asked each participant to write their response down in the workbook we provided, then we discussed responses as a group (giving us additional insight into how people answer questions differently in anonymity versus in a group setting).

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Key Takeaways

  • Millennials really don’t like Facebook

  • Social media today feels negative and like a violation of privacy

  • Just because someone loves using a certain social media app one day doesn’t mean they’ll keep it on their phone indefinitely; apps must continually provide value, otherwise users will delete them

  • Less emotionally-charged topics were more appealing to discuss online (like sports, travel, food, and music); topics like politics, race, and religion can elicit emotional reactions that Millennials would rather avoid, especially online

Download the focus group outline document here.

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MVP Features

Based on our findings from the research, competitive analysis, personas, and focus group phases, myself and my business analyst compiled a spreadsheet containing detailed feature sets for the MVP and potential future releases. We created feature sets for all user groups, including the end user, facilitator, and advertisers, along with considerations for an administrator portal and third party services that may need to be leveraged in development.

Download the full MVP features document here.

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Branding & Identity Research

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View the full inspiration board here.

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Branding & Identity Assets

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Medium Fidelity Wireframe

Based on the MVP features document, I created a medium-fi wireframe, which our team analyzed, critiqued, and ideated on together several times before moving on to the full user interface design. Updates were made to include:

  • Moving the messaging system from MVP to version 2

  • Moving Appsee integration from MVP to version 2

  • Supporting only text-based posts within the app for the MVP, moving image and video support to version 2

  • Remove countdown ticker to next badge on user’s profile

  • Moving notification system from MVP to version 2

  • Remove “Settings” area from app

  • Move “Reset Password” to personal profile screen

If it were in budget for the project, at this phase I would have ideally also created a functional prototype and engaged 3-4 participants from our earlier focus group phase to conduct task-based usability testing.

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View the full medium fidelity wireframe document here.

User Interface Design 

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Developer Vetting

Once the MVP of the app was solidified, I assisted my client in finding the right developer for the job. I put together a Developer Mini Task and hired three different agencies/freelancers to complete the task. I consulted with my client — explaining tech, design, and development methodologies and constraints as they pertained to each agency/freelancer and sharing my opinion on which developer might be the best fit for the job.

Thank you for letting me know what’s going on behind the scenes.
— Robb Brown, Client

➪ Denver, Colorado

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