knit is a social media platform that begins with anonymous connections, but opens up to the sharing of information as conversations progress.
I created this application from ideation to prototype, researching the issues users had with existing social media platforms to find and fill the void that could lead to true connections.
The end-to-end process involved ideation, research, information architecture, design, testing and iteration.
Unveiling a gap in the social media market, discovering user pain points and using those findings to create an app prototype from end-to-end.
63% of users tested said they would use this app if it were developed.
Play with the prototype or check it out below.
With the pandemic looming over all of our heads, I realized that a lot of people I spoke to were surprisingly candid about being lonely. Social distancing was creating distances between the individual and the community.
I was reading a book called "The Authenticity Project" by Claire Poole, in which an old man leaves a journal in a cafe with a story of who he was because he was feeling lonely. This led to other people responding in the journal and wove a connection between all of their lives.
I thought about this idea of being able to be honest about who you are and how that is such an important foundation to a real friendship.
The goal was to forge relationships based on common interest and remove some of the "toxic" aspects of existing social media platforms.
I performed a competitive analysis, in which I took direct and indirect competitors and evaluated their strengths and weaknesses.
I then conducted user interviews with 5 people aged 18-65 who had experienced loneliness during the pandemic. I organized the findings with an affinity map and made all decisions based on what I had learned.
- All participants use social media to access new information and interesting things
- All participants either lived alone or spent most of their time alone, and have experienced loneliness recently
- All participants dislike negative interactions and harassment on social media
- All participants usually make connections offline through friends, work or school
- All participants have met in-person with people they met online, though 3/5 people were meeting dates
- 4/5 participants use social media to connect to people they already know (friends and family)
- 4/5 participants are anxious about how they are perceived on social media
These insights helped realize what people were experiencing with loneliness and current social media platforms.
With the initial stage of research complete, I took multiple steps to further empathize with the user. Creating a user persona of Lettie the Introvert.
Lettie wants to connect with friends and family, but also form new connections.
She wants real conversation in a small group.
- Lettie is alone often and wants to make new connections
- It's hard to meet new people in social isolation, but she wants to meet like-minded individuals with the same interests
- Lettie hates negative interactions on social media
- She feels social media can affect her mental health when she scrolls endlessly, comparing herself to others
- She wants people to see the real her, not the small amount of information that is shown on social media
I looked for patterns among the research and exemplified them in POV and HMW statements. This frames the insights as questions to be solved.
- How might we provide lettie with a quieter, safer space online to have conversations?
- How might we allow Lettie to get to know people without the pressure and anxiety that comes with posting selfies and creating an online persona?
- How might we help Lettie spend time with other like-minded people nearby?
- How might we introduce Lettie to people she might have similar interests with and want to have a relationship with?
I set brainstorming parameters in which I focused on each question for 10 minutes and came up with solutions for each. With multiple solutions. I then created a feature priority affinity map and classified which features would be most important and easiest to execute using the Kano method.
Threshold features are expected by default. These are features that are important and were included in the design.
- Allow posts to have responses
- Allow access to groups based on interest
- Present conversations chronologically, not by likes or algorithms
Performance features ensure ease of use and are typically generated and evaluated by the user.
- Allow users to start their own groups
- Make sharing demographics optional
- Allow users to flag inappropriate comments
Excitement features are nice to have, but not necessary for the application to function.
- Chat screen customization
- Profile customization