Together

Discover and join new communities around you.

THE PROBLEM

People move to new places.
They feel alone.

The industrial revoluation has changed our lifestyles. We now move to new places in the quest for education and work. Most times we lose out on our friends and community with this change. We do not like missing out on the fellowship and fun, do we? FOMO — Fear Of Missing Out — drives millennials experiential appetite: Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) millennials experience FOMO. Since 1987, the share of consumer spending on live experiences and events relative to total U.S. consumer spending increased by 70%. However, both participants and the organizers are facing certain logistical barriers in building communities, that no one has yet solved definitively. We attempt to simplify discovering or starting new communities around us.

Sept, 2015 - Dec, 2015

I led UX Research and Interaction Design for this project. I collaborated with Cori Faklaris and Melissa Dryer to study about communities and their structure within our society. After exploring multiple solutions, I designed the iOS and Apple Watch app for Together. 

THE JOURNEY

How do people currently explore communities?

I used user interviews, field studies and domain research to answer the following questions

  • How do people form communities?
  • How do people find communities and community events?
  • How to people organize community events?
  • What are the breakdowns in all of these processes?

User interviews
Interviewed 6 people asking about communities in general. Jessie and Jerry felt they needed information about communities and their events which was tailored to their busy schedules.

Field studies
Observed many public areas to understand how people move in communities. Physical artifacts (like bikes) played a major role in people associating themselves with a community.
 

Domain research
Studied tools that people currently use to find communities and events. People usually felt that the infomation was scattered around different physical and digital spaces.

DATA ANALYSIS

Understanding user data

Affinity mapping helped us understand the themes in our user data while concept mapping helped us understand the relationship between these themes. We could answer the following questions at this point.

  • What are people's motivations to form or join a community?
  • What are some of the activities that happen during community gatherings?
  • How do these activites affect the location of the event?
  • What are the current tools that people use to find/co-ordinate events?
EXPERIENCE MAP

Where do our opportunities lie?

To understand the painpoints of a user trying to find a community, we created an experience map. This helped us empathize with the user and identify opportunities for improvement.

TARGET USER

Who are we designing for?

Erika is an urban explorer. She recently moved to Indianapolis to pursue her Bachelors.

Her current situation
"I hardly know anyone in this city. Finding a good community is so difficult."

How we want Erika to feel?

"Wow! Together always helps me get connected with the right community. I hardly feel alone."

Exploring ideas, addressing opportunities

This is my favourite part of the project. We sketched out several ideas to promote and simplify the community exploration process. After considering several divergent ideas like coupon reward systems and physical accessories, our team converged to the idea of a ubiquitous digital solution.

 

Together_Sketches-r64Together_Sketches-r64

Introducing Together

Together helps people explore communities and engage with their members before joining the community. Increasing communication provides more transparency and reduces the stress involved in exploring communities. It also encourages people to have meaningful in-person conversations during events instead of small talk.

Learn about events around you

Community events are valuable for people trying to join a community. It gives them a chance to interact with the community in-person.

Tailored to your busy schedule

All the events suggested are based on the users interests, free time and location. This way the content on the screen is always relevant.

Get comfortable with the community

The user can read more about the community, their ideology, activities, events and members. 

Ease your nerves and clear your doubts

The user can look at members and speak to some of them even before going to the event. This helps easing the onboarding for the new members.

After thoughts

I believe we built an application that eases the discovery and entry into new communities for people. The success of our application depends heavily on user generated content. Therefore, the next steps of this project are -

  • Solving some of the problems we identified for people organizing community events. 
  • Creating an intuitive interface for content generation.
  • Pulling in information from other events sources to solve the problem of scattered information.