Help a stranger

You Never Know


We see friends at a coffee table checking their Facebook. It is important to appreciate people around you that might be otherwise blocked away by the information technology. If in fact technology has come to occupy a great part of our lives, we better learn how to use it smart. We are here to innovate on how we can leverage our mobile phones to augment our sociability.

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Product goals

  • Creating an instantaneous social network
  • Using common ground information to find potential connections
  • Connecting with people instantly and in real time

Design solution

If you were to plot Facebook, Foursquare and as three overlapping circles on a Venn diagram, there’d be a neat little space in the middle for a fourth circle — one that uses location-based check-ins to help users find new friends to hang out with in real life. That fourth circle is, essentially, You Never Know. There’s a spectrum in a lot of people’s lives, sometimes dating overlaps with networking, and that overlaps with socializing.

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  • People are interested in meeting with new people outside dating and professional networking
  • Common ground information such as similar interests and mutual friends is strong enough to break the ice between people
  • People are most open to meeting new people when they are new to a neighborhood, community or city.

Target customers

  • People who are new to an environment, place, community and interested in meeting new people
  • Use apps such as Tinder, OkCupid and MeetUp to meet new people
  • How do people currently handle this issue?

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Outside-in thinking

We did competitive analysis with apps Tinder, Foursquare, OkCupid and Friendsy that users were using for socializing. We handed out a response form to our users after the interviews and asked them fill out questions to find what apps they were using, for what purposes, what did they wanted more out of the app? We also gathered and analyzed user feedback from the App Store user reviews. We also did secondary research using tools as Mintel, Huffington Post, etc. to find about market trends in check-in based social networking apps and understand user-privacy.

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In-person interviews

We interviewed 12 participants and learned about their experiences in meeting with new people. We observed their gestures and body language to find what excited and disappointed them or the things they were indifferent to. The goal was to find the following insights:

  • What is the macro issue that users are facing in socializing?
  • What are the users' pain points and frustrations in meeting with new people?
  • How are the users currently coping with the problem, what are the different services that is satisfying their needs? If yes, how successful are they? What is something they would wish for?
  • Is our hypothesis aligned with user needs, do they even want this product?


Interviews helped us to learn about users' frustrations, goals and attitudes in meeting with people, and I decided to move in the direction of the insights. We consolidated findings to form our persona, Brendan. The purpose of having Brendan was to look at the problem from his viewpoint. In times of confusion, we would ask "How would Brendan feel, think and do in a given scenario?"

Hallway-testing with prototype

This was a 'chicken and egg problem,' that is users cannot describe about their potential experience with a product they haven't used. To solve this problem, we put users into a more grounded scenario and asked them to perform two tasks with the MVP 2. After the testing we asked them to fill out a feedback form. For this study, we went to one of the university dorms and randomly enrolled six users to participate in this study giving them an chocolate as an incentive. These are the different personas we interviewed and gathered data from:

See prototype
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How it impacted the design

User testing helped us to confirm our hypothesis and directed our attention to some issues that we did not see before. For instance, 3 out of 4 users reported "privacy issues" might hinder their use of the app. Also, all users mentioned how "events" help them to socialize and finally 2 out of 4 user noted their adaptation of the app is dependent on the number of people using it. There were also a few surprises such as people did not like linking their Facebook profile with University ids. Here are few of the quotes from user testing:

Design decisions from learnings

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Interaction map

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What I learned

  • What users say (attitudes) and what they do (behaviors) can be different
  • Working across the complete product lifecycle, from concept to creation
  • Working with stakeholders- Developers, Product Managers, Marketing Team, Mentors
  • Making decisions is important but one has to be flexible enough to listen and change if justified
  • Make mistakes fast by quick and scrappy user testing