4-Hour UX Design Challenge
In this design challenge, I am tasked with conceiving and designing an experience that helps people be more conscious about their health and promotes healthy living. To produce a unique solution, I have decided to focus on a growing problem in society: The mental health risks associated with extended use of now-ubiquitous mobile dating applications.
Challenge: How can we build a healthier mobile dating experience?
Research: Tinder, Bumble
Over 80 million users between tinder and bumble / 72 % of university students use dating apps / 80 % of users are millennials / Average user spends 90 minutes per day
Hook up / Date / Relationship / Meet people
At home (alone) 7 - 9 pm / Sitting or laying in bed / In between important daily events
These apps provide a convenient and easy way to meet potential partners. Lots of users claim that getting matches can build their confidence. They also allow users to meet people outside of their social circles. Psychologically, these apps, when used healthily, can help users fulfill several layers on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: Physiological (sex), love/belonging (partnership) and Esteem (confidence).
tl;dr Benefits of healthy use:
Easy to use
Meet potential partners
Potential to build confidence
Swipe-based dating applications induce behaviour that operates on the same neurobiological circuits as gambling, providing the same dopamine rush as the unpredictable rewards characteristic of slot-machines. Only 50 percent of matches actually message back. Messages received are often crude or combative. The average user faces considerable rejection, causing users to question their own physical appearance, online conversation skills and, in some cases, the integrity of the opposite sex (or same sex, depending on sexual orientation). The new phenomenon of “ghosting” compounds all of these effects and can increase anxiety, lower self-esteem.
tl;dr Cost of unhealthy use:
Distrust of desired partners
There is an abounding number of mobile applications designed to help users deal directly with self-esteem issues, anxiety, sleep, stress, etc. The two most popular and highest rated are headspace and calm - both provide guided meditation sequences for beginners and promise these benefits.
Reviews of Headspace and Calm
INSIGHT 1: For many users, mobile dating apps provide virtually infinite incentive resulting in extended use and declines in mental health. Conversely, regular use of meditation apps increase all around mental well being, but many users have a very hard time using them for long enough to reap these benefits.
INSIGHT 2 : Healthy encounters require healthy people.
Re-Structure the mobile dating process. Integrate guided meditation and mobile dating by putting mental health first, and dating second. Make mental health exercises a priority and a requirement for sustained use.
Decide to browse for potential dates
Earn swipes by practicing meditation
Set the number of minutes you want to earn by minutes of meditation
Select a meditation kind (self-love, body scan, notice, body positivity, relaxation)
Listen to whole way through and follow instructions
‘Swipe minutes’ added, use whenever
Chat with matches
Brief user testing (three people available) confirmed the core features of the experience, importantly the junction between swiping potential matches and selecting meditation settings. Purpose of Icons in second last screen was unclear to users (“I’m not sure what to do here”), and concept “time has run out” was not clear to users. Both were addressed in the transition to high-fidelity (see below). Time and resources permitting, I would have used more participants and tested iteratively.
Due to time and resource constraints, there are many limits to this case study. Several details in the high fidelity mockups needed to be left out ( e.g. conversation screens, match queues, settings, etc.
Time permitting, I would perform more user testing at various stages, especially using a responsive inVision prototype, which unfortunately I did not in the end have time to produce.
Nonethelss, I think this provides an interesting solution to a problem that thousands of millenials are aware that they have by integrating the problem-source with one of its possible solutions.