Circa

Design a location-based community for students to connect with shared interests and al find things to do nearby.

1. Overview

Product

A location-based online community for college students to connect on and off-campus. 

Timeline

None – Side project

Tools
Communication
Research + Ideation
Design
2.1 User interviews
To build a product users want to use we spoke with 25 (ages 18-37) to understand what existing tools and communities they use and what they like and don’t like about them. We captured their responses in a spreadsheet and labeled each insight as like, dislike, behavior, or idea. Circa unfiltered research responses Halfway through our research we filtered the dislikes and saw negativity in online communities was a recurring pattern.

Users are not friendly. There is not enough emphasis on building community.

John

People being negative. Characterized version of themselves. There are no repercussions for actions.

Jabari

Users are cruel at times.

Leandra

Users are superficial.

James

I don't feel a part of anything.

Gibeom

People are always competing with each other.

Candace

To find a solution we posted the question online and received the following, which helped guide our solution.  

"...if you want a way to fix the negativity, you have to actually give people a way to avoid it."

This led to creating post categories/types, so users can:
  1. Quickly identify what the post is about
  2. Filter what types of posts they want to see. (Future feature)

To select the best categories, we asked, “What types of posts do you share or seek in online communities?” in remaining users interviews and researching online college communities to find themes users typically post or seek. Our research led to creating the following categories.
2.2 Competitor Analysis
Exploring social network interfaces allowed us to understand existing mental models and reduce users’ learning curves. (e.g., Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). We combined the patterns we thought worked best for the user to reduce the learning curve while factoring iOS Design Guidelines to save time on development.

3. Plan + Define​

3.1 Problem Statement
Students struggle to make meaningful relationships when new on campus or living off-campus. Our solutions should provide students a local social feed to meet students with shared interests and to find things to do nearby.
3.2 Scope
We began defining the minimum feature required to prove the concept and have the network work. After, we detailed elements to make up each feature to define our entire scope of the minimum viable product (MVP).
3.3 User flows
We defined all the steps users would have to go through to complete said processes and confirm designs included the required functionality to complete each task.

4. Design

4.1 Wireframes
We outlined screens needed to design by first writing down the elements required for a user to complete the task and navigate to the associated screens necessary. We then sketched designs before pixel-pushing allowed us to test faster.
4.2 Grids

We used a 5 column grid with a 16px gutter and 4 pixel grid for consistent spacing and layout.




4.3 Low fidelity designs

Circa create account wireframes

4.3 Design iterations
We used competitor analysis, experience, and iOS Human interface guidelines to refine designs in Figma.

4.4. Final Designs

5. Test

Circa is available on the Apple App Store. Direct marketing will begin soon.