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Re-imagining a Safer and More Credible Experience for the Meetup iOS App

Updated: Jul 6

My Role: UX Researcher | Duration: 1.5 Weeks | Project Status: Complete



 





Project Overview

In this unit project, I worked with Jasmine Chinnery and Lena Nazaryan to improve an existing feature and integrate a new feature into Meetup’s iOS app. This project was designed for us to move through the entire UX design process and learn how to work within a UX design team. We worked as a team to define the project scope and deliverables; using our research insights, we updated Meetup's iOS app's profile customization feature and added a group review feature.



RESEARCH PHASE (Discover + Define)

Goal of Research

Our group’s hypothesis was that users are more likely to buy into the profile creation experience if they more clearly connect to findable features or events. We came up with the following assumptions:

  • Users are more likely to spend more time on the application and build more connections if there's lots of activity

  • Users are more likely to engage on a platform if they feel safe

  • Users want to engage in vetted experiences, on credible platforms

Our initial problem statement was that users need a way to refine their profile customization experience so they can curate their online experience more accurately. We wondered: how might we facilitate users being able to customize their profiles more distinctly?

Methodology

We conducted company research and began considering potential issues that users may encounter when searching for online communities. After brainstorming our hypothesis and assumptions, we created an interview discussion guide. Next, we remotely conducted and recorded a total of 5 user interviews over the course of 3 days, after which we collaborated on creating an affinity map. We also read Meetup's current user reviews on Apple's App Store to find out some of the issues that current users have with the app.


Affinity Mapping


Affinity Map for User Interviews



Through our findings from these interviews, we were able to gain the following insights:


  • Users are utilizing a variety of platforms to stay connected and form new connections (apps like, Hinge, Bumble, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook

  • Users have found community online by connecting through similar interests

  • Users are interested in meeting new people/joining new communities online but are hesitant because of unfamiliarity and lack of high user engagement


Competitive & Comparative Analysis

Competitive and Comparative Analyses (graphic design by Jasmine Chinnery)



To gauge some of Meetup’s competitors’ app features, we completed competitive analysis for Eventbrite, Kommunity, Facebook, CitySocializer, Peanut, and Bumble. We also completed comparative analysis of Patreon, Clubhouse, AirBnB Experience, TikTok, Discord, and Twitter to gauge how some comparators utilized common iOS mobile app features. As part of our research, I also streamed live from Twitch's mobile app to determine how the livestreaming features work on the native app.



Persona




Meet Brandon Baker (graphic and presentation design by Jasmine Chinnery)


Using the insights gleaned from our user interviews, we created Brandon Baker, a 32-year-old Insurance Adjuster from Washington, DC who is a foodie looking to build community with others interested in cooking and cuisine. Brandon is interested in joining online communities to find other people with shared interests with the option of meeting in person, but he gets frustrated by not knowing if an event or community is credible.




Problem Statement & How Might We’s…


Following the creation of a pre-feature and post-feature journey map, the problem statement we arrived at was that Brandon needs a way to verify the credibility of online social groups so he can safely decide on which groups and users to engage with.

By focusing on Brandon’s needs, we focused on the following how might we’s:

How might we empower users to share and view feedback regarding online communities? How might we make a platform seem credible, safe, and open to all communities? How might we facilitate users being able to customize their profiles more distinctly?



DESIGN PHASE (Design + Deliver)


Introducing Reviews and Updated Profile Customization

We initially considered focusing on creating a livestreaming feature after doing a class exercise in which we did multiple sketches of what such a feature might look like. After working with teaching assistant Sonya Alexander Pevzner to gain further clarity and guidance on how to prioritize our features, we decided upon updating Meetup's profile customization options and adding a review feature for groups and group organizers' profiles.




Design Studio: Sketching + Concepting




Sketches by Jasmine Chinnery and Lena Nazaryan, presentation and graphic design by Jasmine Chinnery



We each downloaded the Meetup iOS app, signed up for accounts, and looked at the app's use of colors, icons, and layouts. We also read Meetup's current user reviews on Apple's App Store to find out some of the issues that current users have with the app and created a user flow implementing the proposed features. We used this information to create initial sketches of the features we agreed upon and utilized the sketches Jasmine and Lena created to begin designing the mid-fidelity prototype; while I focused on creating the script, recruiting users, and scheduling our usability testing, Lena created the mid-fidelity mobile prototype while Jasmine began creating our presentation deck.




Mid-Fidelity Prototype Usability Testing


Mid-Fidelity Usability Testing Insights



Findings + Themes + Insights + Takeaways

Of the three participants I tested using our plan, only one participant made all of the errors. They made 4 errors, 7, misclicks, and 2 hesitations. The following were the most impactful errors that influenced our high-fidelity prototype design:

  • Task #2 ("Find the “Cookings and Findings in Washington” group and find the review section"): The user missed the sign-up button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, clicked on the arrow at the bottom of the prototype to proceed to the next screen, and scrolled down to the events calendar to find the group (they thought the group description would be in the events calendar or in the description of the event)

  • Task #4 ("Leave a review on the group page"): The user looked for the option to type in the text field to enter a review, then wanted to click on "Discussions" when they couldn't enter the text (a prototype limitation).


This round of usability testing helped us decide on the following design changes for the high-fidelity prototype iteration:

  • Add more screens into the prototype that simulate the ability to enter text

  • Update tasks, script, and language for high-fi usability testing

  • Change text on “RSVP” button to “Join and RSVP” (reflects the prerequisite to join a group before RSVPing for an event)

  • Change the placement of the “Sign Up” button (on profile creation screen)




High-Fidelity Mobile Prototype



High-Fidelity Mobile Prototype by Jasmine Chinnery



Using our insights from the first round of usability testing, Jasmine Chinnery created a high-fidelity prototype while I continued to synthesize the usability testing data and Lena worked on creating a visual document for our persona Brandon.



High-Fidelity Usability Testing


Mid-Fidelity Usability Testing Insights


Findings + Themes + Insights + Takeaways

Using our updated plan, we increased the number of tasks to make the process more manageable. To my surprise, all three participants we recruited made a total of 4 errors, 2 hesitations, and one participant made the greater majority of the 22 misclicks. The following were the most impactful errors that influenced our next iteration and possible future iterations:

  • Task #3 (Connect your Twitter and Instagram accounts to your profile, and input the personal ): The user was looking for the social media icons because they couldn't see the gray icons against the white background (an accessibility issue I made note of)

  • Task #10 ("Find the group’s reviews on their homepage"): I instructed the user to "Check out the group’s reviews on their homepage" instead of "Find the group’s reviews on their homepage"; user thought they had to click "see more" to expand the reviews (a prototype limitation - user also expected to see the most helpful or highest ranked reviews first)



Final Design Iteration


Final Iteration (presentation and graphic design by Jasmine Chinnery)



For our final design iteration post-usability testing, we decided to focus on increasing the contrast between the disabled social media buttons and the background, making it more accessible. For future iterations, we would consider expanding the group review section to include a review ranking system, and we would also consider revamping the profile picture system to include the ability to add verified photos, adding another level of safety to the experience.



Recommendations + Implementation + Next Steps

The following are our next steps:

  • Track the number of people joining groups, attending events, and RSVPing to events

  • Determine how people are using the site, how long and how often they spend in certain areas (ex., the review section - does it increase user engagement?)

  • Analyze the percentage of people who join a group after reading group reviews