Simulating Serendipity

Alice Q
Alice Q
Apr 23, 2018 · 6 min read

The project for a General Assembly class I took in the Spring of 2015 was to redesign an existing app. I choose “How About We” (HAW) a dating app that matched you up through mutual interest in activities! I think it is a great idea, because one pain point of casual dating is awkward first dates. HAW address that by encouraging you to suggest an activity you are want to do and find someone who is also interested. Even if you two don’t hit it off, you guys may still have a good time in doing something you both enjoy.

However their product riddled implementation flaws from business model, to user interface, to technical performance issues. Overall it’s a frustrating user experience. This case study is about how can we create a more user-friendly How About We.

Competitive Analysis

Here we look at our source app How About We, along with a few other dating apps popular in the Spring of 2015: OKCupid, Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Hinge. The analysis done was based on features they had then, some features I referenced may no longer be present or new features have been added to address some of the concerns I had mention. I will point those out along the way.

How About We

In are the ways in which HAW offer a suboptimal user experience

Business Model: As free user, you may post a date idea, and say “I am intrigued” to someone’s date idea. However to actually make arrangements for your date, you have to subscribe to a paid subscription.

“Not worth your time Most of the people using the site don’t actually pay (probably more than 90%). You will find yourself spending lots of time emailing to women that don’t have a pay account and cant read or reply to your email.”

— a review from the Play Store

Confusing Icon: In your messages inbox, the icon to delete a conversation is a ‘drawer’, maybe means it’s archived? But you want a message to be gone, do you delete or archive? Another confusing affordance is when a conversation is highlighted, the icon to deselect is a check mark.

Misleading UI component: Date Stream, Newest Dates, Popular, Nearby, Speed Date. The first four are the same screen, with different sorting order. If that’s the case it should be a segment control or top tab menu. Speed Date is essentially offering the same information as “Newest Date” but with single entry per screen. Speed Date is essentially Tinder with buttons, it doesn’t offer any more value than screen with same data.

Overload on notifications leads to numbness: You get notified whenever someone visits. That when someone messages your or express interest in your activity, you will miss it because you’ve either grown accustom to ignoring notifications or turned off notifications for HAW.



Engaging and addictive questions set to gauge user’s personality and what they are looking for in their partner’s personality.

To monetize they give their more aggressive users a chance to optimize their search and profiles, but the free service still offers a full experience.


Users usages has exceeded and extended beyond the structure of the platform. There are many couples who is looking for a polygamous relationship create a couple profile. Maybe the option to have partnered profiles would be a good feature to have. * Now if you have a primary partner you two can link profiles *

Between “Match” and “Quick Match” the product seems to suffer from an identity crisis. There is no way to view the user’s profile in quick match mode before the user can decide if they are interested in the person or not. It is not clear to the user, what the difference between the two is other than the interface. * Recently, they removed Match from their mobile app, and it’s the swiping interface. *

Coffee Meets Bagel


The one profile a day limit, encourages more serious behavior and consideration. * Depending on demographics and supply-demand market share, you may have multiple profiles to view a day now. *

The one week limit encourages users to try to meet sooner rather than later.


Looks for people with similar background, which can be helpful but also crippling in terms to expanding one’s horizons.



Simplicity. Fluid and responsive gesture driven interface.

Humorous copywriting.

Because it is based off mutual interest, users are more confident in starting a conversation.


Cannot undo wrong swipes

Needs Instagram integration, since many users post their Instagram username on in their bio. * They now have Instagram, as well a Spotify integration. *

Need to allow users to define height and weight, because people also post that



Allows you to undo accidental decisions, likes or passes.

10 people per day, more choices than Coffee Meets Bagel.


Concept can lead to awkward situations. Since it is based on mutual “Facebook friend”, which could be anyone from family to some person you just went to school with but not nothing about. For example the user may end up dating a friend’s ex without realizing it.

User Stories

From my user interviews, it seems stranger danger was still something people worried about. So my first set of user stories is about leveraging off the social network of friends to you friends with mutual connections. Therefore a user should be allowed to integration with their social media accounts, so they may leverage their friends social network.

If a user is connected their accounts with their social network, they should be able to adjust their privacy settings to show their activities to either friends or FOF(friends of friends).

A user should be able to see the activities that people near them are suggesting.

A user should be able to suggest an activity.

A user should be about to adjust their settings, so that the app can be used for both first dates and finding friends nearby to hangout.

User Flows

From these stories, we derive a user flow for discovering activities near you, as well managing the plans you are making with users. Understanding the actions need to take also help us derive a navigation map for our app.

Discover activities near you
View all current activities, you have posted and schedule coordination

Sitemap of the app



By making the wireframes in OmniGraffle, I got tired of having to design for different states. For my final UX prototype, I decided to learn iOS (Swift, and Xcode). Here is a video of my prototype:

Video recording of my iOS prototype

Visual Design

Since it was a strictly UX course, the deliverables for the final project was a working wireframe prototype. I recently revisited this project to practice my visual design skills. Here are a few screens I designed based on my wireframes,

Tools Used

OmniGraffle, Balsamiq, XCode and Swift

Alice Q

Written by

Alice Q

The journey of a computer scientist learning user experience design

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