Duet

Duet is an event-first matchmaking iOS app that revolutionizes the way we meet new people. By leveraging common music tastes and interests in local events, it provides a beautiful and intuitive way for users to develop strong and long-lasting connections.

Duet was designed along with 5 others in a UX course at UC San Diego. Throughout the 10-week process, my team and I conducted user research and user testing, while creating various personas, storyboards, and prototypes, to design the ideal solution to our problem.

User Research

As a group of music lovers and concert goers alike, our team chose to tackle an issue in music, specifically live events. To figure out what problems are prevalent in today’s concert culture, we conducted several interviews regarding users’ past live music experiences. Our research group consisted of college-aged individuals between the ages of 19–22 and questions we asked included:

  1. Do you attend live concerts?
  2. What is the genre of these concerts?
  3. How many people do you go with?
  4. Do you ever go by yourself? Why or why not?
  5. Do you have trouble finding people to go with?

Furthermore, through observing behavior of college students on campus and on social media, we were able to collect more information on the nature of concert goers. Facebook specifically has college-based online marketplaces such as UCSD’s “Free & For Sale” and various ticket exchanges. In making observations on such platforms, we were able to find a myriad of posts by individuals who were selling tickets last minute.

From these two points of research, interviews and observation, we were able to first derive that live music experiences are best shared with others. In fact, 8-of-10 of our interviewees said that they have never been to a concert alone. We also recognized the common occurrence of people selling tickets last minute for various reasons. This observation coupled with our interview data, leads us to the realization that college students often make these decisions of wanting to go to concerts within days before the event, but it’s often difficult to find people within this time frame.

With the social nature of live concerts, why isn’t there a platform for individuals to connect, engage, and meet others around these events? Through interviews and observation, we were ultimately able to derive the problem we set out to solve:

Wanting to go to a concert, but having no one to go with.

Ideation

With the problem in hand, our team set out to brainstorm potential solutions to the issue. Ideas that were brought up included:

  1. A social forum, where people could post about musical events and that they’re interested in going with others.
  2. A Tinder style application that allows for efficient swiping of potential matches for concert-goers.
  3. A meet-up platform that groups together individuals interested in the same artist or genre.

In testing these ideas, over half of our users were most interested in the second option as they have had previous success with applications like Tinder. Digging deeper, we were also able to observe that college students are becoming more comfortable with meeting strangers online via apps like Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel. Nevertheless, the issue with these platforms are that they often times give way to awkward conversations as one doesn’t know much about the other match.

Given this, we chose to approach the problem with a similar product. However, our design would allow users to match with individuals based on local concerts. Music says a lot about a person, and thus, our design could leverage users’ music interest and give way to awesome conversations and long-lasting relationships.

Personas and Storyboards

As a team, we identified 3 different target personas that would find our application most useful:

  1. Singles looking to date
  2. Individuals in search of new friends with similar music tastes
  3. Those who have a ticket, but no longer have a companion to go with

Once these personas were established and after multiple iterations of ideas, we sketched out storyboards to visualize specific use cases for our app.

Team Storyboard
Storyboard for persona that no longer has a companion to go with

Features

Features that we decided that could best solve the problem at hand were:

  • A homepage listing events in the users’ local area
  • The option to save events on your homepage
  • A profile page that users can edit
  • A card swiping mechanism similar Tinder, that provides a fun and intuitive way to make decisions on individuals
  • Messaging functionality to speak with your matches

Prototyping & User Testing

Once we got all of our key features down, we were ready to prototype. As the UI designer in the group, I began by sketching out the different screens on paper and moved onto wireframing using Fluid UI. During this process, we conducted user testing by allowing users to interact with our prototypes without instructing them on what to do. Following this, we asked them to walk through specific use cases as well. Metrics we used to evaluate usability were:

  • Time elapsed for users to complete a specific use case
  • Frequency of use of specific features

With this, we were able to gain valuable feedback and iterated on our designs through multiple prototypes.

Flow Chart
User testing paper prototype
Wireframe prototype using Fluid UI

After many iterations, I used Photoshop and InVision to design a high-fidelity interactive prototype as we began to finalize our design decisions. At this point, the applications features were set, and we were just about ready to begin development.

Hi-Fidelity interactive prototype created using InVision and Adobe Photoshop
User testing hi-fi prototype

Development

As the solo developer on the team, I decided to implement the application using Apple’s native IDE, XCode, and their proprietary language, Swift. Having no experience in iOS development, I took various lessons on Udemy and Treehouse in order to learn the ins and outs of the technology. With my core programming skills, the biggest challenge was the learning curve in XCode and understanding the complex Swift library. Through weeks of learning on the go, I was able to implement the front-end of our application. As for the swiping mechanism, I was able to integrate our app with the MVCSwipeToChoose view available on GitHub:

https://github.com/modocache/MDCSwipeToChoose.

Me developing on XCode
Demo of our app for presentation day (Contains long pauses for various speaking points)

Check out the app on GitHub: https://github.com/engai/duet

Conclusion

Overall, this project was my favorite that I’ve ever been a part of. Not only did it teach me hard skills in mobile development, but it also introduced me to the design process as a whole. More importantly however, Duet has helped me develop a passion for designing and implementing beautiful and functional user experiences. This quarter, I am working as an instructional assistant for the same course and can’t wait to write about my experiences soon!

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