The Problem we are Trying to Solve

Our target audience is freshmen in college, specifically at Carnegie Mellon University, and our problem gets at this question: how can people better propose activities that they want to do sometime in the future? And to that end — how can people find others who are interested in similar activities that they may not have met yet?

The goal of our design for “mobile life” is to create a mobile facilitator and mediator for those kind of serendipitous interactions that come once in a blue moon. The kinds of interactions where you realize you and someone you don’t know have fantastically common interests. “How have we not been friends?”, you might say. The goal of our application is to promote these kind of encounters, especially during transition periods of social confusion or isolation such as freshman orientation at a university.

Are you really into live concerts? Tent camping in the wilderness? Running in the mornings? Having coffee and talking about life’s big questions? These kind of interests may never become reality if you don’t have others to do it with. This app will bring those experiences to life and spark new and meaningful friendships.

The App: Open Invitation

The vision for our app, Open Invitation (working title), is to facilitate real-world interactions between people based on two things: interests and proximity.

The app automatically pulls data from your university and from any other social media outlets you hook it up with (Facebook most notably) to place you within predefined social groups: your dorm floor, your whole dorm, people in your major, and your age group in your university.

In those groups you can propose activities you’d like to do someday and browse other’s proposed activities and note interesting ones. When there’s shared interest, a sub-group forms and you can go do enjoyable things together!


To begin the Information Architecture design phase of this project, our group came up with sketches and lists of potential features. From there we categorized features into high, mid, and low priority features:

  • High Priority Features:
    Creating Open Topic Invites
    Browsable Newsfeed of Open Invitations
  • Mid-Priority Features:
    Matching people based on proximity
    Send invites to specific population/geolocation
    Custom groups based on large activities
    Point/Rewards system
    Conversation suggestions prior to the event
    Urgent Event (I want to hang out now!)
  • Low Priority Features:
    Take a photo of a poster and set up open invite automatically
    Enter in class schedule
    Suggested events based on past activities
    Suggested friends’ events
    In-app chat with matched people
    Hide invite from others’ feed once someone accepted the invite

Process Flow Diagrams

After deciding on our feature sets we created process flow diagrams showing how our personas would use our high-priority features.

“Open Topic Invite”

This flow diagram details our persona Tyler creating a new open invite in our system. Tyler is new to Carnegie Mellon and wants to do things with people in his community. When Tyler first joins the application he signs in with his CMU email, this allows the application to recommend demographic groups Tyler can be part of. Besides groups, the application also asks Tyler to select different areas of interests he identifies with. Finally, tyler creates an open invite to something he wants to do and sends the invite to the dorm he is a part of. In this case Tyler also is recommended existing invites similar to the one he created.

“Accepting Invites”

Greg is a freshman football player who just got out of practice and wants to socialize. Greg checks his phone and sees he got a notification for someone responding to his invite of going to see a DJ at Schenley Plaza. Greg checks his invite and sees that he has a few people interested in going with him. After checking Tyler’s profile, he adds Tyler to a chat and they organize when to go. Soon, Greg and Tyler are at the concert enjoying themselves and creating a new friendship.


From the core feature flows above, we came up with the following sitemap: