Project: Vibe
The problem we were trying to solve
Current discovery apps are becoming stale and less helpful in the market. Users are weary of reviews and looking for ways to find fresh content and new methods of discovery. Apps like Yelp and Foursquare have been flat in the past year 2016.None of these apps really focus on the emotional aspects of a place, and why people gravitate towards an area.
Vibe is seen as an opportunity  to be used as tool to measure and evaluate locations based on “positivity” rather than “activity”. The premise is to let you know what the Vibe is like at any time, anywhere. This will be based on sentiment analysis and boosting spots similar to "likes" and soon "dislikes".

My role
My role was to help formulate this concept with another product lead and work through the experience from UI to testing and launch. Create an idea that is based on positivity and is also helpful in everyday life vs the various apps that are about self promotion. I created all storyboards, wireframes, visuals and prototypes. While acting as a co-founder of this project.

Challenges
This area was completely new for me. Creating a sentiment analysis based location app that would be use more as a tool. For me this meant it needed to be extremely easy to use quickly and users could get immediate feedback and satisfaction once opening the app. This was a ground up approach that I was used to but there were so many unknowns that we had to think big end-to-end but also take a stepped approach. As a team of two people another challenge was to excite others and recruit development to work on the project with us. We were successful at this. 
First steps were cases and surveys
We first wanted to put together a few simple use cases and ask people what they normally do in these scenarios. "Where should we go for lunch today?  If traveling, "I wonder where the good restaurants are around here?, Is this area safe for real estate purchasing?
Target audience was considered the "young socials"
Directions and solutions
The most important design decision made was to give the user immediate feedback as to where there were places near them that were "Vibing", what friends were there, what deals and how to get there in a glance. 
💡The solution was a heat map of orbing areas based on how much sentiment and inputs were being projected to give the user the visual feedback needed where they could go in relation to where they were at.  Friends in the area, live comments and quick ability to contribute needed to be available. 
Immediate feedback and one click away from all major sections. Studies found that the users easily understood how to navigate the main sections and see value in what was going on by recognizing activity and familiar faces.
Exploring of the venues had to be achievable by the map and standard list view of venues. Ability to save, share, and navigate full screen to the location by clicking on the target orb. Boosting the current location was important as an input to get data, this is similar to "Likes" on Facebook.
Overall framework
The  framework was light, easy to use and not very complicated as far as structure. This was by design to be used as a "tool" for users to come in and out while quickly getting results.
Specs were delivered in PDF format and also through Zeplin to make sure development knew how to achieve the build.
Early visual explorations 
Took keep this a "light hearted" I choose familiar colors that complimented each other. Blue has been shown to be very familiar and used to enhance productivity. Green as a highlight color was used for its refreshing positive go nature. 

Visual limitations and direction
There were a few limitations as to what development could accomplish in a short amount of time for the main map view. We worked around these constraints and I handed off a few samples of code that they could use. In the end we chose the simplest V1 which was animated circles that would change in size based on the vibe. The intent was to have them pulsate slowly to keep the page alive. 

Design success
For the first version from the design perspective I wanted to measure success in 3 different areas:
usability, overall satisfaction and stickyness. 

Usability: The user must be able to complete the top 3 use cases in a quick and fluid way. Can I easily see where I should go? Can I search other places easily? What are the details? Where are my friends?

The design was all inclusive from the main screen, touch points were very prominent and easy to find at the bottom of the page. All main functions were one click away from home screen.

Overall satisfaction: The users could quickly see where they are at in relation to what is going on, and find their friends at a glance. They also can communicate with the community or boost the sentiment from main screen. The user should be in and out without having to read and compare a bunch of data like the standard "Yelp" list view.

The design was positioned so with orbing boosted areas, it was easy to see at a glance how far and how "vibing" a spot is from your current location.

Stickyness: Can I make the user come back? Yes. This is where your friends are now, this is whats going on, it is alive.

The design promoted friends at a glance, it also has a periscope or Facebook live like feel with comments overlaying the area you are in. You can see places that are vibing and why without clicking through to details. If you wanted to, you could still do so.
Tour/Login to main screen.
Search/Explore/Map/Boost vibe
Profile/Saving/Venue details/Sharing
What I learned
The most exciting thing about this project was that being a co-founder with another person, I learned what it takes not only to evangelize and sell our idea to others, but also convince ourselves that this is a helpful tool for different use cases and can be used broadly. After this it was all about execution and testing and iterating.
It was very refreshing to get out in the field, test my prototypes with college students, set up interview test plans and present feedback to others. I believe that having the freedom of working on your own project can be tough in that there is nobody there to help you with the "right" direction. It was a journey we are figuring out ourselves as we go.
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