Bondly is a photo and video sharing app that enables friends to collaborate on media albums - providing a space where they can unite their memories and bond over the experiences they’ve shared.
My design process for this project implemented the Design Council's Double Diamond framework. The two diamonds represent a process of exploring an issue more widely or deeply (divergent thinking) and then taking focused action (convergent thinking).
The motivation for this project came from a challenge that I had been facing - I found that existing social media platforms don't cater to sharing large amounts of media, making them inadequate at providing a way for friends to truly commemorate and bond over collective experiences.
The tools people use to share multimedia amongst each other do not satisfy their needs
People want a better way to commemorate and bond over collective experiences
The ultimate goal of this project was to improve the process of collecting multimedia from friends, in order to easily commemorate shared experiences with those who were involved.
I conducted a survey in order to validate my problem space while getting a better understanding for the behaviours of how multimedia is currently collected and the motivations behind why it's collected to begin with. (10 participants ages 18-29)
Want to collect photos and videos that were taken by their friends during a collective experience
Want to share and commemorate their experiences with their friends
The most commonly mentioned service for sending multimedia between friends is iMessage
In order to see what part of the experience was missing when it came to collecting multimedia from friends as well as ways for friends to commemorate this content, I conducted a competitive analysis to see what products are currently out there that fall within a similar space.
A social media platform that incorporates the engagement and interaction of instagram combined with the content storage and collaboration of Google Photos.
The goal of the interviews were to dig deeper into the behaviours, motivations and pain points young adults (18-29) experience throughout the collection and commemoration process.
The objective being to extract insights in order to develop a primary persona that would guide my design and solution process.
After organizing the interview data into common themes, I gathered the following insights:
Young adults feel that it's more meaningful to look back on memories with those they experienced them with.
Young adults want to collect photos and videos taken by their friends to document the entire experience. Group photos are usually taken by one person therefore they must then be sent to everyone else. Additionally, people might not have been able to capture a certain moment.
Young adults want to be able to share their experiences with others, however they feel that there isn't a product that does a good job at showcasing albums.
Young adults find the process of sending multimedia over messaging services very tedious.
Using the interview insights, I developed a primary persona to help solidify the target users needs, behaviours, experiences and challenges. This could then be referenced moving forward to ensure that my design decisions were aligned with my user.
I then created an experience map to visualize the current process that my persona would go through. From there I was able to identify specific areas of opportunity based on the pain points they face.
After exposing the different areas, I directed my focus towards improving the opportunity of friends being able to reminisce over a shared experience. Leading me to my design question...
How might we help young adults enhance the opportunity of bonding over a collective experience through the multimedia that they capture
Thinking about both the design question and persona, I created the products value proposition to help determine the core functionalities of what should be included within the app.
Collaborate on media albums with friends to unite every memory and bond over the experiences you've shared.
I created 40 user stories which expressed a specific product feature for a given type of user - in layman's terms
I then categorized my user stories into epics (themes), and identified 2 core epics that would best demonstrate the value proposition.
1. Connecting with friends
2. Multimedia Organization
These were used to begin assembling a task flow for my persona.
I pulled some of the user stories within my core epics which would become individual tasks for the user to complete. I arranged them into a task flow, thinking about the step by step process that a user might go through.
The task flow shows an existing user creating and posting a collaborative album
I sketched out different ideas for possible solutions while staying aligned with my task flow. I received feedback from my peers which helped to select the strongest sketches to use for my mid-fidelity wireframes.
I conducted 2 rounds of user testing, each round with 5 testers. After each round I then synthesized the feedback as well as the observations I had made. I used this to determine areas that needed to be changed in order to improve the overall usability of the product.
After completing the first round of user testing, I decided to add a secondary task flow in order to fully communicate the value proposition.
The secondary task flow involves a user going to view a collection of the media that they share with a given group of friends and interacting with the group chat.
After completing the second round, all 5 testers were successfully able to complete each task with no clear major usability issues.
I made some minor adjustments which included replacing some of the icon buttons with text buttons to improve noticeable areas of hesitation during testing.
Based on the interests of my persona, I wanted the brand to speak to the nostalgic feeling of commemorating memorable moments with friends and family.
To capture this, I initially experimented with warm colours such as yellow which often resembles happiness. However, I realized that the feeling of happiness would come from the memories themselves, therefore decided to focus on the aspect of social interaction.
I chose to pursue a sky blue primary colour as it can represent communication, joy and self expression. I explored imagery that I felt encompassed these attributes which I used to build a colour palette for the brand.
After experimenting with names and receiving peer feedback, I decided to go with the name Bondly. I like that it incorporated the aspect of bonding, and the “ly” suffix gave the name a warmer and friendlier feeling - aligned with the brand values
I wanted to create a logo that would have some representation of the applications features. S the app is focused on media sharing, I created a camera shutter and indicator combined with the letter “b”. I experimented with various brand colour and gradient styles.
I decided to go with the coloured background for the app icon that used a gradient with the primary and 2 accent colours. I felt that it was most suitable for social media.
For the wordmark I chose the “Black” weighting from the HK Grotesk Family. This weight allowed for a wordmark that is easily viewable at large and small sizes. I made slight adjustments to round out the hard edges in order to make it more cohesive with the brand logo.
Once I developed the visual identity for the brand, I began working it into the prototype. I additionally made a few minor adjustments:
I decided to change the name of the 'Bonds' page to 'Friends' as I felt that the terminology would be easier to understand.
I adjusted the media tiles on the album preview page to match with the friends page to create better consistency throughout the app
To explore how the app might be integrated into other platforms, I began thinking about my persona as well as the core value proposition. Because Bondly is a social media app designed for quick consumption and interaction, I decided to pursue an Apple Watch for a supplementary option. I wrote a couple user stories referring back to my persona.
1. As an existing user, I want to be notified for an anniversary of a past experience, so that I can connect with friends to commemorate.
2. As an existing user, I want to see all the related notifications for a specific friend or friend group, so that I can quickly see recent activity.
I used these user stories to create 2 different screens for the Apple Watch integration.
To increase the chances of bonding with friends, a user can receive notifications on an anniversary date - related to their media collection.
Giving users the ability to quickly see the most recent activity within a friend group without having to go into the phone app.
Next Steps & Key Learnings
Bondly aims to bring a new meaning to what we do with the photos and videos that we're endlessly collecting - with a goal in mind to turn past experiences into digital ones, that friends can cherish together.
With that said, next steps that I would like to pursue would be to:
1. Explore other ways for users to customize their albums to truly capture the essence of their experience (audio clips? mini journals?)
2. Provide more ways for people to engage with one another to commemorate their experiences (gamification? friendly competitions?)
One important area that I would like to focus on is ensuring that users have control over photos & videos that are posted of them by other users. Without this functionality, there is a possibility for friendships to be harmed.
In 10 weeks, I got to experience the end to end design process while learning more than I could have imagined in such a short time. Putting design thinking principles to use allowed me to solidify my understanding of how to approach problems and opened me up to the wide range of methods and tools available to help arrive at a (never perfect & constantly changing) solution.
"Test early and test often" - You hear it a lot, but that's for good reason. When working on a project (especially individually) we can get caught up in our own thoughts. Distancing yourself and getting feedback from users or peers makes you see things that you might not have seen on your own. Being able to catch these things early on can save you a lot of time.
Since we need to keep the user in mind every step of the way, I've realized how important the research phase is. Fully understanding the problem space so that you're prepared to ask the right questions during user interviews. Everything that follows is always referring back to the persona that you've created based off of the interview insights. Thus if you don't ask the right questions, you might not end up with a desirable outcome.