UX/UI Design
UX Research
4 weeks
the problem
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, online dating has become more normalized. However, it isn't getting any easier - users are getting tired of endless nights of swiping, just to end up getting ghosted later.

Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge are dominating the online dating scene, but are used for different reasons. Users often don't know exactly what other people are looking for on dating apps, and often use a combination of apps as a result.
the solution
Mixer is a dating app that addresses this opportunity by creating a dating app based on dating preferences, filtering users by what they are looking for to encourage being straightforward and communication.

By putting their users first, Mixer is looking to shake up the online dating scene with different ways of finding matches beyond just swiping on attractive pictures, as well as features that would be offered at premium on competing dating apps.
Whether it's for a hookup or a serious relationship, users want to know what other users are looking for.
project goals
understanding trends
In order to create the best product, I conducted a competitive analysis to look at how leading dating app competitors are succeeding and falling short. It was especially important to note what features each of the competitors provided for their users, as well as what features were locked behind premium plans.

Currently, Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge dominate the dating app scene. Other dating apps have tried to stand out with unique branding or features (i.e. The League, which requires users to sign up with their LinkedIn account). Users flock to different apps based on word of mouth and what users tend to search for on those apps - Tinder for hookups, Hinge for serious relationships, etc. However, no dating app has successfully addressed all dating preferences.
"I feel like there’s a huge expectation on guys to both initiate the conversation and make it interesting enough to warrant a reply. 😥"
what do users think?
To confirm that the hypothesized problem is indeed an issue, user interviews were conducted to have a better understanding of what users want to see from a new dating app. Most participants agreed they are frustrated with not being able to see what people's intentions are and that they would like to be able to filter through users by dating preference.

5 participants in their mid-20s were were interviewed 1-on-1.
10 participants between the 20-30 years old were asked to share their thoughts through a survey.
who is the target audience?
To consolidate all of the users' needs, motivations, and frustrations, two personas were created to have a specific user in mind when designing Mixer's key features. It was important to keep multiple types of users in mind when designing Mixer because of the different things people would be looking for based on their dating preference (casual dating, serious relationships, etc).

Brie is someone who enjoys using dating apps to meet people in her new city. Though she is interested in both platonic and romantic connections, she dislikes having to use multiple apps to accommodate her needs
Caleb is ready to settle down and wants to find a serious relationship. That being said, he feels like a lot of his matches pressure him to lead the conversation and is frustrated with how often he gets ghosted or misled by someone who isn't looking for something as long term as he is
"I wish there was a way to filter out people who are genuinely looking for something serious versus a hookup/casual dating - on Tinder, you kind of just swipe through and wing it. 😩"
mapping flows
Mixer's main goal is to allow users filter through potential matches by dating preference. There are many ways a user could navigate through a dating app, which is addressed in the user flow.

Before building out the wireframes, it was important to go through the main task flow of matching with somebody to identify what key pages needed to be prioritized.

Detailed User Flow
addressing user and business goals
The user research informed a lot about what features would be needed to address the user frustrations. However, it was also important to identify key business goals and to find where user and business goals overlap.

The features that would be prioritized were the ones that incorporated both the user's and the business' needs.
The checkout page had major issues come up during the sketching and low-fidelity wireframe phase.
It needed to allow users to have items from different retailers in their cart simultaneously. Additionally, factors such as different shipping times, varying shipping costs, and unique retailer-exclusive discounts had to be taken into consideration.
Sites like Amazon and Etsy that allow users to have multiple items with different shipping conditions in their cart were referenced when creating the final checkout page - however, because users are not purchasing items directly through Khora, the checkout page also needed to redirect users to the retailers themselves.
For the branding, a simple but colorful approach was taken to give the impression of a playful and enjoyable dating app. The app has a cocktail/drinks theme to it, which has been incorporated both in the dating preferences categories' names as well as the app's visual design.
Introducing Mixer - the app designed to shake up your dating life. 🥂
View Prototype
It's hard to know exactly what people are looking for when they are on a dating app.
Mixer has four dating preference categories that users can choose from; happy hour (friends and networking), on the rocks (casual dating), last call (serious relationships), and nightcap (hookups and just for fun).

During the onboarding process, users set their preference for others to see and for Mixer to filter their profile by
Mixer allows users to be flexible - users can still see anyone's profile regardless of either user's set dating preference, but the app will sort potential matches by category
Users like to swipe or respond to profiles depending on their mood.
Mixer allows users to both quickly swipe through profiles as well as respond to prompts. When users want to respond to profile prompts, they can expand profiles to react to them.

Only a short quote can be seen along with the user's photo, name, and distance when quickly swiping through potential matches. When viewing an expanded profile, more detailed information, photos, interest tags, and answered prompts can be seen.
Users need as much flexibility as possible.
When quickly swiping, users can quickly change some basic filters, such as the dating preference they’re looking at, age, and location.

Users can change what dating preference category they are currently viewing without having to change their own
The active age range filter can be adjusted under quick filters so users don't have to go into their settings while they're swiping and expanding their search
Users are frustrated with the limited ways they can match with users on other dating apps.
The Explore feature allows users to match with others by conversation topics. Whether it’s just a joke or a random thought, users can view topics by dating preference. Anyone can create their own conversation topic or they can choose to reply to another user’s topic.

Users can see who responded to their topics and reply or swipe on those users to find additional matches
Once matched, their conversation will automatically be continued in their messages.
Users feel pressured to lead the conversation, as well as the "let's meet up" moment
Mixer’s date spot feature will suggest popular meetup spots between two users within their messages. Mixer will automatically suggest filters based on the conversation, but users can also filter suggestions by area, location type, cuisine and more.
Marking matches as “uninterested” will notify the other person that the user is no longer interested in the connection.

If “revive” is turned on, Mixer will automatically suggest conversation topics periodically to matches that aren’t active.
Users don’t like it when features are locked behind payment walls, whether it's more filters or profile boosts.

Mixer lets users have access to all their filters for free such as interest tags, height, education, and more.
Profiles on Mixer are boosted based on user activity, and profile boosts are not primarily a paid feature like other apps.

Users can also see who is active and more likely to respond and be ghost-free.
usability testing
After developing the product, it was important to put Mixer to the test with some usability testing.

Amongst the successes, most users mentioned that the app was clean and simple to use as well as enjoying the drinks theme and design. Users thought Mixer's Explore feature felt like a great alternative way to meet additional matches. Users appreciated that they could view matches by dating preference, and thought the date spot feature was convenient.

However, there were some pain points that needed to be addressed. After finding the patterns across each category of the user feedback, I identified what features would be necessary to address those concerns, as well as what were the priority revisions.
next steps
Moving forward, the next steps for Mixer would be to make priority revisions based on the usability test feedback and to work with a developer to see what elements aren’t feasible.

Some features Mixer could implement in the future include additional location features for the date spot feature and setting minimum and maximum ranges. Users expressed that they sometimes meet up for dates after work or being out, and that they would like to be able to have more customization available with this feature.

Mixer could also expand on the Explore feature by adding likes to conversation replies and some sort of community or group structure that users could join to see topics they’re interested in, such as sports, gaming, etc.

Lastly, it is necessary for Mixer to introduce some sort of premium feature to be a sellable product. Although the app primarily boosts profiles by user activity, Mixer could allow less active users to pay for temporary boosts as well. A super like system could also be added as a premium but not a “necessary to operate feature,” as well as offering match suggestions to users who are willing to pay for premium features.