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an app for encounters

rethinking relationships & social interaction systems

For this project, I studied relationships in the digital world by investigating the way technological devices are shaping social encounters, interactions and expectations. I am leveraging user research, usability testing, UI sketching, visual design, journey mapping, prototyping and user experience design to develop a strategy for a new type of technologically triggered social encounter.

Independent Project advised by Arianna Mazzeo and Kit Parker

Master in Design Engineering Thesis Project

Harvard University

Sep 2019 - May 2020

source: statista

source: pew research center

+25M  people in the United States actively used dating apps in 2019

~45%  of online daters say using these platforms made them feel frustrated

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1- How might we reinforce identity to provide acceptance and validation and eliminate socially-constructed ideals present in profiles? 

2- How might we disrupt unconscious automated behaviors to lead to more meaningful encounters and better align expectations?


Starting with the disruptive journey that allows users to meet instantly and find intentional serendipity. In usual setting, after swiping and matching, people have to go through the daunting task of texting someone you do not know to see if you are worth the meeting. It is only after that that you get to meet in real life. During the texting phase, you can either lose momentum, get busy with other thing and never follow up, or find another match and forget about this one, so the real life encounter does not happen that often. 

With bump, the encounter is moved forward so that as soon as you match you are able to meet. By sending a picture to unlock the chat, you ensure that a person is behind it but it also holds you accountable to actually meet in person making you value the encounter more, now that you are committed to it.

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Second, the emphasis on meaningful matches will allow you to curate your encounter and match according to what matters most to you. By setting the time you are available for, the activity that you want to do and the mood that you are in, you set the expectations straight and avoid any deception from either sides. Furthermore, once you get matched, you are capable of filtering your matches based on what matters most to you. You can filter by mutual friends, lifestyle match, age or distance, and any of the 3 criteria you set for your meeting.

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And finally, the authentic profiles that will allow you to discover new people and browse authentic profiles. Did you know that 71% of online daters think it is very common to lie about themselves in order to appear more desirable? This is insane. On bump, the profiles are built to be able to show both the similarities and differences you have with the person making them both equally interesting or appealing. The profiles explore this concept of neutral desirability that sounds paradoxical but that represents an equal desirability towards any sides of the spectrum. I look at personality, lifestyle and habits elements which allow people to describe themselves. 

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