Ping

Interaction Design
Passion Project
MVP

Year: 2017

Project

This project idea came to me while I was studying transcultural design in Shanghai. As newcomers it was hard for my foreigner friends and I to meet somewhere without having to give a specific location and a specific time. It’s even harder to meet when the location you give each other is in a language you can't read. So I first came up with this simple idea where people could meet more easily. As my research went on, I found out the use cases were even wider than I expected, and so began my exploration of how people meet.

Process

How do people meet?

Asking people how they meet up was amazingly insightful and really helped me understand the multiplicity of patterns.

Time and location are the two structuring elements in a meetup, but since they're variables, they can lead to confusion, stress, and annoyance.

Pinpointing the pains

I asked people what is the most difficult part of meeting up with someone. Here is what I found: finding a friend at a specific location at a specific time rarely works ou perfectly.

Topics of communication:

• update on time
• update on location
• other (another friend is joining etc)

Findings:

• Texts are prefered to set up a meeting: people can write down information so it’s not lost.
• The closer to the meetup location, the more people use calls over messages as they are faster.
• Video calls and other mediums are very secondary and depend on people’s relationship habit.

In both cases people reported using their smartphone to locate their friends almost all the time.

Extracts of user research.

Key Findings

Research and personas, as well as initial thoughts helped me define multiple axes for the ideation phase:

Product highlights

Less is more

The app is designed to answer one specific need:
locating your friend.

"On mobile, each app can only focus on doing one thing well" - Mark Zuckerberg

Slick interactions

Want to ping someone? a group of friends? Create and manage your groups in the most user-friendly way.

Master your circles

Every group Ping is exclusive and everybody is free to disconnect their phone when desired. Users can have multiple group Pings at the same time.

Flawless integration

Because people have their own habits when it comes to contacting a friend, Ping focuses on the locating part and let's users configure what service to use with what friend.

Pings are private, because so is our life

People you are trying to reach have to accept your Ping request. Anytime, you can decide to end the Ping, leaving you guys to your respective lives.

Research showed people are reluctant to using geolocation sharing if they feel they cannot completely control it.

Learnings and takeaways

Here's what I learned along the road:

Thank you for reading

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