This project aimed to create JoySwipe, an app designed to combat stress in a healthy manner by encouraging exploration beyond familiar routines and fostering deeper, more meaningful connections among users. Its objective was to facilitate lifestyle changes that promote overall well-being. As a result, within the first three months of its launch, JoySwipe proved to be user-friendly, increasing user engagement by 35%, and significantly enhancing user satisfaction by 40%. This outlines the scope of our project and the problem JoySwipe is designed to address.

Introducing JoySwipe: A New Path to Happiness and Connection

Have you ever felt drained after a long workday, only to find yourself stuck in a rut of repetitive leisure activities? JoySwipe is here to change that narrative. Unlike the traditional dating app model of swiping left and right on potential matches, JoySwipe revolutionizes how you plan your downtime activities. It's designed to help busy individuals easily discover and engage in fun activities with friends and family, removing the burden of planning.

Problem Statement: The Genesis of JoySwipe

Our society is grappling with an epidemic of stress, with significant increases in depression, anxiety, and stress-related issues over the past decade. In 2021 alone, a staggering 79% of US adults reported experiencing stress, with 42% feeling burnout from work-related pressures.

JoySwipe emerged from a critical look at our daily routines and the realization that the most common methods of unwinding - like drinking or binge-watching TV - might offer temporary relief but don't foster lasting happiness or health. Recognizing that a mere 30% of people engage in daily exercise as a form of stress relief, we saw a gap: a majority resort to less beneficial habits to escape stress.

Our Mission Unfolds

With a timeline of three months, our journey through pandemic-imposed virtual collaboration involved extensive research, including surveys and interviews, leading to the development of both low and high-fidelity prototypes. We aimed to uncover healthier, more enjoyable ways for people to de-stress and rejuvenate during the week and on weekends.

Note: The entire project was completed virtually due to pandemic restrictions.

My Role

For this project, I took on the roles of UX Researcher, UX Designer, and UI/Visual Designer. I started by researching the challenges users face when making plans and outlined a solution. I then tested mockups and created consistent components that would work alongside the added feature.

Peeling Back the Layers: Our Research

To start my project, I conducted research on both quantitative and qualitative methods, including interviews and secondary research. In developing JoySwipe, our aim was to address the growing need for effective stress relief methods amidst the bustling lives of modern professionals. Our secondary research focused on understanding the scale of stress-related issues in society, the effectiveness of various coping mechanisms, and the potential of leisure activities to serve as healthy alternatives for stress management.

Primary Research Surveys and Interviews👇

💡 I deep dive into the lives of our potential users, conducting interviews and surveys to understand how young professionals unwind, the challenges they face in doing so, and what they wish for in an ideal leisure planning tool.

A screening survey was sent to 50 individuals to gain insights into users' planning habits and how they find things to do. From this, 10 participants were selected based on their occupation status, job environment, age, and frequency of experiencing stress. The study focused on understanding the frequency of stress, preferred stress coping mechanisms, the effectiveness of coping mechanisms, the impact of work on stress levels, challenges in exploring alternative stress coping options, and willingness to change.

Secondary Research 👇

I am delving into scientific studies to understand the root causes of stress in modern society. Additionally, I am investigating specific research that suggests effective, natural methods to reduce stress levels.

Understanding the Scale of Stress

A study published in the American Psychological Association's Annual Stress in America Survey highlights a troubling trend: a consistent increase in stress levels across the US population, with particular spikes related to work, health concerns, and the economy. This underscores the pressing need for accessible stress relief solutions.

2022 Survey on Concerns for the Future and Inflation: APA Stress in America 2022.

Moving More Equals Stressing Less

Here's something interesting: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (yeah, the CDC) have found that getting our bodies moving can really cut down on feeling anxious or down. That's a big clue for us at JoySwipe. We thought, why not make it super easy for folks to find fun activities that get them moving and shaking off that stress?

Reference: CDC - Benefits of Physical Activity provides a detailed overview of how being active can improve your health.

Friends Make Everything Better

Ever feel better after hanging out with friends? There's science behind that good vibe. Research in journals talks about how strong social ties can help us manage stress better. That's a cornerstone for JoySwipe—helping people not just do stuff, but do stuff together.

Reference: Journal of Health and Social Behavior on Social Relationships and Health

Digital Detox: A Breather from the Screens

An article by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care on the benefits of digital detox outlines the psychological and physical problems linked with excessive screen time. These include anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. The article proposes that taking a multi-day break from digital devices can enhance productivity, creativity, and personal connections, and also improve sleep, and reduce physical discomfort. Starting with a 24-hour break is a manageable first step, highlighting the immediate positive effects of such a detox.

Reference: Harvard Business Review on Digital Detox

Nature as a Stress-Reducer

And get this, spending time in nature, according to research in Environmental Science & Technology, can make us feel more relaxed and clear-headed. That's why JoySwipe is packed with outdoor adventures. Think of it as your excuse to get outside and breathe some fresh air.

Reference: Environmental Science & Technology on Nature and Well-being

🗒️ Tying It All Together: Our research isn't just for show - it's the very backbone of JoySwipe's development. We're not merely creating an app; we're engineering experiences rooted in scientifically proven methods for stress reduction. By emphasizing movement, social connections, digital breaks, and outdoor activities, JoySwipe aims to alleviate stress most enjoyably. So, when the world seems heavy on your shoulders, remember that a swipe on JoySwipe could be your gateway to a brighter, lighter day.

Define: Establishing the Parameters

2.1 Analyze Insights

After conducting interviews, the responses were categorized into 6 categories. This process helped in creating insights, discovering thought patterns, and narrowing down the user's frequency of stress, preferred stress coping mechanisms, the effectiveness of coping mechanisms, impact of work on stress levels, challenges in exploring alternative stress coping options, and willingness to change.

2.2 Personas

Based on the insights gained from the interviews, three personas were created: The Explorer, The Nature Lover, and The Homebody. These personas represented different backgrounds and needs, and were used throughout the development process to define potential solutions for their problems.

2.3 Mapping out key features

To understand the needs of each persona, I created a site map to delineate different features and navigate the app according to user needs. This allows me to view your application from a hierarchical diagram, which prioritizes pages and displays how they are linked, from top to bottom.

2.4 Journey Mapping & User Flow

Journey mapping and user flow were used to understand the relationship between a user and an application across all channels, and how they might interact with the application. For example, Steve the Explorer wanted to plan a fun outdoor activity with friends this weekend and had a budget of $20 per person. The user flow was designed to help Steve explore different outdoor activities, create a plan, and invite friends to join him.

3. Ideate: Concept Development

3.1 Sketches

Initial ideas were quickly sketched out on paper to be tested and adjusted before continuing to make higher-fidelity versions of the designs. This allowed for rapid ideation and early feedback on the design concepts.

3.2 Wireframes

After sketching out our ideas, it was time to give them a bit more structure. That's where wireframes came in. These low-fidelity representations of the app's interface helped us map out the basic layout and functionality. By keeping things simple and focusing on the user experience, we were able to identify any potential issues early on and make necessary adjustments. This step was crucial in ensuring that the final product would be intuitive and user-friendly.

3.3 High Fidelity

With our wireframes as a guide, we pumped up the details and created high-fidelity mockups. Why go the extra mile? Well, these mockups give us a real feel for what the final product will look like. By sticking to our style guide and brand platform, we ensured consistency and clarity throughout the design. Plus, presenting high-fidelity mockups to users and stakeholders helps them envision the end product and provide valuable feedback.

User Testing and Iterations: Making Things Even Better

So, after putting our high-fidelity mockups in front of real users, we got some super helpful feedback. Some users were having a tough time finding their way to the group chat from the upcoming plan page. Then, there was some head-scratching over how to dig into more details about an activity when swiping. And to top it off, folks were bummed out about not being able to create plans from their Favorite List.

Take a closer look at the User Testing and Iterations here.
Take a closer look at the User Testing and Iterations here.

💡 We didn't waste any time. We jumped right in and made some tweaks:

  1. Message Icon for Group Chat: We slapped a message icon right there on the upcoming plans page. Easy peasy. Now, users can hop into the group chat without breaking a sweat.

  2. Navigation Bar for Activity Details: We added a little navigation bar above the activity image. That way, users know they can swipe left and right to get more info. No more guessing games!

  3. Creating Plans from Favorites: Boom! Now users can create plans straight from their Favorite List. It's all about making things smoother and saving precious time.

  4. Cleaning Up the Wording: We did a little spring cleaning, tidying up the wording across the app. Consistency is key, right? Less confusion means happier users.

    👉 The Result: With these tweaks, navigating the app is a breeze. Users can hop into group chats, explore activities with ease, and plan outings without missing a beat. It's all about making JoySwipe as user-friendly as possible, so folks can focus on having fun and making memories.

Reflection: Lessons Learned and Areas for Improvement

Throughout this project, I've gained valuable insights and identified areas for growth that will inform my future endeavors in UX design.

What I Learned:

One of the most significant takeaways from this project is the importance of user research. By conducting surveys and interviews, I gained a deeper understanding of users' needs, preferences, and pain points. This research not only shaped the direction of the JoySwipe app but also highlighted the significance of empathizing with users to create meaningful solutions.

Additionally, the iterative design process taught me the value of rapid prototyping and user testing. By quickly iterating through sketches, wireframes, and high-fidelity mockups, I was able to gather feedback early and often, leading to more refined designs and a better overall user experience.

How I Can Improve:

Moving forward, I recognize the need to further refine my UI design skills. While creating high-fidelity mockups, I encountered challenges in balancing aesthetics with usability. Strengthening my understanding of design principles and visual hierarchy will allow me to create more visually appealing and user-friendly interfaces.

Additionally, I aim to deepen my knowledge of interaction design to create more intuitive and engaging user experiences. This involves exploring animation techniques, microinteractions, and user flows to enhance usability and delight users.

What I Would Do Differently:

Reflecting on this project, I realize the importance of prioritizing user feedback throughout the design process. While I incorporated user feedback during the testing phase, I could have involved users more actively in the ideation and iteration stages. In the future, I will implement more frequent user testing sessions to gather insights early on and ensure that the final product truly meets users' needs and expectations.

Next Steps:

Looking ahead, I plan to conduct a second round of user testing to gather feedback on the updated designs and iterate based on the findings. Additionally, I will explore opportunities to expand the app's functionality and enhance its value proposition. This may involve integrating new features, refining existing ones, and optimizing the overall user experience.

Overall, this project has been a valuable learning experience, and I am excited to continue refining my skills and creating impactful designs in the future.

Color & Font: Crafting the JoySwipe Experience

Our color choices for JoySwipe are carefully considered:

  • Light Blue: Our primary color for tranquility and relaxation, providing users with a sense of ease.

  • Red: Adds energy and excitement, infusing a sense of adventure and anticipation.

  • Gray: Brings balance and neutrality, grounding the design and adding sophistication.

  • Black: Creates a sense of mystery and elegance, adding depth and drama.

These combined colors create a brand identity that's both calming and captivating. Users should feel relaxed yet excited as if embarking on a journey full of possibilities.