Search engines have come a long way, but some questions are too personal, too subjective, or sometimes just need to be pondered. For these types of questions conventional search isn’t much help. I spent a lot of time thinking about how we can people with these "unanswerable" questions.
Where are these questions being asked currently?
What conditions will they ask?
How to establish trust in a UI?
Will people help each other?
What makes a healthy community of contributors?
Below is a simple arch of my exploration as it started from blue sky concepts that leaned heavily on technology to the launch of iOS and Android apps that built a dynamic community of contributors. The solution relied on crowd-sourcing answers and the trick was finding the right size groups that encouraged engagement.
Huddle started Jan 2016 with scrappy talks exploring how to answer "impossible questions" in new contexts. I used pen and paper to coalesce ideas in a quick and dirty InVision paper prototype.
I paired up with a PM for several weeks testing ideas with rapid iteration. I shared a new Huddle prototype to the larger team of a a few hundred. Actual UI was not yet concern as we focused on features that would delight users. I used the mantra "get in and get out" to describe our engagement style.
Miles of wireframes
This is essential foundation work. I like to keep it organized and all pages and states in one file - that is until it gets unwieldily or there's a major product change.
Our first coded prototype allowed us to test many versions quickly and we found traction around anonymous Q&A within small groups.
For our first external test, we labored to identify an audience that had lots of questions, we decided on recent college grads. I initiated a redesign of the UI so it would be tailored for the new grads and started with a group exercise to discuss brand attributes.
I looked for inspiration in apps, sites, and in everyday products that were used by new grads. A standout was this image by Jambox that was cool, casual, and something you wanted to take with you everywhere.
Review x times
I worked quickly and independently on a self-driven formal design process. I followed the steps: Define, Concept, Design, Iterate, Refine. About three rounds of design in all. And finally, I presented the new design made specifically for new grads.
I created the identity to express intrigue and curiosity, the same feelings our users might have in the app.
Along came a design trend called Complexion Reduction that strove to Minimizes the overall weight of a UI to is barest parts. The result is clean, modern, and it maximizes the impact of the content. I was hooked and made some adjustments to our UI.
Introducing Hive. Rebranded for new college grads.
Quick answers in anonymous groups from like-minded people.