Methodologies

Brand matrix | Screener survey | User interviews | Contextual inquiry | Affinity mapping | User persona | Journey mapping | Competitive/comparative feature analysis | Feature prioritization | Design studio | Prototyping | Wireframing | Usability testing | Iterative design

Overview

A mobile app attempting to revive a
market that has been in decline for half a decade.
A genre with the reputation for negativity and harassment.
A fickle and constantly fluctuating user base.

Jitter’s stakeholder approached us with an idea for a mobile anonymous

social media app. Jitter's goal is to curb harassment and online bullying by only allowing the user to interact with people they've approved beforehand.
We would spend the next few months iterating on a minimum viable product.

Jitter Intro 2.png

Jitter

Overview

A mobile app attempting to revive a
market that has been in decline for half a decade.
A genre with the reputation for negativity and harassment.
A fickle and constantly fluctuating user base.

Jitter’s stakeholder approached us with an idea for a mobile anonymous

social media app. Jitter's goal is to curb harassment and online bullying by only allowing the user to interact with people they've approved beforehand.
We would spend the next few months iterating on a minimum viable product.

Methodologies

Brand matrix | Screener survey | User interviews | Contextual inquiry | Affinity mapping | User persona | Journey mapping | Competitive/comparative feature analysis | Feature prioritization | Design studio |

A/B Testing | Prototyping | Wireframing | Usability testing | Iterative design

Duration

3 months

Role

UX designer

Tools

Figma

LucidChart

Google Sheets

Team

Jordan Kolb

James Lim

A Fleeting Market

Formspring launched in 2009 and shut down on 2013.

Yik Yak launched in 2013 and was dissolved in 2017.

Secret launched in early 2014, was shut down by the founder in mid-2015.

After School launched in 2014 and was pulled from the app store in 2020.

Facebook Rooms launched in 2014 and was shut down in late 2015.

Why is this market so fragile? How can we avoid falling down the same cliff where so many similar anonymous social media apps have ended up?

Research

In order to test the efficacy of our stakeholder's proposed features and figure out our target audience, we conducted thorough research. This included:

• Making a
brand matrix in order to compare the different anonymous social media apps currently available on the mobile market.

• Creating a
screener survey in order to find the optimal people to formally interview. Our criteria was people who still use or have used anonymous social media in the past. We also wanted to interview people who used multiple different anonymous social media platforms and could explain why they liked or disliked them.

• Conducting 11
user interviews that focused on the overall experience of using anonymous social media platforms and anonymity in general.

Group 93.png

A Candid Community

Group 6.png

Being quick to set up and easy to use kept users invested in using the app.

Key takeaways after synthesizing out interview notes:
Group.png
Group 7.png
noun_View_203 1.png

Users felt comfortable because they can be honest without having to worry about what others think.

Users liked staying in touch with the inside jokes and events that are happening in their local community.

Users want to be able to enjoy looking at content without necessarily needing to interact with others.

A Peculiar Paradox

An interesting observation to note:

7/11

Group.png

Users liked watching drama unfold...

BUT

8/11

Group 8.png

Users have witnessed bullying occur on anonymous social media apps.

A Slippery Slope

A collection of responses to the question:
Why did you stop using anonymous social media apps?

8/11

"Other people stopped using it."

6/11

"The novelty wore off."

6/11

"I stopped seeing new content."

3/11

"I matured out of it."

4/11

"I stopped being able to use the platform as I wanted."

3/11

"There was too much negativity."

The user bases on anonymous social media apps are fickle. These apps entirely rely on individual users providing content to other individual users. If the users leave, so too does the content. It's no wonder then that 8 out of 11 people interviewed stopped using these apps due to other people jumping ship.

Falling Like Dominoes

Anonymous social media platforms are like lightning in a bottle because they only last as long as every user has the capacity to recieve content regularly. Normally this isn’t a problem on social media. Public platforms tend to be hierarchical in nature where verified users and communities are the ones providing the majority of content to users. Anonymous social media, however, survives as a collective where everyone is equal.

Group 95.png

Two-way anonymous platforms like Yik Yak can't have power users for people to follow since no one knows who anyone else.

Group 96.png

One-way anonymous platforms were meant for friends to connect with each other. Everyone is equally weighted.

As a result, if people in your network leave, so too does the content you enjoy. This domino effect killed many anonymous social media apps in the past and left Ask.FM and Whisper as shadows of their former selves. People are fickle. How can we retain them?

Incidentally, out of the 38 people who filled out our screener survey, only 1 person currently uses an anonymous social media app.

Screen Shot 2021-02-12 at 10.07 2.png

Don't Leave Me Out

Our persona is the personification of our Affinity Map rolled into one imaginary person. Ellie is a college student at UMass who works a part time job at a retail store nearby. She hears about an anonymous social media app from her friends and doesn't want to be left out of whatever's trending.  She gives it a download.

Persona 2.png

Follow the Leader

Journey Map 2.png

The journey map documents Ellie's journey from discovering an anonymous social media app like Ask.FM or Yik Yak to its inevitable abandonment by her. We focused on the features and experiences that people enjoyed in the beginning stages of their time on these apps as this is what our interviewees remembered the most. Easy on-boarding, the desired content visible seconds after opening the app, and a satisfying upvote/downvote system combined to form the sense of instant gratification that users wanted.

Unfortunately, the proclivity towards harassment on these apps with no real way to counter it started to embitter Ellie's experience. Eventually her friends stopped using the app and the content on her main feed disappeared as well.

Group 97.png

Problem Statement

Ellie lost interest in anonymous social media in the past due to her friends leaving the platform and having less content to scroll through.

How can we give Ellie the ability to effectively limit the harassment she sees and also reduce her dissatisfaction with the app if her friends leave the platform?

Design

As we moved closer toward designing, we continued our research by getting hands-on with our competitors. This time, instead of analyzing the overall feel of the app and figuring out what made them "work", we delved a little deeper. Comparing the features present in each app allows you to get a better grasp of what those features do and why it helped give users what they wanted. This is a competitive and comparative feature analysis.

We then used the MoSCoW Feature Prioritization method in order to decide which features will be most suitable to be implemented in the Minimum Viable Product.

New C&C 2.png

Design Studio

We used the data from our previous feature analysis and prioritization to ideate some solutions on paper. These would then become the basis for our mid-fidelity wireframes.

Artboard 3.png
Artboard 1.png

Mid-Fidelity Wireframes

Main Wall.png
Notifications - Jits.png
Jit to Wall - Anonymous Typing.png
Story View.png
Search Page - Discover.png
Stories - Anonymous GIF.png
Public Profile Page - Not Following.png
Story View - Chat.png

In order to interact with a user, you must add them as a friend first and they must accept your friend request.


In order to ensure our user still has content if her friends leave, we included a DIscover page where public user’s public posts can be viewed and liked. Users expressed the desire to control the content they see. They can sort by New and Popular, as well as find nearby posts to easily see the people in their local community.

Usability Testing & Hi-Fi Changes 

We conducted usability testing with 10 different people and had them complete 6 tasks on our mid-fi prototype. Here are the results and changes we made based on user feedback.

Main Wall.png
Jitter Main Wall.png
Jit to Wall - Anonymous Typing.png
Post Jit Alt - Public - Typing.png

PAIN POINT: Users felt the text in the posts were too cluttered and difficult to read.

SOLUTION: We made sure all text in every post was indented at the same position.

PAIN POINT: Users couldn't tell that the button that switches whether your post will be anonymous or public was actually a slider.

SOLUTION: We made the button look more like a traditional slider. We also changed the icons on the slider to be in line with the profile picture that you see next to a post.

Search Page - Discover.png
Discover Page - Jits - Hot.png
Notifications - Jits.png
Notifications - Jits - Notification icon

PAIN POINT: Users did not like having to see both users and posts at the same time when searching for a particular thing.

SOLUTION: We reorganized the page so that posts and Users are separate tabs on the Discover page. By moving the sort tab to the top of the screen, users can also now sort every tab, rather than just posts.

PAIN POINT: Users HATED the Jit score system, likening it to Black Mirror and feeling manipulated that the score would go down if they ignore deny posts. Users were also confused by the words of “accept” and “deny” on posts sent to them.

SOLUTION: We talked to our stakeholder on recontextualizing the Jit score so that it is no longer a percentage and instead is an integer that can only go up. We reworded “accept” and “deny” to “reply” and “delete.”

Story View - Chat.png
Stories - Anonymous GIF.png
Story View - Chat Option A.png
Story View - GIF View.png

PAIN POINT: Users did not expect that they could only reply with text publicly or reply with a GIF anonymous. They found this pointless limiting as well. As a result, most users were thrown off immensely when using the slider.

SOLUTION: We separated the anonymous GIF and public reply options into a button and a text box. We alerted the stakeholder that users prefer more control over their reply options. Since users want a simple and easy to use interface, any pointless confusion is a risk for losing retention.

Conclusion

Going forward, there are a couple of additions I would like to make during the next iterative cycle:

• Add a feature to make and join
communities on Jitter. One way to ensure users will have a stream
of relevant content is from user-made groups. These could be fandom communities where people can post anonymously or ask other fans their opinion anonymously. These could be college communities, similar to Yik Yak, where users can anonymously talk about happenings going on in their community.

• Currently, your Jit score goes up when you reply to a Jit sent to you. This is so that users are encouraged to post content to other people and reciprically benefit each other in the process.
Your Jit score should also increase even if you delete a post (albeit not by as much). This could discourage negative harassment because the mere act of interacting with someone will give them the positive feeling of their score going up.

• Add the ability to
comment on posts. This will increase the amount of content and allow users to interact with other people without having to directly ask them questions.

Group 99.png

Working on Jitter taught me about the importance of properly conveying your research with the stakeholder.
When the designer and the stakeholders are firmly set in their ideas, compromise has to be made in order
to ensure the users will be satisifed with the finished result.

This also taught me how to ensure the design fits the research when frequent changes to the established idea are being made by a stakeholder. The research is like the base of a pyramid and it’s essential to make sure every design is built on top of that base.

Jitter was a fun exploration into a side of social media I’ve never had direct exposure to! Immersing myself and gaining knowledge in something so unfamiliar was a great experience I look forward to doing again in the future.

Read other case studies!
to ride next page alt.png
ToRide
Group 115.png
SeeCurrents