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Native App Design

My Role

UX Designer


Pen & Paper, Sketch, InVision, Illustrator


Business & Competitive Analysis
User Research
Affinity Mapping
Information Architecture
App Map Creation
User Flows
Wireframing & Mockups

During a 3-week sprint, our team of 4 UX Designers worked directly with stakeholders to validate and invalidate features for a safety app. What began as a safe dating app where users could share STD information pivoted into Conci, a safety app for travelers.

This project began when my team was approached by a tech entrepreneur who wanted to build out a safe dating app. Our client hoped the app would become an asset for daters, providing identification verification and a secure place to trade STD information. However, during our initial phase of research, we discovered gaping holes in the preliminary research our client used to validate her app and uncovered several legal issues. We pivoted in order to build an app that was valid, legal, and that would solve a clear problem.

Initial Client Meeting

During the first meeting with our client, we learned about her experiences traveling abroad, which were her initial inspiration for the app. She shared several stories of instances when a safe dating app would have been really helpful. In this meeting she also handed off her team’s preliminary research, and we went over her wishlist and the list of features she hoped the app would include.

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Phase 1 Research

In order to validate the 3 desired features and start designing this app, we began our initial stage of research. Our methods included:

  • Interviews

    • 5 interviews, men and women ages 21-38

  • Surveys

    • 55 respondents

    • Men and women ages 19-38

    • Reddit, Tinder, Facebook groups

  • Competitive research:

    • Found 4000+ dating and dating related apps, thoroughly explored 40

    • Industry trends and case studies

  • Legal research

    • HIPAA

    • Consent contracts

Phase 1 insights

  1. Users aren’t interested in STD information swapping and it’s an expensive feature

  2. Consent contracts don’t fulfill users’ needs

  3. Users feel that the background check/ID verification feature is a violation of their privacy

Users aren’t interested in STD information swapping and it’s an expensive feature

Users weren’t comfortable with the idea of their STD information being available in an app, and they expressed concern about the privacy of their personal health information. Also, creating a STD sharing system of verified records would require HIPAA compliance, which would be very expensive.

Consent contracts don’t fulfill the user’s needs

The primary users for this feature were men who might be afraid of #MeToo movement accusations, but we couldn’t find any men who would use this feature and everyone we spoke to found this idea very awkward. In addition, consent contracts don’t hold up in court because consent can be revoked at any time. At best these contracts are circumstantial evidence.

Users feel that the background check/ID verification feature is a violation of their privacy

Users don’t generally try to verify someone’s identity before they meet for the first time. Users were worried about the person they date being “crazy”, but not about them lying about their identity. Users would be unwilling to show their ID to a new date in case the person was “crazy.”



We weren’t able to validate any of the original desired features through user research. However, we did learn about the following ways users stay safe when dating people they meet online:

  • Check out dates’ social media accounts

  • Ask friends to check in on them during the date

  • Meet in a familiar place

  • Tell friends where they are going and when to expect them home

  • Turn on location sharing services such as “find my friends”

We realized that most of these options weren’t available to people who were dating while in a new location or traveling abroad. Our client’s traveling experiences were the initial inspiration for this app, and this sparked an idea…

What about an app that helps daters who are abroad or traveling stay safe?

Phase 2 Research & discovery

Using our insights from interviews and surveys and the discoveries made during competitive analysis, we were able to come up with a list of potential features that might work for this sort of app:

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In addition to revisiting the Phase 1 research methods, we created an affinity map in order to validate features for this safe dating travel app. The affinity map marked the second pivot of our project.


Insight: Users weren’t concerned with safe dating while abroad, but they were concerned about safety in general.

Takeaway: While there wasn’t need for a safe dating app for travelers, there was clearly a need for a safety app for travelers

This affinity map enabled us to recognize travelers’ most common safety concerns and identify the appropriate features to address these. We then had users do a card sort with these identified features to prioritize the features that should be included in the MVP.

The second pivot


App Structure & Wireframes

With six validated features, we knew this would be a robust app. We knew we wouldn’t be able to design out all of the features, but we wanted to give our client something to move forward with, so we built out the app map and then did team design studios to create wireframes for two of the features.

Find a Travel Buddy Wireframes


Find a Travel Buddy A/B Testing

We performed A/B testing to figure out which layouts proved most effective and appealing to users


Maps Wireframes


Finding Our Brand Voice

What we wanted to convey:

  • Safety

  • Adventure

  • Trust

  • Fun

Designing an Impactful Mood Board

We came up with 4 potential mood boards with different color palettes and typography choices to present to our client. She chose her two favorites, and we combined them to create the final mood board. We were only able to mockup 4 of the 6 features, so this mood board will serve as a guide for building out the additional features.

About our choices:

  • Blue color palette - blue represents freedom, and when used in branding it inspires loyalty and trust.

  • Fun and modern typography

  • Familiar Iconography

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Selecting a Meaningful Name & Logo

After our second pivot, the original name for the app was no longer viable or relevant. We also had the opportunity to design a logo. I led a team design studio and we came up with 3 different options for name & logo combinations that fit our brand voice. Here are the 3 we presented to our client:

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Here was the final combination our client selected:

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Personas & prototype

Forums, Maps, & Emergency Contacts


Deb’s user flow shows 3 features: Forums, Maps, and Emergency Contacts. She searches the Forums for tips on gluten free eating in St. Petersburg, Russia. She finds a helpful post by a blogger, Gluten Free Gabby, and purchases her map, which serves as a guide to gluten free restaurants in St. Petersburg. She then uses the “dangerous area” option on her Maps feature to choose a restaurant that is in a safe area. Once she has selected a restaurant, she uses the Emergency Contacts feature to let her boyfriend know where she will be going.


Find a Travel Buddy Feature


Sabrina’s user flow showcases the Find a Travel Buddy feature of Conci. She wants to find a travel companion in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She is prompted to create a profile, providing personal details about herself and her travel style. Once she has made a profile, she can connect with other travelers.


Going Forward


The timeline of this project and the slight setback of doing two thorough research phases meant we weren’t able to flesh out all 6 features of the app, or test our prototype with users. I wish we could have had more time to accomplish these tasks, but overall I’m proud of my team and the effort we made to align business goals with user needs. Here are a few things I learned during this sprint:

  • Honest and direct communication with the client (and your team members) is crucial

  • UX Design isn’t about creating a movement around a product, it’s about designing a product that there is already a need for

  • Design studios are so valuable, especially when working in a collaborative environment full of creative thinkers

3 Next Steps for the Conci Team

  1. Build out the additional features in the prototype

  2. Do usability testing on the prototype

  3. Design the influencer-facing interface/profile