Red Cord is a different kind of dating app that adapts to your own lifestyle. Rather than creating ways for you to meet people, Red Cord harvests the opportunities from what you do day to day so that you can focus on life as it is being presented to you.
The name “Red Cord” is adapted from an ancient Chinese mythology. An old man named “Yue Lao” ties red cords around the feet of young boys and girls to help them meet each other. Yue Lao, being the Taoist god of marriage, holds a book which documents the marriages of every person on earth. Therefore Yue Lao and his red cords became the symbol of fate and affinity as his stories got passed on for generations after generations.
We’d like to think of “Yue Lao” as the man that’s behind the curtain rather than the man standing on the stage. A lot of online dating service put people up on the stage for the world to see, by allowing people to freely browse though the profiles. However, we think there are two main problems with this method:
1) Lack of interaction. One of the fundamental problem with online dating can be simplified in one question: so how did you guys meet? We find that lots of people do not feel comfortable talking about their online dating experience because it makes them seemed desperate; however, more and more people enjoy using online dating services because it enables them find like minded match more efficiently.
2) Security. Another concern expressed by our users is security. It’s difficult to get validation of someone from simply their profiles; therefore the safety of a meet up become a large risk factor for non-veteran users.
The design of Red Cord tackles these two problems specifically. The act of “browsing” is being replaced by exploring the real world. The user is encouraged (actually they have to) to emerge, instead of removing, themselves into the crowd. Member profiles won’t show up until they are physically near the user. There is then no need to set up a meeting and the user can have a nice story to tell when friends get curious about “how you guys met?”
Click to see the high fidelity wireframe here.
I took on this project while taking an interaction design class with the IxD department at Art Center College of Design. Over the course of 14 weeks, under collaboration with Angela Dong and Sean Wang, we created the concept of a dating service, designed a cross channel UX (smartphone and smart watch) and made a video to promote our concept.
The initial research was split into two parts: user and business.
User. We conducted mass surveys and one on one interviews to determine and understand our target audience. The research findings were concluded into 3 separate personas, which will eventually govern the feature and user experience of Red Cord.
Business. Business research includes competitor research and the design of our business model. The understanding of our competitors provided us with a deeper insight of the industry.
A strong storytelling aspect is important to help us design the user experience of Red Cord. Base on the 3 personas, we developed use scenarios that speaks to the specific need of that personas.
A cross-channel experience
Red Cord is designed for both the phone and wearable devices. (in this case, we uses a smartwatch as our wearable device), therefore it’s important for us to look at the cross channel experience while switching or choosing between platforms. A service blueprint is developed to help us look at the transition point between the two platforms in a user flow, while the task matrix is there to help us decide the best combination of features for each platform. (For example, we took away the option to edit profile for the watch. This is 1)because the limited interaction and limited screen real estate does not provide a good experience for this task and 2)the time and focus level required for this task is more suitable for the phone)
The next step is to develop the information architecture for both phone and watch. We started the process with a rough wireframe. A more refined mapping of the features is presented with a low fidelity prototype of the interface.
Iteration and user testing
The actual interface design two three steps: low fidelity wireframe – mid fidelity wireframe – high fidelity wireframe. Each iteration is governed by 2 variables: user testing result (we tested our prototypes with POP and InVision) and feature requirements. (features changes as the project involves.)