Social isolation has been associated with an increased risk of:
By crafting a digital platform where older populations feel psychologically safe, we can build social connections between those who are the most vulnerable to loneliness.
but for real...
When I first started working on this project, my parents had just divorced. I wanted to create a platform that helped them and people like them forge new, meaningful connections in their most vulnerable moments.
Grapevine is an app for the romantics.
This service is catered to people who have been divorced, widowed, or remained single past the age of 50.
But I needed to get to know them first...
After 7 interviews with
- Single individuals 50+
5 of 7 of these romantics expressed discomfort towards dating online.
If loneliness is dangerous and a population vulnerable to loneliness is not comfortable with online dating,
How can we help them feel more at home online?
Grapevine brings a digital flair to dating methods of the past.
We can help older romantics feel more comfortable with online dating by re-introducing digitized dating methods of the past.
During my interviews, many participants noted that they did not like texting people to get to know them. They were used to going to events, calling, and even writing letters to find the people they loved. In order to make the population I was looking to serve more comfortable, I felt it was important to emphasis all these methods from the get-go. Each of these features is at the forefront of the onboarding sequence to let older romantics know that I hear them.
Now that their interest is piqued...
How can we help a population that is typically tech-illiterate and even tech-wary feel comfortable signing up?
Grapevine utilizes affordances and a
one-action per page method to ensure both ease of use and comfort during the onboarding process.
We can help older romantics feel more comfortable with signing up by making the process as simple as possible.
Oftentimes, older populations have a difficult time with technology. By allowing them to utilize the sign up method of their choice, phone number, Google Gmail, or Facebook (which many older people are familiar with), older romantics will feel more comfortable signing up for Grapevine.
Through having my audience focus on one action per page, they will better understand what they need to do at each point of the sign-up flow.
Grapevine utilizes personable mascots Vinny and Viney to help the tech-wary feel less like they are talking to a robot and more like they are talking to a friend.
By having Vinny and Viney introduce themselves in a personable way, tech-wary older romantics will feel more comfortable with using the app.
Vinny and Viney, the mascots of Grapevine, are grapes looking to personally help older romantics find love. It is their goal and what they were created to do. By making the app feel less like a robot and more like a friend, it personifies the app and makes older generations who do not like tech feel more connected to the product.
Because Vinny and Viney guide you through the onboarding process, you will feel more comfortable sharing information about yourself.
Some of the most important information Grapevine needs is your name, your age, and your dating preferences. Through establishing Vinny and Viney as a friendly presence, customers are more comfortable sharing about themselves. They are a presence that is physically there, asking you questions as you onboard. When you onboard with Grapevine, you're not just handing over your personal information to a faceless company, you're giving it to Vinny and Viney too.
In order to reinforce this friendliness throughout the experience, Vinny and Viney are playful.
After finishing setting up their initial profile, Vinny and Viney push the "Finish Profile" button to remind the audience to continue onto the app. This touch of playfulness is to reinforce this sense of friendship. These touches are present throughout the app.
Since their profile is set up...
How can we help them find their perfect match?
Grapevine helps romantics find their match through a profile system which allows people to talk about themselves and their interests, not just show what they look like.
By allowing users to share information and pictures beyond just what they look like, romantics can get a better idea of what their potential match is actually like.
While looking at someone's profile on other dating apps, often the most importance is put on what the person looks like. With Grapevine, romantics can add in their interests and even photos of their pets or favorite artists. This helps romantics get to know each other better and show off who they really are. Vinny and Viney also encourage romantics to match with one another once they reach the bottom of a profile. If you read through all that, might as well shoot your shot!
Interest icons by ByteDance
Grapevine helps romantics find love through alerting them when they've found their "perfect pair".
When someone decides they like another person, they can match with them if the other person agrees they would also like to match. Vinny and Viney encourage them by telling them that they've found their "Perfect Pair."
So what's next?
It's time to meet up!
Grapevine helps romantics kindle the flame through allowing them to attend in-person events alongside other romantics.
Together, matches can decide to go to events together. This replicates dating of the past as oftentimes, individuals would meet in person. These events are user proposed as well as generated by the app itself. Oftentimes, it's difficult to make all the plans yourself, having the app take some of the tasks off the romantic's hands will help to encourage customers to put themselves out there.
But there's one thing left:
How did I document all of my decisions?
Grapevine has thorough documentation to ensure anyone can pick up the project in the future. Download here or keep scrolling.
Grapevine has decided its typography based on the fonts' accessibility. Accessibility is important due to the audience.
Grapevine's colors are defined by their function. Blue represents interaction, green represents progress, and pink represents love.
There are three core elements in the Grapevine app, the loop, the heart, and the clouds. Each are used to represent and accomplish different relationship states.
Grapevine's logo, contains each of the core visual elements: the loop, the heart, and the clouds to reinforce the app's mission to help prevent loneliness in older romantics.
Grapevine's mascots, Vinny and Viney, adhere to a strict set of rules to ensure they are a friendly presence throughout the experience.
Want to see how it all comes together? Check out the demo video.
And that's it!
So what would I have done differently?
1. Rework the app with new accessibility guidelines in mind.
This project was created in 2021. While accessibility guidelines existed, I was not as well versed at the time. As well, more accessibility research has been done since this project's completion. If I were to pick up this project again, I would implement all the new knowledge I have gathered regarding accessibility, especially for older populations.
2. Further flesh out the calling and loveletter system.
Currently, the way that the love letter system works is after you match and meet, you can send a love letter if both parties agree to it. You can always call to talk. However, these systems are not obvious to users. In the future, I want to make these systems more clear.
3. Conducted buy-a-feature surveys with potential customers.
Currently, I only speculated what features I thought people would want based off of interviews with 7 people. I wish I had done a survey where individuals in the target audience could "buy" different features to show which are the most important to them. This way, I could get feedback on which aspects of the app resonate most.
Kat Minor Portfolio