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A social media app that takes you off-line


13 Weeks


Solo Project

Initial Discovery

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I found myself and my friends saying all the time in college how we wished we knew how busy a restaurant or bar is or isn't going to be before going.

Even post-college, I find myself wanting a solution for the same problem- but for different reasons.


After working closely in marketing for a fine-dinning restaurant here in town - I've realized this solution would benefit the businesses just as well. 

Problem Area

Those who drink and eat socially become frustrated and disappointed when they arrive at an establishment and the atmosphere or crowd doesn't meet their expectations.


A tool that shows users hotspots and events within their location.

Business Opportunities



Reduce the number of people walking out from unmet expectations.



Convince skeptics that the establishment’s atmosphere will live up to their expectations.


New Tech

Ignite interest in new potential customers.



Understanding problem space

Defining project goals

Forming a schedule


White paper research

Competitive Analysis

User interviews (5)

Affinity mapping

Persona Creation (3)

Journey mapping



Feedback Session 1


Feedback Session 2

Style guide

High Fidelity/Prototype


User-based testing (5)

Design recommendations


White Paper Research

Analyze the psychology and motivations behind going out to bars & restaurants and how people currently decide on where they are going to spend their night.

Competitive Analysis

User Interviews (5)

Survey the problem space through competing social media platforms and lack of solutions

Understanding the user journey, user needs, and various pain-points, of various stakeholders

I divided the research phase into two phases - a primary research phase where I understood the context of the problem, conducted initial stakeholders interviews and audited existing solutions.

This was followed by a secondary research phase where I conducted 5 user interviews and synthesized all of this data into an affinity map that helped me build personas, empathy maps, journey maps and design ideas.

Who did I interview?

3 interviewees had full time jobs, 2 were college students

Active users of social media

Drink & eat socially on the weekends 3-4 weeks per month


I synthesized the collected data from the interviews and white paper research into an affinity map to help form insights and brainstorm design ideas to solve higher order problems.


Insights + Themes

Theme 1 - Human connection / Community 

Insight 01

Watches social media stories to find the biggest party

Insight 02

Wants to know they have someone to socialize with before going out

Theme 2 - Efficient Planning

Insight 03

About 74% interviewees call restaurants ahead of time to ask what their wait time is. 

Insight 04

Desires the ability to save favorite spots and see friend's favorite spots when looking for a new place to go. 

Personas + Empathy Maps

Based on insights and observations from the research methods, I created three personas that captured the essence of our users and their characteristics. I also formed empathy maps to understand their needs and frustrations.


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Mobile app

Heat map

Social stories feed 

Events calendar

 Save favorite establishments and stories as memories 

Testing & Improvements

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First Major Improvement

Created separate screens per nav icon

  • Based on guerilla testing, letting the user naturally flow to other parts of the app seemed to be a better fit

  • Created the ability to add more details for users to specify their options

  • Created the Tap In icon as more prominent to increase engagement & interaction

Second Major Improvement

Re-designed to a story feed

  • Originally designed a broadcast feed - According to mentor feedback, a social media story feed that looks familiar will eliminate confusion from reinventing the wheel

  • Designed the ability to see friend's list and add friends

  • Allows users to visualize atmosphere, find friends, share memories

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Third Major Improvement

Designed the user's profile as more accessible & public

  • Feedback stated users wanted a way to view and edit their memories as public on their profile

  • Designed the favorites as public so that users can view their friends favorite places

Style Guide

Primary, Secondary + Accent Colors



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Hi-Fidelity Designs

Key Screens

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Use Cases

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Bar or restaurant is closed. The user won’t be able to Tap In to that location.

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The user is not old enough to use the app. Users must be 21+ to use Tap In.

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Location services are not turned on. Users will have to turn their location services on to Tap In.

Usability Testing

I conducted moderated in-person testing at two different local bars in my town. I picked (5) different users ranging from 21-41 years old. I asked them the following questions and had them walk me through the prompts listed:

Qualitative Questions

To gather thoughts, feelings & impressions
  • Take a look at each screen, what are your initial thoughts and impressions?

  • What options do you have access to?

  • What do you think the gradient circles mean?

  • What do you think each icon means on the navigation bar?

  • What does your friend's profile show you?

  • What do you think the 'memories' feature means?

  • What are your overall impressions of the app? What do you wish were different?

Quantitative Tasks

To identify any usability problems
  • Find more information on Ruff's Bar

  • Walk me through how you would show your friends you're at Ruff's Bar

  • Show me how you would get directions to Ruff's Bar

  • Show me how you would view Madison's story

  • If you wanted to quickly see what comedy shows are playing in your area, where would you click?

  • How can you tell which of your friends are attending an event?

  • Find you favorite locations

  • How would you un-favorite a bar or restaurant from your profile?

  • How would you Tap In with a photo?

Key Learnings + Design Changes



Lack of clarity for navigation bar icons.


I added text to name what each icon was meant for.



The user asked how they could delete a memory instead of only editing it

I changed the editing icon to three dots to show they could edit, make private or delete



The Tap In icon was not intuitive for the user

I designed a tutorial showing how to Tap In with or without a photo after the sign up process

Final Prototype


My usability testers were really excited about the app concept. Their favorite feature was knowing how busy a place is or isn’t before going. Someone mentioned that it seemed like a more ‘adult’ version of Snapchat which is what I was going for with extra added features. The feedback I received was really promising and validated my desire for a tool like Tap In.

Future Roadmap

Future Research + Changes

I would extend research on the benefit of adding in a chat feature for later versions of the app

A few users expressed concern over privacy issues with showing their location on the heatmap. While it's purely a choice to Tap In or not, I would research and implement a privacy solution

Additional research on how users would add a photo to their feed. Do they like the idea of taking a photo via Snapchat and posting it to their Tapped In feed? In general, people don't usually use the app camera because there are less choices to add filters. I'd like to explore more on their preference of where they upload a photo from.

What I learned


Try to be wrong - Fight the urge to create solutions from my own assumptions


It's okay to re-design the app until it looks coherent. I have re-designed the app multiple times upon submitting my case study and probably will continue to do so as my design abilities evolve. 


I don't need to add all the cookie-cutter research methods if they don't validate my design decisions. I found some design methods of research that were required for this capstone project unhelpful when making UX and design decisions for my mobile app. Rather than cluttering my case study with those methods, I left them out and emphasized my user interviews and personas which were most helpful when understanding my user's needs for this project.

Thank you!

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