Jitter is an anonymous social media platform that aims to create a non-toxic and fun environment for its users.
A mobile app attempting to revive a market that has been in decline for half a decade. A genre with a 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.
Formspring launched in 2009 and shut down in 2013.
Yik Yak launched in 2013 and was dissolved in 2017.
Secret launched in early 2014 and 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.
In order to test the efficacy of our stakeholder's proposed features and figure out our target audience, we conducted thorough research. This included:
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.
Being quick to set up and easy to use kept users invested in using the app.
Users want to be able to enjoy looking at content without necessarily needing to interact with others.
“Other people stopped using it.”
“The novelty wore off.”
“I stopped seeing new content.”
“I stopped being able to use the platform as I wanted.”
“I matured out of it.”
“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 10 people interviewed stopped using these apps due to other people jumping ship. This led us to realize the appeal of the on-the-rise anonymous app CuriousCat. It is primarily used by people as a way for fans to engage with content creators they enjoy.
Incidentally, out of the 38 people who filled out our screener survey, only 1 person currently uses an anonymous social media app.
Our Persona is the personification of our Affinity Map data rolled into one persona. We created them in order to design for a clear representation of our audience.
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 created a journey map in order to pinpoint where we need to improve compared to our contemporaries.
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. The desired content being easily accessible seconds after opening the app forms the sense of instant gratification that users wanted.
We created this journey map to justify our research process to our stakeholder. This is the journey many users went on. Here is our opportunity to keep them engaged as the app grows.
As we moved closer to 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 allowed us to get a better grasp of what those features do and why they helped give users what they wanted. This is a competitive and comparative feature analysis.
We then used the MoSCoW Feature Prioritization method to decide which features will be most suitable to be implemented during this three-month contract period.
Going forward for this project, we prioritized ubiquitous social media functions and features that would provide the user plenty of content even if their personal network runs dry. (or doesn't exist yet)
We ran a design studio session together and included the stakeholder in these calls for direction. 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.
In order to ensure our user still has content if her friends leave, we fleshed out the Discover page where public users’ public posts can be viewed and liked. Users expressed the desire to have control over 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. Including a search method is important in order to provide users with a way to find content outside of their circle.
We conducted 10 usability tests and had them complete 6 tasks on our mid-fi prototype. Here are the results and changes we made based on user feedback:
PAIN POINT: Users felt the text in the posts was too cluttered.
SOLUTION: We made sure all text in every post was indented at the same position.
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 “accept” and “deny” on posts sent to them.
SOLUTION: We talked to our stakeholder about 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.”
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 couldn't tell that the button that switches whether your post will be anonymous or public was 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.
One part of Jitter I was exceptionally proud of was our ability to navigate talks with a stakeholder who did not entirely believe in the UX process. We carefully gathered and presented our findings in ways that convinced the stakeholder to trust in our suggestions. Gathering qualitative feedback and appealing to emotions like using actual quotes from interviewees helped a lot during these meetings.
If our contract lasted longer, I believe the next iterations would have focused on the following features:
• 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.
• Comment on posts. This would increase the amount of content and allow users to interact with other people without having to directly ask them questions.
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 satisfied 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.