Making friends in the digital era can be much more difficult than in previous generations. ‘Friendly’ is a social platform for people new to an area or just on the lookout to make new friends. The app features a unique algorithm to match you with like minded people in your area .The idea came while my husband was spending alot of time overseas for work and struggling to meet other ex-pats to have a beer with on weekends. Lots of people in committed relationships don't really want to jump on a dating apps to try and meet friends, and that was the driving force behind Friendly.
The app was designed to carefully select people based on common attributes, such as location, hobbies, interests, age, gender making it easier to meet up and get to know one another offline. I am originally from Canada and at this point I had already been in Aus for 3.5 years When Andrew told me about his idea I was really excited to team up on this project. Being a bit of a social junkie myself and not having as many girl friends in Aus as I was used to back home I really empathised with prospective users. I was excited not only to help design this app but to gain new meaningful friendships.
The evolution of Friendly's branding has changed alot over the past 2 years, and the road to where the App is today has not been a smooth ride to say the least.
Friendly launched as an events based app focused on bringing users together through events hosted and created by it's users. The first logo was reflected through 3 shapes coming together, symbolising a group of friends. The second logo was just a clean up of the first version as we found it wasn't as versatile as it needed to be as it struggled when shrunk down in size or inverted over images or solid colour backgrounds.
As Friendly deviated the business model headed more towards individuals making personal connections rather then group public events we also evolved the logo with the new idea being around two location pins reflecting users in different locations coming together into a chat conversation.
Before starting the project we created and mapped out the full user journey to help the development run smoothly and to log what interactions would equal what result and if they affected other elements in the app in particular push notifications.
Being able to have a birds eye view of the full project mapped out infront of us before actually pushing pixels really helped us iron out the flow and really reduce clicks and friction for the users when trying to navigate through Friendly.
First impressions count so a clear, professional and quick on-boarding flow is key to improving the drop rate of users when they land on your app for the first time.
We launched with just Facebook sign in to begin with but found a large amount of users dropping off after download due to privacy issues with Facebook. By adding an Instagram login option and writing a simple blurb below notifying the user that we will use their information correctly, we were able to improve conversion 36%.
Once the user creates an account our on-boarding process ask's the user the most crucial questions which we require to enhance their matchmaking once they land on the homescreen. We found most app's just drop users into their app with no focus on matching them with similar age or distance and just display everyone around the world which we really wanted to avoid.
It's pointless to swipe right and left on potential besties, So we designed a neat algorithm matching you with like minded individuals who share the same interests as you do.
The matchmaking process consist of 12 screens asking you various questions like how do you like to spend your weekend? or What do you consider your best trait? After that you're all set to chat! Another feature we thought would help with avoiding people adding everyone, would be a character limit to add a friend from your list of matches. That way you're more likely to only spend the time messaging matches who you will actual follow up with.
This feature also helps users make the decision weeding out the potential friends they really don't care to chat with encouraging users to leave unique and personable messages insuring a good first impression, the value of this feature focuses on quality over quantity.
Now that you’re friends, it’s time to chat and start laying down the foundation for a new friendship. You can start a group chat to plan a double date or to set up a girls night out. The design embodies a clean and modern interface on iOS that utilises gestures.
“I get by with a little help from my friends”
One key feature I designed was the “beacon”. This feature allows you to set your status and send out a beacon to let other friends know what you’re interested in. Say it’s 6pm on a Friday night and you’re really interested in grabbing food – simply set you’re up for food and hit the beacon to let everyone know. If you’re in a time crunch, you can also boost this which will push your profile and status to the top of the home screen. That impromptu sushi night around the corner is even closer now!
The inspiration for the website was designed around upbeat and friendly vibes, minimalism and whitespace. Focusing on the key features we offer like: Which cities we are launched in and what ones we’ll be launching in the future.
You can also tailor your profile to attract the right friends, explore your city with new friends and make real connections. Friendly is for people who feel social and are brave enough to make the first move to start a friendship. Through design we want to empower users. Let’s face it – making friends can be hard and awkward. We are working hard behind the scenes, working out ways to break down the stigma of talking to strangers.
Everyone deserves to foster meaningful friendships and that’s always at the forefront of all our design decisions.
The colour palette is well-balanced and saturated, giving it a sense of vibrancy. The colours are warm and friendly throughout - it’s all about communicating those friendly vibes. For the typography, we landed on Proxima Soft which is rounded and playful. This font is often quoted as the world’s best font, but that wasn’t the only real reason it swayed our decision. It really balances the interface design, plus it’s been designed and optimised by Mark Simonson.
Another thing we really enjoyed putting the spotlight on – emojis! I mean, who doesn’t love an emoji?