Bondfire —

Building a storytelling platform to help connect university students

Team: 5 Members

Role: Product Designer

Duration: 4 Days

What I did:

Although I was involved in every stage of the project, my responsibilities primarily revolved around the design and prototype for our app:

    • Analyzed user surveys to understand the difficulties of social distancing amongst young adults
    • Conducted a competitive analysis to help identify common trends to develop Bondfire’s features
    • Established the product’s branding and design system in a limited amount of time
    • Ideated and designed user flows, wireframes, and a hi-fidelity prototype for testing

Context

This project was made for the uXperience | Think Privacy hackathon. We were challenged to create a privacy-conscious product, system, or service that reduces the negative impact of the physical and mental barriers that people can face during social distancing.

Problem Statement

How might we connect people and create a sense of “togetherness” while protecting everyone’s privacy?

Results

We created Bondfire, a real-time interactive platform for isolated college students to build meaningful connections through the power of storytelling. We also placed 2nd in the competition.

View Prototype

Onboarding

First-time users go through a simple five-step onboarding to set up their feed and to help funnel through a network of verified and trustworthy users through multi-level authentication.

Exploring Campsites

Users are able to join a plethora of rooms (campsites) to socialize about anything with friends or strangers.

Importance of Feature
Through socializing and sharing experiences, users are able to build a meaningful connections in a more impactful way.

Transparency Throughout the App

Users are constantly informed about the collection of data and reminded about the privacy implications of their actions.

Importance of Feature
We believed the transparency we provide will build trust and help our users feel safe when using our product.

Research Insights

50+ university students were surveyed and interviewed to help us further understand the difficulties throughout the pandemic.

Redefining the Problem Space

During our research, we came across the idea of storytelling and how one’s past experiences help people resonate with others ultimately forming a deeper bond.

With fears of social media privacy and the need for deeper connections, we decided to focus on building a privacy-conscious and trustworthy community through the power of storytelling.

User Journey and Persona

Identifying our user’s needs and pain points throughout the day helped us determine the key features for our product.

Ideation

After conducting a thorough competitive analysis to help identify common trends in the social media industry, we explored a wide range of ideas on how users can effectively connect with others on a deeper level.

Validation

We furthur validated our iterations by asking our interviewees on their personal opinions on the wireframes.

We decided to go with live audio rooms, as we felt that they mimic real-life campfire talk and is a viable business idea.

Wireframes

Sketching out the initial low-fidelity wireframes helped us determine the look of our product and its potential user flow. 

Visual Design

Bondfire’s style guide features purple tones with a vibrant orange to emulate an inviting and real-life night sky experience of the user.

The use of cards and imagery in the UI is visually appealing, groups information, and helps the user digest the information effectively.

2nd Place Finish

My group and I finalized our prototype and pitched to the judges of the hackathon. We were proud to announce that we placed 2nd in the competition.

What if it launched?

Although this was a hackathon project, the success of products like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, Discord Stages, and more, shows that there was potential for Bondfire to succeed.

If Bondfire were to have launched, it would have stood out for its emphasis on privacy and bonding.

Key Takeaways

This was one of my favourite projects to work on, and uXperience introduced me to a whole new world of ethical design. It was my first remote hackathon and I am glad my team and I came out in the top 3!

Redefining the Problem Space

The problem space was really broad for this hackathon and talking to other students and professors really helped us narrow down on a specific problem with social distancing. I learned that narrowing down on the specifics helps find a more viable and better solution in the end.

Designing for Privacy

This was probably one of my biggest takeaways so far in my career. It made me reflect on what sort of products we use every day, how we use them, and how secure they really are. This hackathon inspired me to start learning more about privacy-conscious design and how I can start fighting for the users.