Meet In Person: Helping new grads make friends in a new environment

Bringing meaningful connections from the phone to real life


Team: 2 other designer students

My Role: This was a collaborative team project in which all members were involved in research, ideation and design.

Initial concept map

Initial concept map

Background: The theme of the class was safety. We started with alcohol safety: how can people stay safe on a night out at bars? How can we help make interactions with strangers more positive? Through our research, we eventually pivoted. How can we help new grads who relocate to a new city make friends safely? 


We started with alcohol safety. To learn about people's routines/habits during a night out, people's behavioral changes under the influence of alcohol and safety concerns.

  • Survey
  • Interviews
  • Follow-me study
    • Good night out
    • Bad night out
Good night out

Good night out

Bad night out

Bad night out

Affinity Diagram

Based on our interviews, observational studies, and survey results, we created an affinity diagram. The diagram was still very broad, but it allowed us to find an area we wanted to focus on: interactions with strangers.


We decided to try some other research methods to see what new insights those could bring us. We made matrices to learn about people's experiences. We had three different scales: safe/control, comfortable/personal, comfortable/engaging.

2nd Affinity Diagram

After the maketools, we conducted another survey and interviewed more people. Based on the three methods, we found that:

  • People are more willing to interact with strangers who share mutual friends compared to complete strangers
  • Even connections built through mutual friends don’t tend to last long without strong mutual interests and occurrence to meet up again.

Pivot Point

We felt stuck at this point and consulted with another group in class. Someone suggested we could look at new grads. Since bars are not great places to meet people, how do new grads who relocate to new cities meet people and build social connections? We thought we could potentially use our research findings to somehow help this crowd and design a product to help them out.

New Grads

We interviewed a handful of alumni about their experience moving to a new city. Most people make friends through other friends. Everybody is also willing to step out of their comfort zone to greet other people. It wasn’t that awkward or weird to talk to someone new because everybody had the same mindset: to make new friends. 


Our solution was to make a mobile app that helped broaden the possible people new grads can meet and become friends with. Our main feature is a matchmaking function where someone can introduce friends to other friends. We included an event section so people can bond over an activity and explore the city together.

Concept map of status quo

Concept map of status quo

Concept map with our app

Concept map with our app


Whiteboard Sketches

Early Wireframes

Medium Fidelity Wireframes

Final Screens

InVision link: https://invis.io/NE5BCWPHT

Further Work

In order for this to be an actual app, we need to conduct more research.

  • How do get alumni on board?
  • How can we retain users once they established their friend circle?


  • New research methods
  • Practice conducting experiments
  • iPhone app design