Bluebird- A remedy for urban loneliness

Since the 1980s, the percentage of American adults who say they're lonely has doubled from 20% to 40%. Loneliness has become a big issue especially when associated with urban environment. How might we transform everyday experience to mitigate this problem? With this question in mind, we created Bluebird, a social-based reading experience that finds balance between social and positive lifestyle.
Role / UX Design, user research, user mapping, creating wireframes, branding
Time / 2019, 6 weeks
Team / Xiaoben Wang, Yuanhao Liu

Process Overview

To be able to identify the right activity/experience to transform, we need to understand what are causing the problem and who are our target audience. We did initial online research on urban loneliness and later on conducted extensive user research on lifestyle behavior among audiences both in the US and two east Asia countries. After we established our main experience, we were able to test it among individuals from the same mixed geographic locations.

Research

After establishing the target audience, we create a user research survey to help us understand what young city dwellers do when they are socially isolated. This survey was sent out to young professionals who are living in New York, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and major cities in Japan. Using the insights we gathered, we were able to design a persona.
Our first round research shows that there are a few factors that make life in urban city so isolating. First of all, there is lack of community in big cities. People interact not as a community but as individuals. Cities are designed to increase mobility not comfort. People have to physically live alone. Second, the rise of social media puts us in a situation in which we can easily be in virtual contact with others. Lastly, stressful working environment, high life expenses, and fast pace all profoundly contribute to a socially isolated lifestyle. And it is clear that this is happening more and more to people in their 20s, the young professionals.

Ideation

Reading can help people feel more
fulfilled and less lonely.
From our research and surveys we found that people who are not satisfied with their alone time mainly attribute it to that there is almost no personal improvement. They are more likely to spend their time on easily accessible entertainment such as social media, video streaming, and games which make people feel more socially isolated.
This is when we found a pattern where people who have a habit of reading or cooking tend to be more satisfied with the time they spent alone. And all of them graded their alone time higher than 3(out of 5).
Problems: The top three reasons people don't read are, according to our research, first it is hard to find the right book/ type of books to read. On the other hand, people need general reading strategies they can turn to. Last but not the lease, people in general just need a reason to read.
Solution: our solution is to design the reading experience around socializing structure. How people socialize will become the incentive, the strategy, and the main way for people to discover books.

By looking at customer user journey and conducting competitive analysis, we believe we can challenge the way people discover new books. With a more simple information structure, we can emphasize social recommendations and put [search] function at a secondary level. This way, users won't be overwhelmed by countless covers, titles, and categories. Additionally, we designed micro social interactions into the reading experience so you will never feel alone when you are reading. To ensure this experience adapts to modern young generations' fast paced schedule, the whole structure of the app is fairly simple with all the unnecessary functions stripped away.

Information Architecture
Research
Ideation
Product