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Design a way for people with similar interests/hobbies to connect.
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in Product Design by (716 points) | 1.1k views

4 Answers

+2 votes

Dave, Ayush – One of the things I would recommend, in addition to the awesome answers that you both have presented is the competitive landscape. Looks like the second product (Dave’s solution) is actually a lot like Facebook groups. Meetup is another product that helps people with similar interests get together. What do these solutions already provide and how will your solution – solve a problem that is not solved by these products?
What about suggesting a product that collects your interests (by asking you for input or having you login via Facebook, Google or Twitter) and then shows groups with similar interests in one location – scrape information from Meetup, Facebook groups, Facebook events, Craigslist groups etc all in one place. That way – a unique need of seeing all groups with similar interests collated across multiple social media platforms can be shown in one place.

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Me: Can you provide more context on this, are we designing a new mobile application, a feature that would work with existing social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter?Interview: Design a new applicati…See more

In above scenario, we have two options of connecting people:
a.    Individually to a specific user
b.    Connect to a group related to their interest.
Now, as a PM, I would like to prioritize my case because the above two scenarios would require different features on the application.
When I think about my target customers, they are people that are interested in connecting with strangers over social media that have similar interest. If I put myself in their shoes, I am less likely to actually engage in an outdoor activity when I am a part of a group of unknown people for mainly below reasons:
a.    No proper communication between two individuals that creates less of a personal communication.
b.    I might not be comfortable with meeting 10 new faces at a time compared to engaging with 1 or 2 individual.
c.    There are chances of miscommunication when many people are involved. Also it might be difficult to get so many people together to agree on a time and date.
So, for above reasons, I am going to prioritize my application development based on people connecting with individual users with similar interests.
Now, I will provide my recommendations around the scope of potential solutions:
1)    When a user is on our application, the key thing for us is to identify their area of interests. There are multiple ways to do this:
a.    Ask our users to manually input this data on our application when creating their profile. This might be overhead work for them and could result in abandonment of the process.
b.    Enable users to link their other social media accounts such as Facebook or Twitter. We can then gather data about their interest in the following manner:
i.    From the users profile
ii.    Use AI to scan through users posts, pictures and activities to identify interests.
2)    When a user is scrolling through a profile, we would want to show pictures of the other person engaging in that particular activity. This can again be done in multiple ways:
a.    User creates different albums for different interests with pictures of them doing that activity. We can then use the pictures from these albums. For example, if I am interested in bowling and reading books, I have two separate albums. Now the person looking at my profile is interest in bowling, so the application picks up pictures from my bowling album and displays it.
b.    Develop an AI that can extract pictures from other linked social media accounts of the user based on the interest.
3)    Once the individual users are connected on the application, we can provide following to increase engagement:
a. links of things to do based on their mutual interests, guide them to the website. Provide feedback and comments from other users who have done this activity.
b. Provide discounts and coupons if they go ahead with the booking.
c. Share pictures and experience of other users who tried out that activity using out application.
d. a points program where they earn loyalty /engagement points for doing the activities. This could lead up to users getting into an elite category. Once a customer in elite category, they are likely to get more requests from people.

Now, for me all the above recommendations are significant in terms of increasing user engagement, but in order to build a MVP, I would like to make tradeoffs based on customer impact and cost of implementation.

a.    Manually enter data – customer impact – low, cost of implementation – low. This could be a problem for us as many people nowdays do not prefer to spend time on adding data to their profiles. Could lead to losing users at this point in the journey.
b.    Link account to facebook, twitter- customer impact – high, cost of implementation – low. It is not uncommon for applications nowdays to connect to various social media platforms. For example, we can use facebook connect. This would not only make it easier for our customers but would also enable us to leverage facebook’s world class collection of data. One of the problems could be that facebook does not agree to do provide any data on the customer.
a.    Different albums for different interests – customer impact – med, cost of implementation – low. The only downside to this is that customers might not like spending time on manually uploading pictures.
b.    AI tool – customer impact – high, cost of implementation – high. Our customer would just love the fact that we pick their best pictures from across platforms and display it for them. Downside is that many social media platforms might not agree to provide access to their data. Creating an AI tool would be very expensive.
3)    Customer impact – high, cost of implementation – low. We provide customer with more incentives by providing discount coupons/ loyalty points. We can also charge third party websites for providing links to their websites. I do not see any downside to this as long as we provide trusted partners links.

So as a PM for this product, my MVP would be an application that enables quick registration using facebook connect and allows for different albums based on interests. We provide our users with incentives to engage in activities using our platform.

Thanks for posting your answer. There are lots of good features / solutions listed. I have some feedback on the structure of your answer:

– I suggest you segment the user to multiple persona’s based on the main problem you’re solving for – connecting people with similar interests / hobbies. Example: segment based on frequency of connection, types of interests / hobbies, purpose of connection, etc. This gives you an opportunity to think about very specific needs / use cases that relate to the particular persona you’re building a product for.

– Your use cases / needs and features are a bit mixed together in one step. In the step where you’re listing use cases, you’re not solving yet. You’re just listing out the key needs of a particular persona. Examples of these needs are: they need to find people with similar interests, they need to be able to join a group with similar interests, they need an ice breaker to make it easier for them to join the group, there will also be use cases that are specific to the persona you’ve

– Only after you’ve listed the needs, you go to the next step, prioritizing the use cases and then listing out the solutions / features.

– I would also word the solutions in a way that it’s super clear to the interviewer how a solution / feature is solving for a need that was highlighted earlier. You do this well because solutions and needs are currently in one section. During the interview process however, you should separate these two sections and still make it clear to the interviewer how a feature is solving for a particular need you’ve highlighted.

– After listing out the solutions, you will do the evaluation and decide which features will make it to the MVP.

I’m going to publish an article that goes over “how to answer a product design question” soon. Stay tuned.
0 votes

First some Questions to better understand the problem statement.1. Is the goal to build an app the connect people with similar interests? Yes.1. Step 1: Identify the usera. I would split the user demographics …See more

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I would first ask what we are designing. Is it a mobile app, Facebook app, website, etc? Let’s say the interviewer says I can chose the form of the product. I’ll go with a Facebook app.I would also…See more

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