Before App

In 2020, the social market is gradually segmented, proving that vertical social apps are an inevitable trend in the development of social networking. This story is about how I built a new social product for Kuaishou, which is aimed at individualized young people.

My Role

I'm part of a two-person design team responsible for the experience strategy and design of iOS and Android apps. From November 2019 to July 2020, I participated in the UX, UI and branding design of the product, produced all major deliverables and launched them on the market.

The Challenge
2 Apps in 3 Months

Our company approached us with two main objectives - to establish a stylish and useful App, beyond the competitors; and to promote active users in the market. In order to keep pace with the competitors in the market, our team was under great pressure to move fast. Our mission was to deliver high-fidelity iPhone and Android prototypes on behalf of Kwai within three months. Fixed deadlines, app store submission times, security testing, and usability testing meant I had to get the experience right within two months.

The Approach
Focusing on Users

Although our goal is to eventually seize the social product market and acquire the most users, we must pay close attention to our core user needs for the first version and seize our first batch of users.
In order to stand out in a mature and highly competitive market, we need to define an ideal role for the application and how it meets the needs of planned users. We are very happy to have the opportunity to create something more meaningful.

Learn about Each One

This is not just to understand the working habits of the team members for better cooperation, but to find colleagues who are consistent with the target users of the project and communicate with them to quickly understand the ideas of the target users when the project time is limited.

Ensure Consistent Goals

Before starting user research and design, organizing several meetings to discuss the positioning and goals of the product with all the team members to ensure that everyone's understanding of the product is correct and consistent.

Agile Product Development

We design the scheme on Figma, because Figma can synchronize the code of the design scheme to the developers in real time, so we can quickly communicate with the technical limitations in the development process to promote the project to move forward more quickly.

Fast Iteration

After launching the MVP version, we invited 40 target users to experience our product and give their real feedback. Before launched in market, we conducted a total of four internal user tests, and we conducted different degrees of rapid iteration on the product according to the results of each test.

The Discovery
What Does ‘Social’ Mean to You?

The discovery phase was a quick, high‐intensity effort that allowed us to define project milestones, audit the existing work, review the competitor landscape, understand our user's vision, and begin research into user needs, behaviours and pain‐points. Our research revealed that the concept of 'social' represented something different to users of the scheme. Users' motivations for social and participating in the community differed, hinting at different requirements.

After designating persona types and aligning this with our phasing strategy we were able to prioritise who we would be focusing on supporting in the early stages. The phase 1 app focused on supporting the goals of Eva and Paul, our primary personas. We used personas constantly throughout the project to guide design decisions, priorities, and create empathy amongst the user and our team.

Through careful analysis of our research, we have identified enough behavioral variables to segment our user audience. These variables can be categorized as activities, such as the frequency of using social media, motivation of using social media, and the confidence to play the audience or the performer.
We discussed the persona in our team to clearly understand the target demographic of the application design in phase 1 and later versions.

User Interview

We conducted a range of interviews with target users and dive deeper to people's opinions on social media. These multiples ideas helped to quickly gain insights into the needs of our users and gave us a concrete understanding of the user experience and workflows.
The survey data shows that about 40% of the interviewed mobile social users focus on the content, simplicity and activity of the product when choosing social products, followed by the interactivity of the product, the scale of users and their user’s attributes. The quality of the content in the product is the key to attracting users, and the user’s activity in the community and active communication willingness are the keys to increasing user stickiness. At the same time, the product design is too complex and the interaction method is too single or cumbersome will lead to the loss of users.

Visualized the End‐to‐End

We used experience mapping techniques to visualise and communicate the users end-to-end experience across various touch-points with the scheme. This allowed us to represent user pain-points and see where we needed to focus on our attention. Mapping user emotions is key to setting client expectations for the ideal emotional state we aim to design for.

The Vision
The Young Culture Community

Although social products on the market focus on making users more closely connected, our vision is to help users gain a sense of belonging and identity in the community, and let users feel relaxed and free. We want to be a gathering place and exchange place for young culture.


Our main priority in the early stages is to focus on the main user goals. Our first priority - strip the core of the App and focus on usability and individuality.


In addition to the obvious features, we also see an opportunity to create a deep emotional connection with our users. Our vision is to create a honest, user-friendly App.


Our products should give users a sense of belonging and identity. Every user here is encouraged to actively express their attitude and build their own social circle.

The Requirement
More than MVP

From the beginning of the research stage, we began to think about how to highlight our uniqueness in the highly competitive social product market, allowing users to discover and stay. The answer is emotion. A product can only obtain the first batch of most loyal users when it completes the transmission of emotions, the connection of emotions, and the sharing of emotions.

The Framework
Setting the Design Direction

We took a top‐down approach to defining the overall structure of the experience. Sketching and storyboarding, I generated stacks of ideas about the arrangement of UI, functional and data elements, and interactive behaviours. Starting broad, our vision began evolving into something tangible. A high‐level design language, interactions and the app's anatomy began to piece together.

Once the main interface was approved and discussed with our product manager, I built the App's information architecture and then completed the rest of the functional page design based on it.

After the basic function page of the product was completed and before the official launch, we conducted four internal user tests to collect feedback from real users and fully prepare for the launch. During internal testing, we focus on the following issues:

Due to confidentiality and proprietary information agreements, internal test results and data are kept confidential and cannot be released publicly. Based on the test results, we optimized the usage logic and content classification of the app.

Design Language

The final visual effect is a young, relaxed character as the main body, expressed in contrasting colors of black and white and gray, conveying the trendy sense of the brand's style and creating a young, fashionable picture visual.

Detail Design
Introducing... Before App
Convey Attitude Fast

The home screen is designed to give users quick access to the interesting content of the app. The ‘post’ icon is highlighted to encourage users to show their attitude. Once the user clicks on the "like" icon, the status will change to a green lightning bolt, which is a special interaction design in our product.

Don’t Make Me Think

Through user research, we found that most users spend a lot of time thinking about what to browse. We provide the latest KOL ranking and topic ranking on the search page, so users can learn about the most popular content.

Home Sweet Home

In our product, I want the message page to be not just a boring notification feature page, but the user's "home" in the product. Here, users can see both public interactive messages and private chat messages, and the importance of features is determined by the user.

Learn a Little More

On the user's profile, we want to show more information about the user's preferences, so that users can get to know each other and find friends with the same preferences.

The Impact
Customer Satisfaction and Company Recognition

Due to commercial constraints, I present my design impact from a qualitative analysis perspective. According to the feedback of existing users on the product, more than 90% of users like the style of the product, which is in line with their impression of the young social community. In addition, in the evaluation of our products by our company management, our design section received the highest score.

What I Learned
A Meaningful Journey

· Only base on the analysis of user research can we design a product that users really enjoyed.
· Good design is a sweet point of business, technology and users.
· Make it work, then make it perfect.

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