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dating in 'analog'

the adult version of 'hit the pot'

Best of both worlds:
With a combination of digital technology, and old school dating, we enable users to a new, innovative dating experience, in their analog, social life. It works with basic bluetooth technology, and drastically reduced screen time.

context
More and more often, initial interpersonal contact takes place in the digital space rather than in the real world. The project connects people in reality and gets them off the screen.

time, course
project duration: 1 semester
course: Interface 2
semester: 4th in 2019/20

research
Besides the fundamental dating behavior of humans in different cultures and ages, our scope was focused on the dating behavior of digital natives.

In our research, we surveyed 91 potential users, about their dating life with questions:

* What are the factors when it comes to partner selection?
* What factors determine affection or aversion?
* What are preferred places to meet a potential partner?

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After generating insights, the most important question for us was:
How can we integrate all these factors, without being like Tinder, Bumble and so on?

Beside the survey we used a morphological box to collect the various features of the project. Here we summarised everything from the possible technology, user communication, properties and signals through to the application purposes. What was interesting here was the huge range of options for our project.

usecase
We made multiple usecases for different scenarios of dating: while shopping, at a bistro, as well as going out with the peer group. For us, the use case with the peer group is of highest priority, because nearly one quarter of the people surveyed stated that their relationship started off by being outside with their friends.

This puts the circle of friends with 21% in second place in the ranking, directly after the Internet (Tinder, etc.) with 30%.

At this point in the process, we know that the application should operate secretly, and at best, fit to the every day life situations.

concept
In order to realise the idea, we looked for classic devices that people always have with them in order to reinterpret them with our application beside that we formulated principles that served as guidelines for our concept:

* The application should operate in the background
* No distraction from the real world
* People should not be labelled way too quickly
* Dating is a can, not a must
* Connect people, not provide a 100% perfect fit

After ongoing intense and iterative research, discussion, and concept building, we were happy to determine our concept. The underlaying idea of this concept is based on the classic „hit the pot“ game. But instead of a blindfolded, searching being, who is guided trough „it’s getting colder/warmer“-calls, there are two searching people. They will be guided by the vibration of their smartphone or smartwatch, in to the direction of the other one.

A path breaking discovery for this concept, was the BLE Scanner Application. With this application, it was possible, to measure out the distance between every commercial smart device per bluetooth. In conclusion: It was possible, to navigate towards a chosen destination.

This is basically the Covid-19 Warning-App technology, discovered by us, two years before

prototype details:
To simulate a meeting-scenario without smartphone as good as possible, we created a prototype. For this, we used a ESP 32 microcontroller, with plugged in vibrationmotors - these microcontrollers support BLE (Bluetooth low energy), they fitted perfectly into our profile of requirements.

Bluetooth low energy has a big advantage to GPS or internet: It still works perfectly, without having good mobile signal. This means, its everywhere useable, even in enclosed spaces, below ground, or areas with no mobile signal.

To navigate, both ESP32 microcontroller constantly send out BLE-Signals, to be received from each other. While sending out these signals, they simultaneously scan their surroundings for signals, to locate other ESP32’s (in our case, users). Trough the permanent scan, the stronger getting signal becomes translated into a vibration. So, the closer the ESP32’s get to each other, the vibration gets stronger too. Our goal, to let two users navigate to each other via vibration, was successful.

signals:
We decided to use vibration as the main signal or feedback for the user, as this was the most versatile. The vibration is used in different ways. If there is a match between two users, there is a basic vibration. If the matches get closer, meaning the distance between them decreases, the frequency of the vibration increases. If the matched users move away from each other again during the search, the vibration frequency decreases.

A further differentiation takes place in the quality of the match. If the degree of matching is high, the basic vibration is stronger. The same applies to a lower matching level, where the intensity of the vibration is lower from the start of the search.

the vibration in its versatile way:

application: filter system
In order to be able to apply the filters as dynamically as possible, we developed a differentiation between them. The system is capable of three filter modes. All categories in the filter were derived from the research phase.

It is possible to presave & switch your filter anytime, except of when you started the scan.

*filter 1: open

This filter works without, or one choosen criteria. The focus here is on getting to know each other as openly as possible, without any prior restrictions.

*filter 2: fitted

Allows the user to choose two or three criteria. This is a more specific filter, the user is able to be a little more concrete, on what them are searching.

*filter 3: specific

With this option, it is possible to fill in five or six criteria. With this, a targeted search for the better half, is no problem.
Users do match with each other, if the minimum number of the chosen filter, and the filled in criterias correspond. We presume, that there are more potential matches in your area, the less criteria the user uses. Depending on the users intentions, the filters make it possible to just meet in a platonic way or find the love of their life.
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styleguide
As the goal of the application was, to reduce the screen time drastically, we tried to keep it as simple as possible. Our whole application works with three colors:
Mintgreen #8cccc5: This color is used for your avatar color, and the filters, and the illustrations
Dark grey #575858: You can find this grey in the logo, headlines, text and buttons
Light grey #dadada: Inactive elements are marked in light grey

We decided to use „Roboto“ for our project, because it provides a good readability, while being geometrical, and with its round characteristic, still friendly. Two styles of „Roboto“ were used, bold and regular.

The logo symbolizes two closer coming individuals, with an encounter. Exactly, what our application does. We named it “analog”, because it uses digital features, to empower analog meeting-situations.

final application draft
Below is the final draft of the application from the login process to the final search of the other half.

In this project i mostly conducted insights and fit them with the help of our principles into our concept. After this i took in hand in visualising our concept for the application.

team partner
Robin Bork, Maximilian Walter, Manuel Zeyher

supervised by
Prof. Michael Schuster, Florian Geiselhart

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