It takes two to tango
Finding a ballroom dance partner that matches your skill, dedication, and schedule is hard to find. Inspired by the frustrations expressed by the collegiate ballroom community in partner search, I set out to create an online ballroom partner search app.
|Hard to find a dance partner||Dancers avoid using current websites because they are "sketchy", some use Facebook groups for partner search||Online partner search app|
I explored what the core features and functionality of the app would be. Getting early input from the ballroom comnunity, it was clear the need of finding and meeting new dancers was most unaddressed, and that became the focus.
I tackled usability next -- making sure that first and foremost the user can achieve their goal of finding someone to dance with using DANCR in the most seamless and intuitive experience possible. For that reason I wanted users to immediately be able to use DANCR upon first download, and only introduce the onboarding / sign up process if a user wants to message a dancer.
Beginning to design the layout and visual aspects of the screens.
In pursuit of the best way to search and filter partner profiles, I conducted A/B user testing on the merits of a one screen filter vs. a two step filter. While the one screen version had a more beautiful form and one less click, the two step version actually took less time for users to understand how to use and was more functional.
I also explored countless layouts for the home screen and the menu bar. I believe strongly in designing for a purpose, and the purpose here was to make it as easy and unoffensive for a new user to become familiar and comfortable with the app, while still communicating the core functionality of partner search.
High-fidelity mockups were coded into a native smartphone prototype that was used for further usability testing and pitching to USA Dance, the national governing body of ballroom dance in the US. The takeaway from this exploration seemed to be that there is a a market demand for such a product. However, due to the nature of the small niche market of ballroom dancing, we may need to explore the viability in terms of cost-benefit.