Connecting people through Levity
LuMos is a meme based social media platform that attempts to connect people through humour and levity. It aims at building a space that is only about memes, where users can find, share, save and enjoy memes with their social circles.
1 Senior Product Designer (Me),
1 Junior Product Designer, 5 App Developers, 1 Product Manager
(Android + iOS)
High Fidelity Design
To kick off the research and find insights about the Meme-y behavior of users I used one of the oldest tools out of my toolbox. I talked to the users. I posted on different social media channels. Memers responded to me in their own unique way.
For the interview my aim was to understand the mindset of users while interacting with MEMEs in general. So I identified my target group as social media users who use Memes and GIFs in conversations. I divided my questions into four different topics - about their current usage and outlook towards different social media platforms, about how they found, browsed, and used memes, about their sharing of memes, and finally about their conversations involving Memes. My methods were based on talking about their most recent experiences, asked them to remember when and where they came across memes in the last week, and took my conversation ahead from there. From time to time I asked them to open their phone and show me the context in which a particular MEME was used. I believe asking users about real experiences rather than their thoughts gives more useful insights about what they actually need rather than what they think they need. I got a lot of interesting feedback from a lot of users.
“Memes are very contextual. I have a meme slack channel in office, a WhatsApp group with friends, another group with college friends, and I always share different Memes with different people.”
Dae Young Kim
“I get all my news from Memes. When I want news I check out memes, when I want jokes, I check out the news.”
Software Developer & Meme Enthusiast
User Experience Designer
To kick off the research and find insights about the Meme-y behavior of users I used one of the oldest tools out of my toolbox. I talked to the users. My aim was to understand the mindset of users while interacting with MEMEs in general. So I identified my target group as social media users who use Memes and GIFs in conversations.
Need to create memes quickly
All the users I interviewed were using different platforms to create new memes. Though some were using other meme editor apps, most were not able to create what they wanted through other apps. Some users even used tools like paint, Instagram to create tools. This made me realize the need for a better-unified meme creator tool.
Finding new and trending memes
The source of most memes for users were either Reddit, or other Meme apps. But they were not able to share memes on these platforms as their friends and family members were not on those platforms.
Specific memes for specific people
One of the biggest use cases of memes was the ability to share memes within one’s social network. Memes usually are very contextual so people like sharing them with particular users. Like office memes with coworkers, college memes with your college friends, etc. Because of this, it became clear that there was a need to have groups on the platform through which users can share memes.
Smartly store/collect memes
Another interesting thing that came up was that during interviews when I asked users to show me a particular meme, they took a lot of time in finding it. It seems that people store most memes as screenshots or in random places without storing it. It gave me the idea to create a kind of meme collection for users, a sharable link that they can show to other people as their ”meme resume.”
Well, to be honest, there are a lot of meme apps already out there and a LOT of social media giants in play. To be sure that our app would be a success, we had to study all these products and figure out what exactly the users liked and disliked about each one of them. After some preliminary research about the different types of apps out there, I categorized them into 2 main categories and 2 subcategories. The main categories were social media apps and meme-based apps. The subcategories were major players and emerging revolutionary startups. Then I analyzed companies in each category and subcategory based on user needs that align with our own user needs.
Category 1: Social Media major players
Instagram: Users on Instagram share and consume memes, but they coexist with other content. Instagram stories and editors allow users to create new content, but users prefer creating memes in other apps. The major source of memes is meme pages, which users follow and share. Users sometimes tag other friends to share the context with them or add comments, but this activity is limited.
Category 2: Social Media emerging players
TikTok: A video-sharing app in which users create and share short videos. Creating new videos is very easy and one of the most important features. Users can follow other content creators, so it becomes easy to find topics of interest. It is focused on community building, so users also have friends and family on the app and can share content directly with them. There is no direct way to create a group, hence the content shared is public.
Category 3: Meme App major players
Reddit: Definitely the top source of memes online. Users post tons of content in all formats – text, images, video. There are subreddits that are focused on more specific topics. There is good community engagement and people often engage in follow up conversations on different topics through comments. However, users here are mostly anonymous so there is no sense of personal or social groups of people that you know. Content shared is specific to the broad subreddit or the community in which it is shared and is meant for a large crowd. People don’t usually engage in one on one or small personal chats here.
9Gag: Another big source of memes. Users post image and video-based content. There are categories in which content is sorted, but no groups. Users are anonymous and share content publicly. Users do not engage in personal or social conversations with their private groups but do engage in conversations over the content shared through comments.
Category 4: Meme App emerging players
Whale: This Facebook backed startup focuses on community-based meme sharing. Only users from specific colleges can create accounts and then would be automatically added to their college group. It has the ability to create and share memes. Since users share common interests, the memes are also highly contextual and help in community building. However, creating new subgroups or bringing other users from outside that community is not possible.
Thinking of Solutions
Based on the interviews, we were able to create 2 personas to represent our target audience.
Now more educated after the research phase and armed with great insights, I invited our PM and a couple of senior developers to put our heads together and do some virtual whiteboarding (multidisciplinary team has the best ideas). Our aim was to brainstorm different ideas and then prioritize and decide what we wanted to go ahead with. We spent a series of sessions to come up with some really interesting ideas and then decided what we are going to start building.
[some snippets from our initial brainstorming discussions]
The whiteboarding gave way to some amazing ideas. I picked them up started planning the next steps. My immediate next step was to design a user flow map of how the user would go about using this product.
Design! Design! Design!
After the completion of the ideation phase, it was time to put some of those ideas to paper. So I went ahead and created some low fidelity wireframes to get a better idea of how I visualized some of the screens. Below, I've added some of the initial screens.
The Lumos Design System
Like the designer friend of Uncle Ben once said, with great design too comes great responsibility. And with great responsibility comes the requirement of a great design system. Tada! The Lumos design system is based on the principles of Atomic design, with colors, types, shapes, and effects building up the first stage or the Atoms. The elements of the second stage use those atoms to build molecules which were components and states. All the molecules only comprised of atoms. The third stage was made of more complex components that were made up of atoms and molecules. Finally, the last stage comprised of pages, which were combinations of multiple molecules.