For four years I was the UX-UI and brand director/strategist at Gaydar leading the UX and creative teams.
I did the creative strategy for their worldwide market (South Africa, Germany, France, Spain, UK, USA and Brazil), their re-branding and re-design for all print and digital material, iOS, Android apps, blog and website.
I was faced with two major challenges, one was to leverage a brand that was already damaged and the second challenge was to attract a new, younger market. To accomplish it I needed to create digital products appealing to this new market, in order to achieve this I established a new brand and creative strategy implementing fresh designs to use in their marketing, events, new apps, a blog and Gaydar’s responsive design website.
I partnered with James Chapman to produce a set of interviews and questionnaires to execute culture specific research and uncover user’s needs within the dating world. We uncovered and translated the answers and compared them to other dating brands.
With all the information from our research we compile a document with all our key findings to share the information with the rest of the team and stakeholders.
The UX strategy was defined after the user journeys and user’s engagement levels, with the brand and the product, were pinpointed.
We amended the vision document to fit all our findings and soon after we created a paper prototype to present our findings to stakeholders and other team members (designers, developers and marketing executives).
We opted for a lean approach emphasising rapid sketching, prototyping, user feedback and design mockups.
Working in this environment allowed us to quickly implement some User Interface elements into the first glimpse of the look and feel, make a prototype (the first prototype that we made was a paper prototype), test it, gather some feedback, make iterations then start the cycle all over again.
Using this methodology taught me that making errors in the process was the best way to learn. The advantage was to be able to quickly amend those errors in the prototype and pass it to the next round of testing. Working this way we built team trust and transparency creating a strong sense of ownership across different disciplines. Everyone felt they were equally involved and communication was key. That transparency rippled down onto the top layers of the organization and stakeholders.
While building a product constant focus groups and user testing need to be done regularly, the findings and feedback needs to be implemented till the product is ready to be launch.
I led a series of focus groups to find if the interface was intuitive, the colours and creative material for the new branding were appealing to this new audience and the new product features were innovative enough to invest time and money in them.
The findings were always documented and presented to the stakeholders and the rest of the team members.
Gaydar is a product used by millions of users worldwide, therefore a strong coordination had to be established from early stages. I made sure all communication was verbalised daily through Agile and Scrum methods so every department knew what other departments were doing and no overlapping occurred.
Gaydar had to be caught up to the ways of the 21st century dating where being gay is no longer a taboo. The previous images were out-dated, distasteful and no longer served the new strategy and/or the new target market. The creative vision was to have a more editorial outlook where the younger demographic could be related to. Bright, bold colours with images that not longer focus on fantasy scenarios but on relationships, friendships and everyday situations.
For the images we commissioned Louie Banks for the new shoot to achieve a more editorial, younger and fresher look. For the design approach we created a new colour palette, less pastel and a more vibrant, uncluttered logo to reflect the youth and upbeat of the re-brand. The creative vision matched the new design for the blog, apps and the responsive website. On the marketing and advertising material the new approach went down very well making a great impact through out the North American launch and the Australian Mardi Grass.
Overall the new creative strategy was pleasantly received in every market making it a great success in lifting the brand.
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