For four years I was the UX-UI and brand creative director/strategist at GaydarGirls leading the UX and creative teams.
I did the creative strategy for their UK and European market, their re-branding and re-design for all print and digital material, iOS, Android apps, blog and website.
We started with a team of five members, two developers, one designer, one user experience researcher and a social media/content manager. I evolved the team from five to ten people growing to three developers, three designers, one content and blog writer, one social media manager, one information architect and a user experience designer.
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 we compiled a set of user stories and evidence-based personas. The documents were presented to the creative, development and marketing teams.
The first ideas were recorded on paper with a series of sketches, those evolved soon after to wireframes and paper prototypes. I presented the prototypes to the stakeholders and team members, I gathered some feedback and soon after the iterations were made.
We opted for a lean approach emphasising rapid design mockups.
Working in this environment allowed us to quickly implement some User Interface ideas, make a quick prototype, test it, gather some feedback from active and non active users, make iterations and start the cycle all over again when it was needed.
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 over a period of 4 years to find if the evolving changes on the interface were intuitive, the colours and creative material for the new branding were appealing 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.
As a dating product used by millions of users worldwide 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.
GaydarGirls had a great opportunity to stand out from a saturated market where all lesbian dating products were managed by men and did not fit the women’s specifications.
The previous images and marketing campaigns were out-dated, distasteful and no longer served the new strategy and/or the new direction. The creative vision was to have a more editorial outlook where a younger demographic could be related to. Bright, bold colours with images that not longer focus on fantasy scenarios but on relationships, friendships, community and everyday situations.
I commissioned Louie Banksfor the new photoshoot to achieve a more editorial, younger and fresher look. For the design approach we created a new colour palette maintaining the iconic green that characterise GaydarGirls, 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. An impressive presence at Mardi Grass Australia was well received where the initial launch was made back in 2014.
Overall the new creative strategy and digital products (web and mobile) were pleasantly received in the UK, Europe and Australia making it a great success and constantly increasing revenue.
Some examples of the whole strategy (photo-shoot, website, app and blog) as follows:
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