It’s no secret that the dating field has changed drastically within the last decade. By now, we have all either experienced an online dating horror story, or know someone who has. That is why our client crowded decided to bring some quality and human connection back into the online dating space.
The problem is, how do you connect people and bring trust back into the scary world of online dating? Well, crowded was on a mission to solve this problem, and we were on a mission to communicate their vision!
We knew we would need to define a brand new model for connecting people, using all the benefits afforded to us by a digital service. Our design would have to create an incredible user experience that felt anything but transactional. The brand itself needed to foster a personal connection to customers to garner repeat usage. In other words – this had to be good!
To guarantee success, we took a customer-first approach at every stage of our work with crowded. It was important to understand their vision intimately so that we could help bring it to life. We also set out to understand the needs of the user as they navigate a tricky playfield, and seek a convenient, safe and accessible dating environment that fits their lifestyle.
Then, using our findings, we set out on a mission to design a holistic experience that complements the users’ desires and behaviors.
I. ART DIRECTION
A new precedent for capturing and creating real connections.
The ambition of our initial work with crowded was to turn the principles behind the growing brand into a cohesive visual language. In the midst of a hookup culture, how do you create the visual experience of falling in love? (Not that kind of visual experience – that site has already been invented.)
In developing the brand’s art direction, we wanted to incorporate the feeling of a tactile quality through insightful photography, clean design, and an optimistic, romantic tone.
We were inspired by the fact that crowded set a new precedent for the quality of connections between people and experience in the quick hookup culture defined by Tinder. The art direction needed to focus on and curate the FEEELING and EXPERIENCE one has when falling in love and making a genuine connection. (Again, don’t even go there. Impure thoughts!)
Building personalization into every touchpoint.
With crowded, our goal was to blend the best of in-person dating experience with the emerging efficiencies of digital design to create an incredible user experience at every customer touchpoint. After all, digitalization has changed every part of our lives, why shouldn’t it benefit us in creating meaningful interactions?
We achieved this by rethinking the entire technological infrastructure and building a native iOS application from ground up. This meant that we could dictate and promote a more meaningful interaction between two users. For instance, users couldn't go on a date until they had video called for at least 20 minutes.
This new ecosystem allowed crowded the ability to adapt and fit the needs of its growing business while simultaneously satisfying customer needs. It has since inspired a new model of service that spans across both physical and digital spaces.
Increasing conversion through deeper relationships.
Thanks to a new desktop platform and mobile app, online dating increased from representing a single-digit share of business to almost one third. From here, we worked to enhance the digital dating experience even more and enable deeper engagement between the brand and its customers. We knew that forging this kind of meaningful relationship would also results in an increase in digital conversion.
So we focused our efforts on fostering loyalty by building more intimate, personal relationships with each customer. We wanted to deliver more than just a smooth online experience, but a more human and personal experience of being cared for. We reached this goal by developing a genuine understanding of each customer’s needs and behaviors, so we could proactively curate a personalized crowded experience.
IV. UX & PRODUCT DESIGN
A systematic design language that married strategy and user experience.
We were able to translate the strategy into a delightful digital product that allowed our prioritized features to manifest a real connection between the individual and their new crush. In other words, we played cupid!
We made it easy to open up boundaries of communication. For example, personalized homepages enabled quick replies and a personalized greeting based on the users name and preferences.
From there, we designed a unique system that ensured the experience was fluid and frictionless across touchpoints and breakpoints. The end result was a language that unified visual design, branding, interaction, and motion.
In the end, by prioritizing true human connection, we were able to bring the feeling of security and trust back into the online dating equation. We like to think our crowded success story as just the beginning of the many success stories for all those seeking love on the platform.