Designing a professional networking app from scratch

Koffee is a mix of Tinder and LinkedIn. It began when my team all had the same dilemma: We wanted to meet more professionals without being creepy.

We met at Startup Weekend, a two-day hackathon, and quickly got to work.

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Validation

I sketched out some wireframes and turned them into a working prototype using an app called POP (Prototyping on Paper).

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We emailed the prototype to 40 people and surveyed them. We asked them if:
A) they honestly would use this app in real life, and
B) if they had suggestions.

Over half said that they would use the app, which—remember, this was a hackathon—was the validation we needed to start building.

Building MVP

I rebuilt the wireframe prototype in Illustrator to quickly iterate as we tested.

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Once the interaction design was smooth, I sketched out the branding and color palette to set the tone.

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Then, I created the high-res mocks.

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I exported all of the assets and paired with the iOS developer to implement everything.

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We didn't win the hackathon, but we decided to continue to build out Koffee anyways.

I created a casual little tutorial to help onboard new users.

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What we learned

Once we launched it on the App Store, we realized that there were a lot of competing Tinder-meets-LinkedIn apps that were farther along, and that it would be a good idea to pivot. So, we began building Ping.