A social accountability app with intrinsic motivation features to help student build lasting relationships
UX Designer | UX Researcher
Project Type
IOS App Design | UI/UX Design
16 weeks Jan 2023 - April 2023
Prototypes (Figma), Graphic Design (Photoshop, Illustrations)


💡How might we help college students facilitate and maintain connections between those who meet online, with the goal of eventually building deep bonds offline.


A social accountability app with intrinsic motivation features to help student build lasting relationships

GoalMingle is an app designed to motivate students to step out of their comfort zones and connect with new people by setting personalized goals.


Setting Goals for Intrinsic Motivation System

The app achieves this by matching individuals based on events and activities that align with their interests. To encourage intrinsic motivation, the app offers a goal system to track progress and achievements, allowing users to monitor their growth and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Join Interest-Based Groups and Forge Connections with Like-Minded Individuals

Join interest-based groups to connect with people who share your passions and hobbies. Whether you're into gardening, gaming, cooking, or any other interest, these groups provide a platform for meaningful interactions and the exchange of ideas. It's an excellent way to make new friends, learn from others, and find a sense of belonging within a community

Create Events and Invite Others to Join for Mutual Motivation

If you can't find a group that aligns with your specific interests, the app allows you to take the initiative to create your own events and invite others to join.


We employed an iterative design process using several UX Research and Design methods

01. Define

- Social Media Mining
- Competitive analysis

02. Empathize

- Interviews
- Personas

03. Synthesize

- Storyboards
- QOC Analysis
- Wire framing

04. Prototype

- Low/High fidelity prototype

05. Validate

- User Testing

"How Might We" Statements


We used a series of HMW statements to frame the problem space

Our design process started by defining our problem statement and targeted users, we used “How Might We” statements to frame the design challenges and generate ideas for possible solutions to the problem. 
We came up with three design proposals. First, is a platform where users are matched based off of date/activity ideas. Users can pitch an activity they want to do, and others can match accordingly. Second is a centralized platform for social activities, gatherings, events, and student orgs. And third is a social accountability app where college students can find accountability partners who can remind them to go out and socialize, with a gamified motivation mechanism where they can give and receive points based on whether or not they completed their goals.

Competitive Analysis

For this study, we choose 5 different competitors ranging from Direct (Bumble Friends, Meetup), Indirect competitor (Discord), Analogous (Linkedin), and Parallel(Hinge). Our goal was to understand how other platforms connect people together and what features are useful to form a successful long-term connection.
We focused on three criteria, how to verify users for privacy and security, how users are being matched, and Finally, we studied the motivational strategies employed by each platform to encourage users to engage in meaningful conversations and establish long-lasting connections.

Insights from Market research

💡 FINDING 01: There are a variety of platforms and apps that offer similar matchmaking services based on profiles, but few specifically focus on activity-based pitches. 
💡 FINDING 02: Common successful social apps features: user profiles for a personalized experience, user verification, matchmaking system to increase the likelihood of connections, messaging/ group features for direct communication, and user feedback and rating.

Need Finding Interviews


To understand the users' perspective we conducted user interviews

In our user interview method, we recruited a diverse sample of 8 participants, including introverts and extroverts, individuals with varying degree levels, genders, and both traditional and nontraditional students as defined by the University of Michigan's Diversity and Research Policy Program.
Our overarching research questions aimed to explore:

💡 How college students meet new people and create friendships

💡 Motivations and challenges faced when building and maintaining online connections

💡 Strategies for establishing trust in online relationships

💡 insights from in-person experiences that could be applied to enhance online social connections.

Insights from Uses Interviews were synthesized using Afinity Diagraming

After conducting the interviews, we utilized affinity diagramming to organize and analyze the collected data, identifying patterns and key insights to inform our design process.


People go to events for different motivations. Extrinsic motivations include rewards and location. Intrinsic motivation include alignment with their interests, personal growth (going out of their comfort zone or learning from others), or trust in the event organizer.


Easy for online connections to die out due to challenges including time constraints, difficulty verifying authenticity, slow online communication, difficulty expressing and interpreting emotions.


Successful connections typically lead to in-person meetings (often repeated). Usually, to establish a successful connection, there needs to be common values, hobbies, and interests to establish a common link and good social dynamics. Long-lasting nature is the essence of a successful connection.

Storyboards as Visualization Tool


Translating pain points into meaningful user-centric design opportunities

We used storyboards to visualize our research findings and help map out our user’s journeys.

Site Mapping


Organized all the design decisions into a cohesive product and established the logical structure of the app prior to prototyping

This allowed me to streamline my thoughts and visually represent the design decisions in an intuitive user flow. By doing so, I was able to avoid the need for significant structural changes once the prototype was developed, saving time and effort.



Designing the user interface of the application

We created a low-fidelity wireframe to visualize the main features of the app, which are onboarding and user verification, goal setting, and user preference from using the app, searching, creating and managing events and how users collect points and achieve goals.


Why? Explain sketching -- add more digital wireframes?


Design Iteration

05. VALIDATE -01

Design iteration to validate our design decisions

For usability testing, we recruited 4 participants from different gender and ages who have varying levels of familiarity with mobile applications that center around creating events and making social connections. 

During the user testing phase, we identified two primary goals:

💡 Gain insights into how users interact with the current prototype, including feedback on layout and functionality during the early design stages

💡 Explore user preferences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation models.

💡 Test the intuitiveness of the onboarding questionnaire.

First Usability Testing

Social Goal Setup


01: Provide more options for goals and frequencies
Don’t know the intention of some questions, like introverted vs extroverted 
A user reported that quantitative social goals might not be very effective, as users could simply attend events without engaging in meaningful interactions. 


01: Added more options for each question and made some questions more straightforward
Added slider to increase flexibility
02: To address the last concern, we decided to switch to a weekly social goal approach. This change encourages users to focus on establishing quality connections rather than just meeting a numerical target.Users can choose different levels of social challenge based on their different level of willingness to get out of their comfort zone. Their social challenge options will also change on a weekly basis based on their goal completion progress.

Home page A/B testing


Users think homepage as exploration is more useful when they are new to the app, then homepage as event management is better when they have used the app for a while.


Recognizing the importance of catering to different user scenarios, we decided to integrate the two versions of the homepage in GoalMingle.

Before - 2 variations of the home page
After - Combined both pages in one
Join event pages


Users needed to see more specific informations about the event highlighted


Created some tags about attendees and events to keep some level of information transparent to prospective attendees


Second Usability Testing

05. VALIDATE -01

Final design feature iteration to insure a seamless user experience

We conducted a second user testing (Multivariate testing) with the same 4 participants from the first one to give us feedback on the final prototype

01. Navigation Bar

  1. 90% of users preferred to access messages from the nav bar since the main reason of the app is to form connection. We moved the goals to the home screen

02. Form Progress Tracker to increase task completion

  1. By dividing the end goal into smaller sub-tasks we can keep the user on track when setting their goals

03. Information Hierarchy  

  1. Our users' safety is a priority. We moved the name and profile of the even's organizer at the top of the page where it's noticeable.

Final Design


High-Fidelity Prototype

Registration, verification pages
Goal setup, and personalization process
Event search and details
Event management
Event creation page


Ideation and sketching storyboards helped me developed a lot of key features that I would not have included if I started with designing high-fidelity prototypes
One of the key learnings from this project is gaining a comprehensive

understanding of the end-to-end product design process, which involves thoroughly researching the problem space, empathizing with the user, and crafting a high-fidelity prototype that effectively addresses the user's needs.

The app can be more secure and efficient if it was connected to a private transportation service and users can directly schedule their rides


📌 Through user interviews and research, we were able to narrow down the proposed solutions to better address the challenges of meeting new people, such as attending events for personal growth and establishing successful connections based on shared interests and values.

📌 Initially, we considered offering external rewards, such as free gifts or exclusive access to features, to motivate users to use the app and attend events. However, we ultimately decided to focus on intrinsic motivation by allowing users to set goals and earn rewards based on their own achievements and growth.

📌 To ensure the privacy and security of our users, we decided to limit sign-ups to only students with university email addresses, allowing us to verify their identities and provide a safe and trusted environment for our users.