It's a Friday night and you and your friends are visiting Seattle for the weekend. Interested in going out for drinks, you wish you had a way to figure out where the hot spots are for tonight without having to visit each bar in person. SOMA will tell you where the crowd currently is and where it's headed for the night.
For my engineering Capstone project, my team and I designed and produced a high-fidelity prototype of our idea SOMA, or the Social Mapping Project. SOMA allows you to quickly visualize social density to make decisions on nightlife plans. find suggestions on places to go based on mood and venue details, and revisit favorite spots and access their current information.
When our team began the capstone process, we recognized that we were not looking to solve a problem, but to improve a common human experience. Our goal is to redesign the nightlife experience for young adults. Through the SOMA application, we hope to help people discover the best places to be, anytime, anywhere, through social density mapping. As young adults ourselves, we have often struggled with deciding where to go out for the night, whether we are in Seattle, or exploring a new city. Crowded venues can be desirable to some who enjoy meeting new people and exploring popular places, but they can be undesirable to others who would prefer to find a quieter place while also avoiding lines. SOMA recognizes both types of nightlife enthusiasts, and hopes to serve as a decision-making tool for each group.
With a design idea firmly in place at the beginning of the quarter, we began our work with competitor research. Our team identified market gaps in current applications and were able to finalize and agree upon the aspects of SOMA that would set it apart from competitors: general populus, anonymity, and location history. From there we moved onto sketching and storyboarding, wireframing, and low-fidelity prototyping. We then conducted user testing and used our results to finalize design and develop a working high-fidelity prototype.
Our final product redesigns the nightlife decision-making process by providing three key features. The first is a map view that allows users to quickly see population densities at nightlife venues. Percent occupancy and color allow for rapid interpretation and decision making. Our second feature is an explore page that gives venue suggestions based on the user’s mood and venue details. Third, we included a favorites page so SOMA users can quickly access and revisit favorite spots. Bringing these three features together we created an efficient and fun decision making tool for nightlife goers of all types.