Telling Real Stories Behind Memories
Our memories shape who we are - comprising our stories, identities, and what we have done. Losing memories due to age “can represent a loss of self,” according to Harvard Health Publishing on memories.
Morgan Barense, Ph.D., Professor and Canada Research Chair Max and Gianna Glassman Endowed Chair in Neuropsychology, showed a strong connection between missing memories and diminished emotional well being. “Positive reminiscence is linked to all sorts of good outcomes in terms of emotional well-being.” A study by the Florida State University on the connection between their sense of purpose and the richness of their memories found that personal memories “help us to set goals, control emotions, and build intimacy with others, as well as “help people to sustain their well-being, social connections, and cognitive health.”
Given the great benefits of creating memories, there is not a platform that encourages people to make “creating memories” a part of their daily routine and motivates them to live, experience, and tell their stories.
Despite the many benefits social media platforms have to offer, research has shown the impact of increased peer pressure and the need to conform and fit in among people, especially among teenagers and young adults. The question is, “How can we create a platform where the users can tell their stories in the most authentic ways without having to add filters or spend two hours coming up with a caption because they need to be considered “cool, fun, etc.” for their audience?”
After conducting secondary research, such as gaining insights from research articles and performing a competitive analysis of current products on the market, we understood more about the context and the growing need for ways to connect better with others. We conducted user interviews to gather more user insights and understand what our users' pain points are.
From our interviews, we discovered the following user pain points:
After consolidating the qualitative data from our user interviews and seeing patterns through affinity mapping, we noticed the main theme of motivation as a topic that came up consistently among our users. There needs to be intentionality behind the decision to initiate and create new memories with other people. Based on this feedback, we decided to focus on the storytelling of memories since our users emphasized greatly how they enjoy talking about and sharing the stories behind past memories with their loved ones.
This feedback allowed us to create a product that encourages users to consistently tell and share their stories behind a chosen memory.
The following are the focus points for the MVP:
Iterative Design Learnings
After we showcased our prototype to users, we learned that:
From the user feedback, we made new changes to our design to ensure that we create the best user experience in our MVP.
The following are the design changes:
Where is it hosted? Vercel (Front-end) and Heroku (API + Database)
What is your tech stack? Ruby on Rails and Next.js
High level journey of a request: Our product utilizes our in-house API for both authentication and other requests (saving a new memory, fetching all memories). This makes it very reliable and easy to monitor/update and responses are typically delivered between 100ms to 2s
What was the hardest part of development? Translating some of the UI designs into actual code. There were certain functionalities that required learning new tools and methods.
Does your app have any scaling issues? None for now, our cloud storage for storing images currently has a 25GB monthly limit, which would be enough for hundreds of users because we limit our users to have one image entry per memory and a size limit of 10mb
What are some key takeaways? Working in a team requires patience, constant learning, and openness to feedback
We will be continuing the project, and the goal is to launch the product (version 1) by the end of 2022.
Once the MVP is finished, we will regroup and discuss feasible features we can develop in the next two months.
I learned to manage the resources within the team and prioritize the workload so we can deliver the product on time while making sure everyone enjoys doing what they are tasked with. I also learned to think like a product manager - asking myself and team members critical questions (why questions) to better understand the product and prioritize the product features we are building.
I learned that I should always ask for help from my team to drive collaboration and product development faster. Communicating my design ideas early and often with the developers for building feasibility and getting feedback from the product manager helped improve my work efficiency when I was designing.
I learned how to communicate technical concepts to non-technical people and how to do proper feature estimation by working with the product designer to determine the most feasible features to work with and implement.
I learned how to be more accommodating and communicate my thoughts more effectively. I learned that no idea is superior or inferior to another, and all ideas are important.