Meet Susan Davis
Susan is an entrepreneur in her late 20s that is searching for a designer who can help her with the design of her recently started online business.
Susan can be introverted, specially when trying to meet new people, that’s why she can have a difficult time when trying to connect at events.
Susan arrives to the event and wonders who she should talk to.
She gets approached by a couple of persons; one basically talks about herself and the other tries to get a date with Susan.
Multiple business cards later, Susan is about to leave with the feeling she didn't connect with who she should have.
When she’s heading to the door, she remembers about Near, a professional networking tool for events.
Using Near she finds out that Laura, a web-designer is attending the event. Susan talks to Laura and they agree to meet for coffee.
Susan goes back home feeling that for the first time, was worth it going to an event.
Susan and Laura meet and Laura is so interested in what Susan is doing that she offers her to work for free until it starts making benefit as Laura wants to be part of the business.
An extensive competitive analysis, led us to identify common issues that event and networking applications have to be able to create a simpler yet powerful solution for attendees to connect with each other. Based on that we launched a landing page to see what traction the idea could gather.
At the beginning, Near was trying to connect people based on their location, that’s why the first prototypes had a map to show where users are at. With the evolution of the project it iterated to focus on the place where people go to learn and connect: Events.
Interviews with potential users where conducted, in person with people attending events and phone calls with the ones who signed up to receive information about Near release in the first landing page. A prototype using Invision was created for early testing.
Various changes were done from the prototypes based on user testing and a simplification process. The map was discarded as it wasn't useful at events and users were concerned about showing their approximate location in a map. Contacts tab was eliminated as the Chats tab can be used as a way to keep track of the contacted users, as chat apps do.
In the attendees list a sorting and a search allows users to easily find interesting connections. The most important information is displayed in the list: Profile Picture, Name, Profession, Company and distance. As Near has chat, a block contacts feature was added.