Vibin' with…the Visva Design Team

Check out the design process behind Vibes with Visva’s super-talented Head of UX, Natalia Koldaeva.

Before the pandemic, we could go to our favorite places and hang out with our favorite people. Everything is different now. Just as we’ve changed the way we shop, see our doctors, and take classes, we feel the need to evolve how we connect with each other.

Facebook groups tend to suck the joy out of the topics around which they are built, and scrolling through the perfect, Instagram-worthy moments in people’s lives feels weird and empty.

Now more than ever, we’re looking for meaningful connections with others. We’re not just talking about people we already know and like. We’re talking about people who feel the same way we do about certain things.

How do we connect with people in a meaningful way, without the usual pressures of social media?

It’s All About the Vibes

Visva’s mission is to create meaningful connections. Natalia Koldaeva, Head of UX at Visva, says Vibes were born during a conversation about how the Visva app should be a safe space where users can talk about the things they love - without fear or social pressure. She and the team want people to be able to engage with content in a new way, and Vibes is the driving force behind that.

“User experience (UX) is about solving people's problems, and our goal was to connect with their emotions. We want people who use Visva to know that we understand their pain, we know where they're coming from, and that it's something that we feel ourselves,” says Natalia.

She says the app’s target audience - and what is missing from their social media experience - influenced the design decisions for Vibes. “For example, we all understand how colors can affect our moods. Palettes with many different colors make it easier to understand user data and create a connection between content and mood.” This naturally led to the decision to assign a different color to each of the Vibes.

Natalia Koldaeva, Head of UX at Visva

The UX process is a continuous feedback loop, even after an app has launched. Early on, Natalia and her team worked with different focus groups to gain user perspective on everything from design to ease of use. “We had very positive feedback about the look and feel of the app, and that gave us a sense of moving in the right direction,” she says. Additionally, these sessions helped uncover some potential issues users might have with the language used to describe the Vibes.

“As designers, it’s essential we stay open to hearing the truth about our designs.”

Focus groups also helped the design evolution of Vibes. Natalia says, “Initially, we used very general representations of emotions, such as smiles and sad faces. We soon discovered they didn’t allow users to express their feelings in the open, natural way we envisioned.” In addition to the happy and sad faces, the next iteration of Vibes included icons representing widely used internet slang like “LOL”, “Yass”, “Mood”, and “Cringe”.

These new Vibes help users react to content and discussions in a more meaningful way. By attaching a Vibe to a post, the creator can share a unique perspective about their content. “We hope Vibes will help us create a sense of community, in turn, a support network. It's about the feeling of being seen and appreciated for who we are,” she says.

Vibes Everywhere

What’s next for Vibes?

In an effort to give users even more ways to express their personalities, the design team created a set of digital stickers for iOS. “Digital stickers are the next step in our journey to be more than just an app. We want to help people express their feelings in different, fun ways,” says Natalia. The digital stickers can be accessed via the app drawer in iMessages and applied to selfies and conversations.

About the future of the app, she added, “We are working hard to provide more people with new ways to share and engage with relevant content, and connect with people in a meaningful way. It's going to be an exciting journey.”

Stay tuned for more updates and insights from the Visva design team soon!

Keep up with Natalia, and learn more about her work on LinkedIn and her online portfolio.