“Truth or Dare” is a feature that lets people verbally reveal something about their personality, or try an action-oriented prompt.
or Dare 💥
Product Design Intern
During the summer of 2021, I interned at Snack
, a video dating startup targeted towards Gen-Z. Think TikTok meets Tinder. During my time there, I worked on a few features, with “Truth or Dare” being my largest project.
Understanding the Problem
With video format being fairly new to the dating scene, people aren’t sure what kind of videos to post on their Snack dating profiles, inaccurately reflecting what their genuine personalities are like. *Queue out of context videos of people's pets or silent selfie videos*.
Why is this problem worth focusing on?
The whole appeal of introducing video to online dating is the ability to get a more authentic view of what someone is really like. You’re less likely to get cat fished and see overly curated photos that strike *just* the right balance of “I’m effortlessly attractive”, “I actually have friends”, etc. However, if the videos on Snack aren't revealing much more of someone's personality than your average photo, people won't be getting more matches.
On the business side, Snack’s main priority as a new startup is growth (measured by metrics like daily active users). For more people to download Snack and have longer browsing sessions, they must be interested in the people they’re seeing on the app. This means they must be interested in the medium — the videos.
Improve the quality of videos so people can find more matches
By providing the tools to make it easier for them to create content that expresses their personalities
I evaluated how other dating apps tried to encourage single people to upload content onto their dating profile that better expresses themselves. Many apps such as Lolly used prompts, which often appeared to look like stagnant lists of questions that didn't seem relevant or up to date.
I put together a few guiding principles that aligned with the original goal of the project. These helped anchor my design decisions throughout the entire process.
It should feel intuitive to use and easy to focus on the primary task at hand (video creation) without unnecessary clutter.
It should weave in Snack's fun and friendly brand personality and feel delightful to use.
It doesn’t feel stagnant and has some element of change that people will want to return to use again.
Based on my preliminary research and guiding principles, I explored different directions for what form this feature would take.
Direction 1: Categories
- Easy filtering of different categories
- Focuses on one question at a time to reduce distraction
- Witty example answers can generate more ideas and encourage people to express themselves more
- Feels more stagnant (difficult to release new batches of questions for every category on a regular basis)
- Inserting examples of answers aren’t scalable (if constantly adding new questions)
Direction 2: Levels
Inspired by the game, “We’re Not Really Strangers”, I designed an exploration where people can answer X number of questions to unlock a new level. As you level up, questions become juicier/deeper.
- Motivates people to revisit app and answer more questions (addressing shorter retention rates)
- Opportunity for future versions: feature can expand to view other people’s video answers (once you’ve answered that specific question yourself)
- Interactive way to find more matches
- If the incentive is to unlock other people’s videos, the feature won’t generate a higher quantity of videos as locked videos wouldn’t be shown in the main feed
- Higher chance of confusing people
Direction 3: Points system
I designed another option where people can earn different “points” to unlock likes. This allows them to view who has liked them (prior to liking them), which streamlines the process.
- Adds an element of game mechanics (points) that makes it more fun
- Future opportunity to turn it into a discover hub (e.g. trending videos can be included as high quality examples)
- Feels like an artificial way to incentivize people to use the feature
- Snack only recently released the “Unlock a Like” feature, so baking that reward into a new feature was risky (unsure if it’d be successful)
- If Snack adds a paywall to unlock likes, the feature might have to be adjusted (by removing reward or changing what it is)
Truth or Dare was released in Q3 right after my internship ended! I wasn't able to get relevant metrics since I don't work at Snack anymore, but it was so exciting to see people using it. Here's an example 👇
Learnings and Challenges
Having started my design journey in January 2021, I felt extremely thankful to have landed my first product design internship at Snack. During my time there, I learned a heck of a lot! Here are some of my biggest takeaways:
⚙️ Working with constraints and limited engineering effort
Prior to Snack, I had only designed one project. I had the vaguest idea of what it was like to communicate with engineers, write design specs, or even make a user flow. With only two front-end engineers, I also learned how to scale back my ideas to fit within engineering and timeline constraints.
🧩 Working within a growing design system
Before joining, Snack already had a design system in place. I had my first taste of working with established components and text and colour styles. When ideating for new features, I learned to balance the existing design system along with thinking about how Snack’s brand can grow (e.g. new illustration styles).
💁 Defending design decisions with rationale
I was initially guilty of giving "real-estate tours" when presenting my designs during critiques and reviews rather than getting into the nitty gritty and the “why” behind my decisions. Improving on this helped me receive richer and more insightful feedback from stakeholders like the CEO and engineers. I also learned to iterate with more agility by preparing specific questions beforehand rather than leaving the floor open for any and all discussion.