Spark was created from the desire to have a conversation with someone in your vicinity. Spark was the first of its kind to use Bluetooth LE to detect and send messages to those near you. Instead of gathering up the nerve to approach a stranger at a bar or concert, while facing the fear of face-to-face rejection, you could “Spark” a conversation with someone else looking to create a “Spark” using the app. Best of all, because the app used Bluetooth, you could create a conversation without having any cell phone service. You could even create a message group to keep in contact with friends at events.
I was the sole designer of the Spark mobile application. I created the brand guidelines, workflows, mockups, and marketing materials. This application was relatively simple in its design complexity, which made it easier to make changes.
At the time when Spark was developed, there were many methods in which you could discover people with similar interests near you. Whether these were social networking applications or dating applications, they were all GPS Location based. A user would select their preferred range for discovery by mileage, and based on their location, and the app would populate related users. Spark aimed to have a more direct way of interaction between users near one another. This was solved by using Bluetooth LE which meant you were not limited to limited accuracy provided by GPS.
Although users would find different ways to use this application, there was only one persona focused on while developing Spark. People would use Spark to message back and forth with friends, co-workers, and people located near you to meet new people.
Persona 1: Any User Type
Anyone could sign up and use Spark. This meant no specific user type was focused on. Our society is always looking for new ways to communicate and meet new people.
Mocks / Designs
Although there weren’t many screens to design, that didn’t mean that they were treated lightly. The app still needed to be beautiful and simple to use. Spark was designed using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Sketch.
The primary challenge when designing Spark was to educate a user or potential user of the difference between Spark and other messaging applications. This was the point of developing the technology, and to gain an active user base, all messaging and content needed to reflect it.
I had always wanted to work on a project that could be used by anyone and everyone. It allowed me to focus primarily on the design, rather than functionality. This was a nice change of pace.