Ripple's mission is "Real Connection," with the goal of helping users make real life connections that ripple into decreased screen time. The app launched in April 2022, primarily as a group messaging and user discovery platform, but saw a decline in users and lack of user retention after its initial launch.
The What’s Happening feature aims to bring more opportunities for user connection by creating location-centric forums where users can discover memes, media, and anecdotes from other users. This feature aligns with Ripple’s overarching mission statement to engage users in spontaneous human connection through a simplified and secure platform.
Based on what they want to get out of using the Ripple app, users should be able to tailor how they discover and connect other students. This could be through interests, location, affiliation, and more.
While some users are extroverted and seek to share their name and location at all times, others want to utilize anonymity in asking questions or want to get to know people authentically before revealing their profiles. I realized that anonymity shouldn’t be black and white. Rather, users should be able to choose when they want to share their information or not.
Through user research, I recognized common concerns that come with anonymity: cyberbullying, anonymously posted inappropriate content, and spam. Any social media user requires a platform that looks out for them and has measures to handle harmful posts.
College seems to be a place that’s simply set up to be spontaneous; the closeness of residence hall life and the dynamics of group decision-making are a part of it. Users should be able to take advantage of being surrounded by like-minded individuals to make friends and say hello.