The Hot & Cold Design Process

I conducted my research through Market Research, Task Analysis, User Interviews, AB testing, usability testing, and focus groups.
I have redesigned and reiterated multiple prototypes of Hot and Cold Dating App’s various features & flows. They were built in Sketch, Figma, Invision depending on the design phase I was in.


Current market problems

01 Dating App Fatigue

  • Users are starting to find them more frustrating than fun
  • Users feel obligated to keep conversations active
  • Push for premium memberships makes users opt-out from using
  • Users feel others aren’t looking for something serious
  • A hookup culture is more common than real-world connections

02 Market Saturation

  • Tinder, Coffee meets Bagel, Bumble, etc. swiping features have become repetitive and uninteresting
  • Constant small chat conversation cycle in current apps has become mundane rather than engaging

03 Safety & Trust

  • Use of different photos for dating profile i.e., “Catfishing”

  • Putting information out there that you don't necessarily want to
    Avoiding to connect with suspicious profiles

Market Research

I started the project by looking into what is lacking in the current market, analyzing trends in the Dating Apps and how competitors are tackling some of these issues. I did this mainly via interviewing a wide spectrum of users, ranging from super dating app users to casual browsers.  The idea is to get a better understanding on how to build a platform that empathises and caters to such wide span of user base.


We compared other dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge with Hot & Cold and noticed some gaps in certain features like…

  • in terms of location, other apps were less immediate and lacked real-time connections.
  • We also compared accountability parameters for safety and reporting bad behavior

User Interviews


“It’s awful. It’s a necessary evil. I think it’s a quick fix, it’s like fast food for dating.”


“I prefer meeting people in person. I think it’s just easier to vibe with somebody.”


“There’s always that insecurity that somebody will just be a creep. I’ve just heard so many horror stories.”


Key Insights Summarised

Dating apps are a functional tool rather than an enjoyable experience

  • Communication between users quickly moves off apps to direct text messages
  • Social media platforms - Instagram in particular - are the new age dating apps
  • “Ghosting” on dating apps have become normalized
  • Endless match options marginalizes the search for meaningful relationships

To synthesize our research data from the user interviews, We had 3 rounds of iterations to find common trends and themes among our users. Our main takeaways after these research exercises showed us the key values of our users and what we would need to focus on in redesigning Hot & Cold - with an emphasis on user safety and trust, fun/dynamic interactions and offline connections.

I value platform trust

I value offline connections

I value community building

I value dynamic interactions

I value personalization

I value quality over quantity


The insights gained from our qualitative research informed the creation of our user persona and as such, we’d like to introduce you to Mara Kim.


“I want to meet new people outside of the dance world, but I can’t schedule days in advance like others.”


Recently moved to Los Angeles from New York

Travels a lot for work, difficult to commit to dates and long-term relationships [friends and dating]

Records, produce, and shares work across social platforms

Loves music, going to concerts, etc.

Mara Kim

25, Single

Choreographer, Kinjaz Studio

Koreatown, California

$ 60,000

Favorite Brands



Build friendships/communities outside of dance world

Safe way to meet people

Quick and efficient communication

Personalized connections [location, interests, availability, etc.]

In-person interactions and engagement


Pain Points

Feeling discouraged overtime not being able to make connections through the app

Dating apps are no longer enjoyable, they have become a functional tool

Unable to create lasting/meaningful relationships

Paying for dating app feels transactional

Meeting dates that are not a good fit feels like an annoying waste of time

How might we help Mara efficiently and safely meet nearby matches online that translate to meaningful relationships offline?


  • How can we maintain curiosity and an engaged community?


  • Visual heat map indicators 
  • Gamification of digital interactions
  • Individual achievements
  • How can we help users avoid time wasted on meaningless dates?
  • How can we help users spend more time connecting off the platform?
  • Time-focused communication
  • Facilitate immediate digital to offline connection
  • How does an app build on immediate location sharing foster a safe environment?
  • Safe meeting standards
  • Approximate location sharing
  • Reported user repercussions

Opportunities & Features

Based on the pain points I discovered from the market research and persona creation, I created a design criteria and ideated on different features the system ought to have to reach this criteria. I also looked into different ways in which the users could interact with the system based on posture studies. These were far-term and near-term solutions.


Feature Ideation


User Profile



Account Settings


Should Have

User Onboarding


Reviews & Ratings

Meet now

Could Have

Augmented Reality

Venue Partnership


Design Studio

To begin with, my team had time boxed brainstorming sessions to sketchout potential ideas on paper for different features we gathered after synthesizing our research data. Design studio led us to sketch out more detailed ideas on the whiteboard.


Low Fidelity Wireframes & User Tests

I started making paper prototypes to conduct usability tests. Paper prototypes were used to validate the features that I had ideated. These were the key features that users thought were useful to them.

Key Paths Tested



Users failed at accomplishing 1 out of the 4 main key features - Find a Match


Key Insights

Multiple users were confused about the functionality of the map page when they first encountered it, so we added quick introductory instructions.



High Fidelity Wireframes

I started making paper prototypes to conduct usability tests. Paper prototypes were used to validate features that I had ideated. These were the key features that users thought were useful to them.


Next Steps

Augmented Reality & Artificial Intelligence

Harnessing AR technology and personal phone cameras to construct interactive experiences and enhanced gaming like treasure hunts.

Using smart AI matches based on personal data and information - removes initial heavy lifting for the user.

Venue Partnerships

Partner with local bars, restaurants, and event spaces to be featured as go-to destinations within the map.

Beyond Dating

Our research showed that many were looking to expand their communities. Having a process focused on building social circles would be vital for those who are traveling or new to a big city.

© Kanchan Gaur 2020
+ 1 (323) 791 3330