Add Friends Feature on iOS & Android

How do we leverage existing users to drive new signups and engagement?

Why Did I Prioritize This?

Our highest priorities were signups and engagement (defined by things such as time in app and activities per month, per monthly active user). The ability for users to invite friends or discover existing ones already in the app was something we could achieve quickly without extensive development resources.

Problems To Solve

How do we give users a simple way to find their friends in the app and invite new ones?
Much of our new traffic already came from Facebook and Twitter, since users posted content there that would link back to our apps. Having users post invites (rather than content) to those platforms would only be an annoyance. Our Add Friends feature therefore needed to live apart from that existing, successful path to signups.

The Solution

Eventually, through brainstorming with stakeholders and engineering, we devised three functions to fold into this feature:
  • Users could invite friends through email or text messages.
  • Users could discover existing friends already on our platform through their contact list.
  • Users could discover new people to follow though a suggested list.

I began working on the Product Requirement Documentation for the feature, defining user stories and flows. By discussing ideas with engineering, I was able to improve on my concepts for implementation. We wanted to deliver our ‘People to Follow’ feature as quickly as possible, so we decided to promote our most popular users rather than devising a recommendation mechanism. We could always iterate on this concept.
After discussion over some quick mockups, I was able to get consensus on placing this feature in the menu area of the app rather than on the top level UI, since this feature would only occasionally be used.
Also, by dovetailing this feature into a redesign of the menu area across our platform, I was able to address a second issue. Thanks to piecemeal additions to some brands, our menu areas had become a hodgepodge of ad hoc solutions. Working from a base of Material Design, I unified our brand menu structure and layout, insuring that we could spin up future brands without needing any bespoke solutions.
Implementation ideas
Brand menu redesign

The Result

Our Add Friends feature launched successfully, and was a modest improvement to new user signups. The improved brand menu was launched simultaneously and increased engagement in the team worlds of Major League Baseball’s application, MLB Fans. The unification of design across our platform meant that new brands could be created faster.