Parsons School of Design
7000 miles is a virtual dating application for couples in long-distance relationships. It is a new and interactive way to keep in touch with your significant other. The application mimics a room to give a sense of sharing a common space with your partner while engaging in activities to promote healthy competition and create memories.
In the fall of 2022, I entered a long distance relationship with my boyfriend of 3 years separated by a distance of 7000 miles. We went through a series of ups and downs during this phase which lead me to have conversations on relationships with my classmates from the Communication Design batch. Surprisingly I realised that 12 out of 30 people from the CD cohort have in their lifetime been in a long distance relationship with their significant other and all of them had stories to tell.
Academic research suggests as many as 75% of college students have been in a long-distance relationship. This high statistic may be due to the fact that more students are attending out-of-state universities and colleges than ever before. According to the Department of Education, twice as many freshmen leave their home states for college compared to 30 years ago.
of college students have been in a long-distance relationship.
Now more than ever, students are attending out-of-state universities and colleges. This results in students entering long-distance relationships and with that the entry into a myriad of challenges it brings. The challenges lie around balancing busy schedules and maintaining intimacy which serves as a test of their communication skills.
An application that mimics a room to give a sense of sharing a common space with your partner while engaging in activities to promote healthy competition and create memories.
We conducted 8 explorative interviews with people in long distance relationships and tried to understand their experiences, pain points and struggles. This led us to a few key insights.
1. Communicating over a variety of platforms keeps it exciting
To make up for the constraints of a long distance relationship couples felt it important to use a variety of platforms and "switch it up"
How might we stimulate an exciting shared living experience digitally?
Sketches & Lo-Fi Prototypes
Brainstorming through Sketches & Lo-Fi Prototypes. Keeping the how might we statement in mind, the goal was to come up with as many distinct ideas as possible and test them with the users.
Mid-Fi Prototypes & Usability Testing
Based on testing and feedback we decided to further build on three distinct ideas.
1. A virtual dating application for couples to do activities together when in a long distance relationship. The users loved creating lists, and doing tasks together.
2. A common digital space mimicked from the real world interactions for couples to share messages, reminders, thoughts with one another.
3. A shared calendar feature designed for couples in an LDR to avoid scheduling conflicts
After another round of testing we worked on the site map to finalise the flow of the application. This step included narrowing down and refining the features. Based off testing and research we prioritised the features through different lenses using the MSCW framework.
User Journey Map
Mapping out Ria’s journey with setting up a virtual date with her partner for a special occasion.
When we have a break at work, we call each other in the car, and then watch TV together at the end of the day using a website that lets us share screen. “It’s almost like being in the same room together”
During the interviews and research the quote above was something that stood out the most to us. That feeling of making the couple feel at home, warm and safe, being taken care of while being far away from one another was the essence of the brand.
As creating a digital room for a young audience was the heart of the product, this involved careful selection towards the illustration heavy visual style. Pixel art stood out as a neutral visual language that couples resonated with.
Shared calendar to avoid scheduling conflicts
Explore distance-friendly date activities!
Create your own bucket lists, digital photo albums, journals, share messages
Feels like home.
Learnings & Next Steps
The user survey revealed unexpected information and made it possible to derive better solutions. It was interesting to know about the different dating styles that couples have when in a long distance relationship and accordingly adapt the design which caters to all. For the next steps-I would like to provide more customisation for the users so that they can visually associate the room with their digital home.Work on a mobile version for the room.More user testing to understand the users and their needs better.Further enhance the features to create a more delightful user experience