Future solutions challenge

From research to concepts

The pains of long-distance

In the communication age, we have more ways to communicate with each other than ever before. In long-distance relationships, we use email, Facetime, Instagram, Snapchat, other mobile social networking, and dating sites. However, qualitative findings reported that romantic partners did not find the use of social media to be a significant contributor to maintaining relational satisfaction. Couples with high activity on social media experience jealousy and sexual tension with their significant other.  

This is what I am going to investigate further for my future solutions challenge. Therefore, I have stated the following research question:  

What can I create that will reduce the feelings of jealousy, sexual tension, and trust in long-distance relationships?

   I have translated this question into a Lean-canvas with predictions that I will validate with experiments and/or desk research. Sidenote here. This Lean-canvas is partially filled in. This is just the first step to getting to create a concept.  

First things first – getting out of the building

As clearly stated in the Lean-cavas listed above, the first assumptions I am going to tackle are the target-audience. I listed three possible options: 

  1. (International) students
  2. Expats / international couples
  3. Militairy personal 

(International) students

I have done multiple interviews with 5  exchange students who are in or have been in a long-distance relationship. Through this the method of explorative interviews I have been able to validated the three problems people face in a long-distance relationship.  However, I think of eliminating (international) students as a possible customer segment. This is due to the current spending habits of students. It might not make a profitble target-audience.  

Expats / international couples 

I haven’t been able to connect to this target audience. 

Militairy personal 

I haven’t been able to connect to this group yet, but I have a meeting scheduled on the 28th of november. This shows as a profitble target audience, because research how that:(sheerid,2018) The military market is huge – in 2017, there were approximately 37 million service members, veterans, and spouses with $1 trillion in buying power. The military community’s income is 35% higher than the national average, and their focus is on online spending, because of mobility and relocation. Ninety-three percent of the nation’s 1.1 million military spouses are women who, on average, are 35 years or younger. To target the military spouse is more interesting because: 

  • Women own over 85% of military families consumer purchases
  • 75% consider themselves the primary shoppers for their household
  • They account for 58% of all total family spending that occurs online
  • 22% shop online at least once a day

Militairy spouces look like a optimal target audience to test on. They not only have the same problems as a civilian in a long-distance relationship, but also experiance other pains like: martial problems and a decrease in the relationships health with each deployment. Therefore I will change my research question to: 

What can I create that will reduce the feelings of jealousy, sexual tension and trust in long-dinstance relationships for people who are married to military personel? 

First iteration to a concept 

By using the Iteration Canvas, I am going to determine what my next step in the design process is. In the image below you can see my thought process. Under “map” I wrote down what data I found. The next step is to “explore”.  In this step, I explored the military spouses as a target audience.  My decision was to use this as a target audience, because:  They not only have the same problems as a civilian in a long-distance relationship but also experience other pains like martial problems and a decrease in the health of the relationships with each deployment. Now I have validated the target audience and the problem, I can move to concepting.  

Moving to concepts  

I started out with one concept mainly social networking sites (SNS) because this is directly related to the pains of the use of SNS. This is a key ingredient in the problem I am going to solve. For this, I created the scenario sketch low-fi prototype below. I asked Duncan for feedback and he did, but more importantly, he opened my mind to a new concept: heartbeat bracelet. This is also featured below. 

Testing the concepts

I will be testing the concepts on spouses of military personal. I have an interview scheduled for the 28th of November. I will the following how their long-distance relationship was and what they think of the concepts. The results of this experiment will be posted soon.

During the week of 25 to 30 November, I will put €50,- into Facebook adds with links to a landing page to check the value proposition. Results will be posted at the beginning of December.

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