logo of zazazu

Zazazu’s founders wanted to build an entirely better dating app for young urban singles. They came to BiTE to transform their inspired concept into a stand-out brand and mobile product.

The Virtues of Behavior Driven Development:
A Case in Point

Zazazu serves as a textbook example of the power of Behavior Driven Development. BDD is a lightweight, Agile process that eased the development of this complex app with its intricate economics, multiple use cases, sophisticated features, and elaborate backend.

Given, when, then, scenario for a popup notification screen featuring instructions on how to use their currency system, within the dating app

Conversation Before Code

Developing code without a clear understanding of your product is an invitation for bugs, premature optimization, and a host of costly risks. Using the BDD framework, BiTE seeks input from all stakeholders to get insight from different teams with varying areas of expertise. BiTE uses those conversations to document examples (BDD scenarios) in plain English, which we then translate into code. Thus, the plain-English descriptions of the app’s functionality serve as the actual tests by which we check whether everything works as it should.

Zazazu illustrates a game-changing advantage of the BDD process – strengthens the products being built by allowing developers to efficiently change code to execute major revisions in how an app functions.

Given, when, then, scenario for a popup notification screen featuring instructions on how to use their currency system, within the dating app

Zazazu serves as a textbook example of the power of Behavior Driven Development. BDD is a lightweight, Agile process that eased the development of this complex app with its intricate economics, multiple use cases, sophisticated features, and elaborate backend.

Conversation Before Code

Developing code without a clear understanding of your product is an invitation for bugs, premature optimization, and a host of costly risks. Using the BDD framework, BiTE seeks input from all stakeholders to get insight from different teams with varying areas of expertise. BiTE uses those conversations to document examples (BDD scenarios) in plain English, which we then translate into code. Thus, the plain-English descriptions of the app’s functionality serve as the actual tests by which we check whether everything works as it should.

Zazazu illustrates a game-changing advantage of the BDD process – strengthens the product being built by allowing developers to efficiently change code to execute major revisions in how an app functions.

“Our app’s spending system was more complicated than anything a dating app had done before. BiTe was able to make sense of each possible scenario and use BDD to test for every possible outcome. The result was an app that worked beautifully and didn’t drive us crazy in the process.”
white logo of zazazu
headshot-robin

Robin Leigh
Director of Communications

Executing Complex Changes With Ease

Our client’s original in-app currency model was a clear and simple 1-1 transaction system. However, as the app evolved in complexity, Zazazu needed to revise its in-app economy. The simple in-app purchase evolved rapidly into a free-to-play system, with a multi-tiered currency model that included bulk discounts and sales – as well as behavior-based incentives.

These modifications would significantly improve Zazazu’s bottom line and the user experience. However, such sweeping changes affected every aspect of the app. Under a traditional development framework, the impact would have been severe. Programmers would have had to halt new development to focus on tedious and time-consuming tasks like manual code searches and rewriting out-of-date dependencies.

Instead, we simply updated existing scenarios and added new ones to reflect the required changes. Changing the plain-English scenarios indicated precisely where we needed to overhaul the code. A process that would have taken weeks took less than a day. Upon completion, we knew every failing case had been addressed and that the app was once again structurally sound.

BDD methodology ensured that the client could easily communicate changes and that our designer, architects, QA, programmers, and the client always had complete clarity regarding what was being built.

iPhones portray revision of Zazazu's mobile application to incorporate expanded business model
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Building a Product That Solves the Problems Your Competitors Don’t See

Frustrated by their own experiences with popular dating apps, Zazazu wanted to build an entirely better dating platform for young urban singles. They came to BiTE to transform their inspired concept into a successful brand and mobile product.

Creating software capable of real market disruption requires powerful insights into the problems your competitors are failing to solve. Dating apps are a crowded, mature, two-sided market. They also serve some of the most important jobs a person will ask a product to do. For a new dating app to succeed, it has to be built to do the jobs other dating apps are failing to do.

iPhones feature diverse functionality of Zazazu's new mobile app design

“BiTE is the startup app development company that took us from a great idea and to a fully realized beautifully branded product. They crafted the right strategy to get us to MVP, and developed a fantastic app so we could prove traction.”

white logo of zazazu
headshot-robin
Robin Leigh
Director of Communications
Customer pushed and pulled towards new action, held back by habit and anxiety.

Using Switch Interviews to Discover a Market in Search of a Product

To unearth the subtle and complex features that young urban daters wanted from an app, we began with the cornerstone of the Jobs-to-be-Done product strategy  Switch Interviews.

Switch Interviews are qualitative, long-form conversations with customers. The process is designed to unearth the real reasons a customer chooses to “hire” or “fire” a product. Because these reasons are often subconscious, these personal, conversational interviews give a unique insight that is superior to traditional product research. We interviewed a sample group of young urban professionals, evenly split between men and women and targeting straight daters for MVP.

Our product research showed that 90% of respondents not only fired and hired new dating apps repeatedly but actually rehired those dating apps when they failed to find a better alternative. This was a clear signal of a market in search of a better alternate product.

Wavy trail marks the stages of Switch Interviews on the way to satisfaction

Building an App to Eliminate the Sources of Daters’ Discontent

 

Our Switch Interview process brought to light specific areas of discontent:

• Image and profile skepticism

• Chatting fatigue

• Troubling options for payment

• FOMO (fear of missing out)

• Difficulty gauging the success of a first date

iPhones display design improvements that counter image skepticism

Armed with these insights, we crafted features for Zazazu that not only served daters’ functional jobs but the more important social and emotional jobs that other dating apps were lacking.

A key example is presented by how we solved the problem of image skepticism. Zazazu required clear photos and videos that showed a dater’s face. Photos, video capture, and editing were all done in-app. There were no image improvement filters and no pictures of shoes or dogs. Since the app required users to periodically update their profiles, images, photos and videos were never out of date.

To reinforce these rules, we built a backend that enabled rapid acceptance, rejection or even permanent banning of users based on Zazazu’s community profile guidelines. The review system was seamlessly connected to our client’s Slack instance to enable scale as the platform grew.

By unearthing the key problems urban singles had with existing dating apps and then mapping every feature back to those problems, we were able to ensure absolute clarity as to what we needed to build and why. Our team-wide understanding of the goals led to a well-organized and focused development process and rapid deployment.

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Building a Unique UI to Amplify a Dating App’s Brand

outline of zazazu logo with z used as a spacer

BiTE built an utterly unique UI for a dating app that reinforced users’ authentic connections with one another. The UI echoed the app’s brand, BE YOU, by putting the users front and center. We wanted the daters to feel a connection with each other, not the app.

Brand Development: Putting Each User at Center Stage

‘BE YOU’ became Zazazu’s slogan – short, simple and in the zeitgeist of urban singles. We developed the brand and slogan to underscore the real connections that happen when people are their authentic selves. Anyone can make themselves look perfect with the right filters, profile and posts, but trying to be who we’re not is a waste of time and emotional energy. It leads to anxiety, not love. Zazazu, by contrast, was all about authenticity and finding love – in its name, its logo, its features and functions, and in its design.

“We had a groundbreaking idea but we needed groundbreaking design to go with it. BiTE’s design team created an elegant, usable interface that made our ideas come to life. We’d love to work with them again.”
white logo of zazazu
headshot-robin

Robin Leigh
Director of Communications

Using Color to Give Each User a “Brand” of Their Own

We designed Zazazu’s user interface to sustain users’ interest over time, to stand out from the competition, and to emphasize each user’s individuality and authenticity. As one example, we strategized a unique way to use color in user profiles.

We decided it would enhance the UX if the app’s color scheme adapted each time a user updated a profile photo. However, at the time, there was no easy way to produce the effect we wanted. With a strong belief that this design would significantly enhance the UX, we took the time to build the necessary algorithm to produce the effect we wanted.

In effect, the app gave each user a brand of their own. Our algorithm identified the dominant primary color in a profile image and matched it with a complementary color. The app would then assign those colors to interface icons, the app background, and for all screens relating to that user. The result was an utterly unique UI that reinforced our users’ connections with each other and improved usability.

When to Step Forward, When to Step Back

Our careful decisions about when to use low-branded screens and when to use high-branded screens presents another example of how Zazazu’s design enforced its brand identity of encouraging real connections between authentic humans.

The app kept the individual users front and center, and the app itself only stepped forward when it was needed. This required a keen sense of timing and a deep understanding of how to engage users. Our rule of thumb was simple  anything related to a connection between two daters used the daters’ “brand colors” as determined by our algorithm. By contrast, the app attached Zazazu’s own brand to system functions like notifications, settings, in-app payments, and on-boarding.

RGB chart highlighting very specific color values
3 pink arrows pointing down
iphones of the zazazu dating app showing how color is used across multiple screens

Integrated Design

Behavior Driven Development breaks down silos between design, strategy, and development. At BiTE, each discipline collaborates with the others throughout a project. In the case of Zazazu, the product strategy informed design decisions to create novel algorithmic designs, nuanced notifications, and branding that uniquely engaged users and kept the focus on the app’s most important job – helping two people make an authentic connection with one other.

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