Yada


Yada is a social platform that celebrates self-growth, self-reflection, and self-care. In a world that makes it so difficult for young teenagers to safely be themselves and learn from one another online, we founded a platform where they feel empowered to speak, think, and share.

Materializing a Vision

In 2019, I was approached with a paper concept of the future of social & Gen Z online. After successfully collaborating with the founders to materialize this vision, we launched with exponential growth and exciting traction. The founders quickly raised a successful funding round, and I was asked to join full-time to lead design strategy and vision. Excited about the vision, I promptly took leave from Stanford, ready to dive deeper into investigating the future of social!



Design with Results

Over the course of my time at Yada, I led design through several key product launches. In just a year, we built a thriving platform from zero users and zero advertising in a puzzling and misunderstood demographic (preteens!). Our organic growth is a testament to our product & design strategy at Yada: thoughtfulness, vision, and broad strokes derived directly from a deep understanding of our users. Get Yada for iOS

Client

Yada (iOS App and Web)

Role

Product Design, UI/UX, User Research

Team

4 Dev
1 Business
1 Community
1 Data
1 Design (that's me!)

Tools

Sketch, InVision Studio, Principle, Zeplin, Amplitude, Metabase



impact

Starting from Nothing


Branding

Brand affinities run deep in Gen Z. They expect the brands they interact with to embody their values, understandings, and dreams. These factors were all taken into account when developing our emblem, style, and messaging.

This user-driven approach was a success. Even before launch, Yada had traveled far and wide. Stickers were sent to dozens of countries, and our mark had been recreated and redrawn on Gen Z water bottles, sneakers, and t-shirts across the world. All without a single ad dollar spent.

impact

Fan mail sent from users

We settled on the mushroom, something organic and beautiful that grows in all places, including darkness. Our mark was designed to be dynamic and easy to draw — urging our users to make Yada their own through their unique perspective. Our colors were inviting, playful, and creative. Most importantly, a single idea pumped through the DNA of our brand: "Everyone knows something. " We wanted every user to feel empowered to create.

In many ways, there are few places where young girls can be themselves online. We sought to be the space where they could express themselves, bond with others, educate one another, and practice self-care. Above all, we needed our branding to reflect these values.


The Zero-Start

As a UGC platform, we had to confront the zero-start problem head on. In deep collaboration with growth and marketing, we devised a clever strategy of acquiring new users and making sure their first experience was full and rewarding. A lot of thought and care was put into how we designed our feed, content generation loops, and creation flows.

Feed Navigation
Onboarding, Suggested Posts

Trust & Safety

Above all, we needed to create an encouraging and empowering space for our creators, while protecting them from bad actors. On top of the considerations of our users, we considered parents as secondary users to our platform. These well-defined user types informed our systems for identity, keeping our users safe and their sensitive data protected.

Defining the Product


The Meat of It All

I was responsible for designing end-to-end flows, including: onboarding, navigation, group and single messaging, feed, creation, and more. This required careful prioritization and collaboration with engineers and stakeholders to ship on a consistent and predictable schedule, while making strong shots on product.

impact

Post and app navigation demo

impact

Messaging flows


Encouraging High Quality Content

Our economy was designed to encourage high-quality content. We used a fast and iterative process to launch new features that moved the needle on engagement and retention, including feed mechanics, featured content, and creator feedback-loops.

Featured Posts
Acheivement Notifications

A Gen Z Sense of Identity

We strove to create an appealing and flexible design system that would allow new users to express themselves safely. Minimalism was used to let user content shine, and many customization features were built so users could establish their aesthetic and voice.

Customization Options
Profile Themes

Ease of Creation

Central to our growth was converting readers into creators. To support these efforts, I took great care to design an easy creation flow, and feedback mechanics that encourage new creators to continue to invest energy into their content.

Previous Creation
New Creation

Growth


Getting Users to Content They Love

Our feed was underutilized in recommending the best content to users. This was particularly problematic for new users, who struggled to immediately find content they enjoyed during their first experience of the app. We approached the problem with a few strategies: introduce users to high-quality (data-driven) content during sign up, build out a web experience that did not require a user to download and sign up to view the value prop, and increase ease of sharing content out of the platform.

impact

Live shot of web app launched



New Creative Experiences

One of the largest projects we worked on was innovating the format to support more creative experiences. We conceptualized Magic Blocks, a flexible media block that could support videos, gifs, dice, hidden blocks, text-to-image, and more. This required a huge overhaul of our legacy code, and careful development of a block framework that could support new creative features in the future.

Reveal Blocks
Dice Blocks

Try it yourself

Yada is live today

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