Role:
Lead Product and Brand Designer

THE PRODUCT

#1 Jewish Dating App
(Acquired by Spark Networks - NYSE:LOV)


 JSwipe is the largest Jewish dating app. While it may have began as a tongue in cheek play off of a more popular dating app, it has quickly become a cultural phenomenon and a major part of the Jewish millennial experience.

MAKING JSWIPE
While JSwipe was an immediate hit given its branding, timing, and market fit, it was not without its fair share of roadblocks. From lawsuits to societal stigma, our team has worked tirelessly to stay ahead of the curve. 

CHALLENGES
1. BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY
Admittedly, JSwipe was at first considered a bit of a joke. Between its cheesy branding, marketing, and product design, it was difficult to believe JSwipe would ever become a serious app with a thriving community.
2. BECOMING MORE THAN A HOOKUP APP
When JSwipe first launched, dating apps still carried a negative stigma with them. In the Jewish community, with it's strong traditional values, this was especially concerning. Therefore, we needed to avoid being considered a hookup app. Our goal was to become an app Jewish parents would hope their children were on. 
1. TURNING A PROFIT
After JSwipe's acquisition by Spark Networks, a large focus was placed on becoming profitable. Given that our app was free and competition in the dating space is heavy, we had to find smart ways of turning a profit. 

PROCCESS / SOLUTIONS
1. REBRANDING THE NEW JSWIPE
In order for people to take us seriously, we need to take ourselves seriously. We needed to approach the product from the user's point of view. Rather than being a "Jewish dating app", I intended on building a "dating app" for Jews. This began with changing the logo from a star of david to the letter J. We also improved the overall design of the product, colors, typography, and messaging. 
2. NOT TAKING OURSELVES TOO SERIOUSLY 
Finding a way to become more than a hookup app, required finding a solution for a industry/societal problem as much as a JSwipe specific one. In order to broaden our appeal and shake up the stigma around online dating, we understood that we needed to keep things light hearted. Combining Jewish humor and self deprecation, we communicated to our users that we were self aware. We added bright colors and a softer font to the app and branding to help lighten the mood. Features like emoji super swipes also helped make the in app experience fun and light hearted.
1. ADOPTING THE FREEMIUM MODEL
While we continued to stay focused on building great features our users wanted, we also began thinking through the business lens. For example we built our super swipe feature as a way for users to stand out, but also as a way for us to provide additional value for our paying subscribers. We have since added other premium features such as photo optimization, profile boosting, and an explore feed where users can find the most eligible users on the app.* 

*While many of these features are now available to premium subscribers in other dating apps, it's important to mention that they weren't at the time. We came up with through user research, product strategy, and feature iteration. 

SUCCESS
With nearly a million users, a globally recognized brand, and a vibrant community, JSwipe has become a staple of the Jewish millennial experience proving the power of great branding, marketing, and product design. Its marketing campaigns have been featured by Facebook and it's story written up in national news publications. After being acquired in 2016, JSwipe has continue to flourish with continued growth, a robust advertising experience, and a growing paid subscription base.  


In redesigning JSwipe, my goal was to transform it from being a
"Jewish Dating App" to just a "dating app" for Jews. 



NOTES FROM DESIGNING A NICHE DATING APP
When I was brought on to design JSwipe, my goal was to transform the tongue in cheek
Jewish dating app into a dating for the Jewish community.

REBRANDING
At first, the JSwipe app was littered with Jewish clipart like stars of davids, and tag-lines about Bubbys. While this served us well at first given the large role humor plays in the Jewish community, we quickly needed to change our tone if we wanted to be taken seriously. This is what motivated our rebrand and new communication strategy. 

MORE THAN JUST THE BASICS
We began by studying our community of users. What we found was a wide spectrum of needs and preferences when it came to online dating.



JEWISH PREFERENCES
There are many levels of "Jewish-ness". Therefore, we built the ability to set and filter by denomination and observance allowing our users to find their ideal match. 

SUPER SWIPES
Far before other apps implemented similar features, we heard from our users that they wanted a way to stand out. With that in mind, we built our super swipe feature. Using a licensed set of custom drawn emojis, we allowed our users to swipe right with additional flavor. This also served as the first premium feature for our paid subscription service.

EXPLORE FEED
Swiping one profile at a time was considered a user experience breakthrough creating a global trend of "Tinder for ____" startups. This model served us well as we grew our network, but with time users began feeling exhausting with what we started calling swipe fatigue. This lead to JSwipe's latest feature called explore. In explore mode, users can scroll through dozens of profiles and filter between random and most eligible users. This has proved to be a huge hit with swiping on most eligible users becoming our number one converter for premium subscribers. 
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