mIRC was amazing. For people who grew up with the internet, it was a game-changer. At the time, being able to chat with other people, share stuff and join channels full of topics you were interested in, was crazy.
Nowadays, although we have a lot of ways to communicate with one another, and messaging apps for every possible mehtod of communication (audio, text, video, image); that feeling was still missing. Apps like Kiwi, Fling and Ello, for example, have shown that there is a demand for products that aren't focussed around superficial 'likes' and friends, but instead are focused on privacy, anonimity and honesty as new way to connect and interact with other people.
Information overload is another problem. This has been seen on Twitter, where there is no way to orginise your feed leading the users missing information that they shouldn't. Some people are already looking into this issue.
The challenge was to bring that mIRC feeling back. Empowering people to connect with like-minded individuals have conversations about what they love.
Stellar's mission was to connect people with to their passions and with others that shared that passion. Stellar wanted to be a real community, an alternative to mainstream social networks.
The core principles:
As the CEO of the company had a background in information architecture and user experience he wireframed the product. Just showing them here to provide some context for the study. I just helped him along during process offering advice and feedback.
After some research and reading about material design and spatial interfaces, I applied these principles to the interface in order to speed up the learning process and ease-of-use. I also wanted to make it easy for the user to conjure a mental model of the main screens he had to interact with.
With the spatial interface principle in mind, it was time to bring the navigation and interactions between screens and elements to life. This image depicts an early prototype, testing the swipe navigation between screens.
The next step was to design the user interface. My main focus when designing the interfaces was to keep it clean and simple as the content had to shine.
Unfortunately, the app never made it out into the wild, after several months of design and development, sadly the startup run out of money. I strongly believe that the app could have been a success and felt like a real pity not to test the app with real users, and have enough time to gain market traction and learn from it. It was a pleasure to work on it, and learned a lot during the process.