Poof: highlight meets yelp
What would you get if you took the best of local juggernaut, Yelp, infused it with timely context awareness à la ambient social network, highlight, and wrapped it all up in Foursquare’s attention to design detail?
Awesomeness? Yes, and that awesomeness would be called Poof. A bold answer to consumer and business problems in the local space, Poof is a fun and fast way to share your local experiences in real time. It was born in the labs of Carnegie Mellon University as a simple research project between myself and two of the sharpest graduate level engineers I have ever met.
The best of highlight and Yelp wrapped up in 4sq’s design focus…
It started with a simple question; Why can I walk out of this business I just patronized without saying a word but I can’t make an e-purchase without being asked politely, but consistently for feedback? And it turned into hours of semantic research on how to enable consumers to create relevant and deep content through mobile phones, days of need discovery with local business owners, and weeks of papertyping, user personas, scenarios, brainstorming; rinse and repeat.
All this work to understand user and customer problems crystalized into three, 2-week scrum sprints to birth an MVP was ready to be shared with world. With our hypotheses and analytics in place, we set out to find out if we had product-market fit. 4 weeks after a private alpha launch, 400 local restaurants and bars around the world had been reviewed by roughly 25 real users. Considering that poof uses geolocation to ensure users are reviewing places they’ve actually been to, this was a clear indicator that we had stumbled onto something powerful.
Semantic research, need discovery, papertyping, personas, scenarios, brainstorming; rinse and repeat.
Used to more product and business strategy roles, my first role as lead designer at Poof has been a challenging but truly rewarding experience. Getting to spearhead local liaisons with business owners and decision makers has really just been the cherry on top.
We have a massive vision for Poof. We see a world where every consumer can create and consume useful and insightful local content quickly from their mobile phone, a world where businesses are empowered to develop deeper relationships with real consumers that have or will walk through their doors and so much more.
context-aware reminders to review, clever badges / stickers, following your local experts/biz, just-in-time recommendations, unselfish shareable rewards…
This is just the beginning.