Radar is an app concept that responds to the need for an alternative solution to online dating. Radar’s goal is to bring the feeling of serendipity back into meeting people.

Insight #1

Given the choice, most people don’t want to meet the love of their life online.

Insight #2

Online dating platforms can never account for chemistry.

I believe that despite the high usage of online dating platforms, users’ general satisfaction with the experience is resignedly low. This is not to say the platforms themselves are poor products – in fact, there are many creative and thoughtful solutions out there. Instead, my argument is that given the choice, most people simply wouldn’t want to meet the love of their life online.

Moreover, while I applaud the thoughtful compatibility algorithms of OkCupid and the brilliant simplicity of Tinder, online dating platforms can never account for chemistry, which can only truly be assessed in person, and is the single most important factor in whether people fit together or not.

WHAT IS RADAR?

Radar provides a layer of information about people you encounter. We all know it when we feel naturally attracted to someone we see, but technology has a role to play providing us with important information that we don’t yet know. What kind of person are they? What do you have in common? Are you compatible, in a romantic or friendly capacity? Would they be open to me introducing myself? In addition to providing that information, Radar helps guide compatible people to the same location, so you can meet naturally in social settings such as bars and clubs.

HOW IS RADAR DIFFERENT?

In a traditional dating app, users assess each other based on profile photos, written summaries, and messages, long before a physical meeting ever occurs. This information is often contrived, misleading, tedious to read and write, and (especially for women) offensive or off-putting. With Radar, users assess each other the old-fashioned way – in person, with none of that noise. Radar facilitates meeting people in a way that feels genuine, authentic, and serendipitous.

THE COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE.

1. How do users connect with each other?

2. What is the primary benefit of their method?

How It Works

MY PROFILE

Setting up your Radar profile is fun and simple. Using emoji badges, select your 30 strongest personality traits for yourself, and the person you’re looking for. For the latter, you can also double-tap to veto 10 traits you don’t like. Finally, indicate your interest level in general activities using a sliding scale of emojis.

MY RADAR

Your Radar represents your field of vision. As go about your day, you’ll see compatible users around you. Those users are either potential crushes (red) or friends (yellow). Tap once to see how compatible you are with them, tap twice to see what you have in common and to view their status. A person’s status indicates the kind of interaction they’re willing to have with other users (saying hello, taking a walk, going for a coffee, etc). If you click “View More”, you can see their profile in its entirety.

LIKE SOMEONE

See someone you like? Go for it! There’s no messaging on Radar – it simply empowers you with information to confidently make your move. Tapping “Like” on a match helps the app understand the type of people you’re into. If you prefer to meet people in a socially enabled setting, such as a bar, “liking” other users will help the app show you places in your city where people you have liked or may like are hanging out, using the “Hotspots” feature.

Ignore or Ghost

If you don’t want to see or be shown to someone on the app, simply drag them to the utility bar to “ignore” them. Also, you can physically shake your phone to quickly clear everyone in range off your Radar.

Straight women who want the comfort of browsing anonymously can also turn on “Ghost Mode” by swiping up on the utility bar. In Ghost Mode, matches can’t see her, but she can see them. Don’t worry guys, it’s not that bad – it also means she has to make the first move.

Hotspots

Hotspots is the premium feature of the app, and provides the answer to the question, “Where should we go out tonight?”. Hotspots shows you places in your area where potentially great matches (a mix of people you have liked and may like) are checked-in to and hanging out right now. If you want a bigger dose of rom-com serendipity, you can click “Let Fate Decide” to have the app choose a place for you to go.

Squad

You can also pair your profile with your friends for a night out using the “Squad” feature. Being part of a Squad gives you free access to Hotspots, and shows you where other similar groups of people are hanging out that you may like (in addition to your own individual matches).

Privacy

On your profile, you can set up “Secret Places”, such as your home and workplace, that automatically turn off sharing of your location, even if you forget to turn it off yourself.

Original Sketches

Here’s a small sampling of many sketches I did for Radar before going digital. Some are splashed with wine – there were some late nights!

Inspiration

Initially, the idea for Radar was borne from my interest in the future of augmented reality. I had been musing about the recent success of Pokémon Go, which demonstrated that people were willing to move around their physical environment using an app if the experience was valuable enough to them. A big part of that value was the intrinsic community it created around that experience.

I strongly believe in the future of AR wearables, and I started to think about what sort of digital information I would want displayed while I was exploring my city. Without question, my primary interest would be to learn about the people I pass.

There aren’t currently any viable augmented reality wearables on the market, but soon there will be. I believe Radar is a really interesting product for current technology, but the ultimate goal would be to build the foundation necessary to become the ubiquitous social experience that will someday be used with AR wearables.

Finally, I am also working on a prototype for Radar for Apple Watch. It will be a seamless and inobtrusive partner to the iOS app. Check back soon!

Radar is my personal side project, which currently exists as an InVision prototype. I have a lot more thinking around this product and my vision for it - please ask contact me if you’d like to learn more.

Play around with the clickable prototype!

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