DUNBAR / The App to Make You Call Your Mom

DISCLAIMER: Playground posts are fun, non-client work.
British anthropologist Robin Dunbar theorizes that a normal human brain can only cognitively maintain around 150 stable social relationships. In the age of social technology, this number is constantly being tested as people actively try to manage increasingly full social lives.
Can an app that knows the last time we saw our friends help us increase the quality of our “real” friendships? Can it help us avoid forgetting to keep up with our pals just because we work a new job, or no longer live in the same neighborhood, or had a child?

Dunbar helps people juggle their friends while dropping the “friends” who don’t matter as much. It maintains a user’s network by tracking each relationship with health bars. Strong links slowly lose “life” over time if they aren’t contacted, becoming red.

Need to keep in touch with your old boss? His name will turn red in about a month and Dunbar will help you set up a coffee. A friend just had a baby? No more late night drinks, but Dunbar will suggest brunch for you to meet the new little fella.

Your time is precious. Learn to better invest your time in good friends, while dropping the “friends” who you really don’t need to spend time with.

The two main features are an activity invite and a swipe-to-contact action designed into the health bar.


To identify existing behaviors and problems with the task of keeping in touch with networks, I started with interviews and observations. I wanted to know people’s habits when it came to finding something to do with friends, and keeping in touch with people

they don’t see every day (e.g. work colleagues). From this, I found that many people make plans with friends based on an existing idea for an activity, as opposed to finding a friend and then deciding on an activity after.

I also did a bit of competitive analysis to converge on some problem areas of social platforms that try to address similar issues of getting people together.

One particular issue with existing apps is that they often like to prioritize by location (e.g. Foursquare, then Swarm), which isn’t as high of a consideration for people to determine who to hang out with.



To design the experience, I had to map out the steps to some key features, such as inviting a group of friends to an activity.DUNBAR_FINAL_Page_08DUNBAR_FINAL_Page_09DUNBAR_FINAL_Page_10


  1. Landing Page/Menu
  2. Friend Sort
  3. Contact
  4. Group Activity Invite
  5. Compose Message

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: