Buddy & Barter
Lead/Solo UI and UX Designer
MICA MPS UXD Thesis Case Study
Buddy and Barter is a knowledge sharing platform that established knowledge as a currency. Through the barter of wisdom, collaboration, and connection, Buddy and Barter creates the space for members of a social community to become friendly with one another while exchanging knowledge, support, and guidance.
Our social media driven society needs a space to seek out information without the mental, emotional, or financial toll.
How it started
It all started with my best friend’s budgeting concept. This concept was centered around teaching people how to budget and learn about the financial opportunity of thinking of extra money within a budget as “slack”. This app was intended to help guide the user through budgeting.
Think: Alexa meets Mint. “Hey Alexa, how much slack do I have in my budget this month?
I pivot from generic budgeting application to a budgeting application that supports members of the community with brain differences and those that may suffer from mental health difficulties.
Original Solution Statement
Slackers is a budgeting app intended to support those with mental health obstacles, brain differences, and offer well-being support around the topic of finances.
The survey had 55 total responses. The goal of the survey was to find out how people felt about their relationship between their money & emotions and find potential users to interview to dive deeper.
96.4% of people said “my financial situation has impacted my mental health, at least a little, at some point in my life.”
And 61.8% of people said, “Yes, my mental health has absolutely been impacted by my financial situation.”
While 54.5% of people highlighted “stressful” as one of the words they would use to describe how they feel about their relationship with their finances, 56.4%, the highest percentage, said they were motivated by their relationship with their finances.
In fact, 41.8% said they were anxious (still high) and 23.6% said they were worried, but only 7.3% said they were lost.
Well, that was unexpected. This set of findings was astounding because the whole drive for the application was serving people value. And while the survey participants were stating that their finances cause a negative impact on their mental health, they still felt motivated. I capitalize on this finding later on.
Point blank, those who did consistently track preferred spreadsheets. This reasoning was universally different. Some had failed budgeting app experience that led them to creating their own system.
But the reason people preferred spreadsheets ranged. One users went as as to say:
“I prefer spreadsheets because it’s painful. Inputting expenses by hand and allocating to manually entering each expense in excel is painful but it keeps me accountable and honest. I don’t want it to be easier.”
This interview of the user that said this is where the concept for a mentorship platform stimulated from. Slackers transitioned into an application where users can notate the support they need and be assigned mentor to support them.
Wireflows for New Concept
Create a platform and community where individuals can trade knowledge as currency.
Through social media, human connection, and trade, Buddy and Barter is a way for people to grow their personal knowledge while offering something money can’t buy, personal experience. This personal experience is unique to each person and has resulted in a niche knowledge set. Buddy and Barter has made it possible for a community to share that knowledge in a way that feels mutually beneficial to all parties.
The Main Features
What's Different About Buddy & Barter
What’s different about Buddy and Barter in comparison to other social media platforms?
Social media is such a complex place. Intertwined within all the propaganda, misinformation, and lack of transparency, there are a lot of good intentions.
Buddy and Barter is not a social platform for all types of miscellaneous content. It is intended to be focused and value driven. This is a space for people to seek out information from someone else that could benefit from knowledge from them.
Buddy and Barter wants to allow people to organically teach and create content for others who may learn differently and/or a level the plane and ensure they are getting as much back as they are giving out!
Now, this methodology isn’t perfect. It will need to evolve as the platform and its users evolve. However, Buddy and Barter has a solid, user centric foundation and intends to bring value to its users.
Buddy and Barter will take on a freemium business model.
The freemium model allows users to join Buddy and Barter for no costs and will allow them up to 20 collaboration matches a day. These users can freely explore the application with the basic package. But users will be able to opt into additional chargers for higher visibility, and activity within the app.
For example, if a user wants more than 20 collaborations in a day, they will have the opportunity to upgrade their services.
The Next Steps
Buddy and Barter is not just stopping at a bartered knowledge, it wants to expand beyond that. In V2, this app will add alternative users to the platform. The three users types will include:
The app is here to empower users in whatever way they need. Buddy and Barter is an inclusive platform with a few main goals. Connection, collaboration, motivation, and knowledge sharing.
The Creator's Note
Buddy and Barter was created with mental health support at the forefront.
While knowledge sharing may not seem mental health focused, the overarching goal is to ensure the users feel supported, on any topic, and don’t feel as though they are limited based on their financial expenditure.
Anyone looking to grow their brain is welcome here.