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Connecting Best Agers

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As the longest-standing social network for senior citizens, StayFriends had vast knowledge of customers’ needs at their best ages. With careers coming to an end and kids out of the house, many found themselves lonely and trying to connect to people who shared their interests. Looking for companionship, friendship, or even a new romance proved difficult with the given solutions.

From a business perspective, StayFriends was looking for a new business opportunity beyond the established model of reconnecting classmates as we faced ourselves in a changing environment due to the steady rise of social networks like Facebook, growth was limited.

User Research


Design Sprints

Design Sprint

Building on existing understanding of our "Best Agers" and data, we sought a clear picture of our customers' challenges with current solutions for social connection.

Focus Groups paired with Interview sessions revealed that while loosely keeping people connected, social media often felt a bit anonymous and offered little connection to real life. On the other hand, dating apps still had a stigma and were too pointed toward serious relationships or casual dates. What our customers longed for was somehow in the middle. While they weren't actively looking for a new romantic relationship, they were open to a relationship developing in real life from a connection they had made online.

Design Sprint
Design Sprint
Design Sprint

To keep the momentum going, we chose to run design sprints to quickly get us to viable concepts of the middle ground between loosely meeting people for joined events and finding a new romantic partner.

Our platform would offer users a way to connect with like-minded people online, join them for real-life leisure activities sponsored by lebensfreunde and let romance settle in only when they were ready for it.

From chats to romance

Fast Market Entry

Knowing we weren’t entering what you would call a blue ocean but a market with many competitors, we needed to test our ideas in the market as quickly as possible. Hence we decided to use what we already had in the StayFriends platform. Many of the standard user functions would be highly similar, and by spinning off from the established tech, we could save lots of time to market.

Key Mobile Experience

We learned from qualitative research and analytics data that many customers used the platform on mobile devices. Therefore, in addition to our responsive web application, we decided to invest in native apps for iOS and Android to ensure an optimal user experience.

One of the critical aspects in the customer journey was finding suitable people to connect with that were looking for the same type of „relationship“ they were. Analytics showed that viewing more profiles would increase engagement with the platform, lead to higher satisfaction, and ultimately more upgrades to our paid membership tiers.

With profile visits as our North Star KPI, we built a mobile experience centered around optimized profile viewing.

App experience
App experience
App experience

Performance Increase

While the mobile web version of our platform was delivering around four profile visits per session, we were able to push that measure up to 23 profiles per visit in our native mobile apps. This increase yielded a significant increase in user engagement, membership upgrades, and a healthy revenue increase.


The work on proved to me that even in seemingly crowded markets, there could be niches with a specialized target group and angle. A proper design practice can uncover these opportunities rather quickly.

Focus groups, while not ideal, can help identify areas suited for future investigation by other research methods. Using existing tech to get early market validation may be fast but will lead to more extensive rebuilds at a later stage. Starting with an MVP version instead may ultimately be more resource conscious.