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Long- distance friendships: bridging the gap between miles and hearts  

This asynchronous app will help in strengthening the friendships despite time zone differences and busy schedules. 
Project Overview
This was an academic project as part of my Interaction Design Practices course at Luddy School of Informatics and Computing. 

We were a team of 4 designers and I did my share of the each part of the entire design process from user research to usability testing. 
Product designer
Project duration 
6 weeks 


Microsoft teams  



User Research 
UX Design 

Interaction Design 
Usability Testing 
Visual Design 

Project Background
The COVID-19 pandemic forced people to rapidly increase their use of social computing technologies for ordinary social activities such as hanging out, attending work or school, and going out to restaurants and bars.

While some of these changes, such as live streaming events and hybrid online/offline meetings, are likely to become part of a new normal, there is still a need for innovation in social computing systems to support people as we emerge from a sustained time of social distancing. 
Project Overview
ASYNC is a product that lets you connect with your friends asynchronously. It has three main features:

Walk: This feature lets you start a walk with your friend and record a podcast during the walk. You can also click photos during the walk and share it to your friend who is in a different time zone. Your friend can then listen to the podcast in their own free time when they go on a walk and record their own podcast and reply it back in the similar way the first friend did.
Podcast: This feature lets you record a podcast and send it to your friends. You can also decide a topic and host a podcast together (synchronously).

Shared activities: This feature lets you share your comments and progress on activities like reading books, watching movies, hanging out together in a VR common ground asynchronously.
Initial problem discovery 
What problem are we trying to solve ?
"Communication".   " Time zone differences".   " FOMO".

These problems are due to the distance and time difference between friends. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and difficulty staying connected. It can also be difficult to maintain trust and commitment in a long-distance friendship, especially during difficult times. Additionally, it can be challenging to maintain shared interests with long distance friends, as they may be exposed to different experiences and cultures. 

Initial Research/ Problem Validation  
Why is this problem important ?
"Growing Problem ".   " Not Well Understood". 

The problem of maintaining long-distance friendships is important to study because it is a common problem and because it is a growing problem that can have a significant impact on people's well-being. 


According to a 2022 study by the Pew Research Center

of the adults have at least one long-distance friend. This means that a large number of people are affected by this problem.

Studying the problem of maintaining long-distance friendships can help us to better understand the challenges that people in these relationships face and to develop strategies for overcoming these challenges. This can lead to stronger and more fulfilling long-distance friendships for everyone.

Primary Research 

For our primary research, we have conducted interviews asynchronously using Google Forms, and we have selected our interviewees in such a way that both perspectives of a similar scenario are covered, which is what we have asked two friends who are staying away. We have taken 3 sets of 2 interviews in such a manner so that we get a rounded perspective, as we believe both parties in the friendship play a crucial role in maintaining the relationship.

Key Findings
  • Missing in-person everyday interactions

  • Missing notable events in each other's lives due to time zone differences and busy schedules

  • Maintaining regular communication and keeping up with each other's lives

  • Misunderstandings and miscommunications due to the lack of face-to-face interaction

  • Feeling neglected or ignored

  • Feeling overwhelmed or suffocated

  • Changes in priorities and lifestyles leading to a loss of connection

  • Jealousy and resentment

  • Sharing experiences from various parts of the world

  • Gaining a new perspective on life

  • Learning about different cultures

  • Having a friend who is always there for them, even if they are far away

Secondary  Research 

"Long-distance friendships are like plants. They need to be watered and nurtured regularly, or they will wilt."

During our secondary research from “Examining the maintenance of friendships: Are there differences between geographically close and long‐distance friends? By Amy Janan Johnson” paper, we found that 90% of individuals have at least one close long-distance friend with whom they cannot understand the feelings of others as compared to face-to-face. As the distance increases, the opportunities decrease, and with that, the cost of maintaining the friendship (such as visiting them) even increases, which makes the relationship even harder.


Maintenance of any relationship requires some basic rules or principles, like:

  • Direct discussions/openness.

  • Reassuring each other.

  • Performing routine tasks together

  • Finding new activities to do together despite the distance.

  • calling or texting them to keep them updated and know their updates.

  • Having healthy conversations.


Doing activities and spending time together was considered a luxury and energy-consuming activity rather than something basic. The relationship continued to be great between people when they accepted that there would be a change in relationships when they were apart. Adjusting and understanding each other is very crucial to a continued relationship.

Analyzing the data 

Our main goal is to bridge the gap that current applications are failing to do, like reducing the effort on the part of the individual to do something by opening the app rather than feeling natural. Our design must feel natural to the users, and this must be simple enough so that it does not add to their list of duties but just aids them in staying connected as they please.

We particularly found the approach of ludic engagement interesting, and we believe that by integrating features like collaborative play, interactive feedback, and personalization, the system can be more effective in facilitating long-distance friendships.

Cognitive Walkthrough Report (CWR) 
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Story boarding 
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Friends maintaining their habits from when they were together while connecting

asynchronously using podcasts.

A group of friends playing games virtually both synchronously and asynchronously

Key Features 

1.Registration and User Profiles:


The app requires users to create a profile that includes basic information such as name, age, location, and interests. Users can also upload a profile picture and write a brief introduction to help others get to know them better.



In this feature, the user can upload his/her podcasts and view their and his/her friends podcasts as well.


2. Communication Tools:

The main home screen has a main menu, which offers the app's key features which are walk, podcast and shared activities, a shortcut key to find friends easily and the taskbar includes the user's profile, a calendar, home button, the to-do list, and an option to view the friend's list.

3. Friend Management:


The app includes features that help users manage their friendships, such as reminders for important dates and events, and the ability to save and share photos and memories.



Firstly, the user can select a friend they want to share a walk with. The walk-home screen also shows suggested places with respect to the user's interest and hobbies.

In the walk feature, the user can record and upload a podcast. They can also share a picture of their walk with their selected friend.



This feature contains options such as reading a book, watching a movie, and shopping online together.

Information Architecture 
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Low-Fi Prototype
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    Low-Fi                                   Prototype 
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           High-Fi                     Prototype 
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