When I arrived at Meetup, they were 5 months into a major rebrand, their first since they started 14 yrs ago. I was asked to take on the lead of the Android application, working together with the iOS and web teams we shadowed the work of the external design agency set with creating the identity for Meetup. Meetup has only had a design team for 3 of their past 14 years so it was paramount we came with sound ideas and executed them to a tee. We also knew we that we needed to back up any ideas up with real data and user testing.
We held stakeholder, consumer and customer interviews spanning months, Once we had collected all the data and crystalized it, we knew we could start on the idea generation work. These interviews enabled us to come up with a core value from which we could work, and this was "Access to worlds"
This was the notion that you should be able to jump into the app and see what matters to you at a glance, be able to explore things you may not have realized you wanted to do or maybe rekindle a long lost love, the app would become your guide and this term “Access to world’s" would become our lens from which we'd view the redesign.
We were able to test our rationale by having living prototype using React Native. This enabled us to use real data, our own API endpoints and last but not least, it gave us the ability to switch up designs and try things out as quickly as possible. So much of the user testing was about — will people get excited/interested in exploring if we show them content this way, and without real data, you would have to give people a mockup and say something like “imagine all of these groups are really interesting to you, would you be interested in them?” which is a totally impossible question for people to answer. So real data in the React Native prototype really helped hone our designs.