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MATCH & SWAP: Get Matched. Meet up. Swap Skills. Learn Something New. (Updated 7/29 with Design Ideas)

An online platform that matches a "mentor" and "mentee" who have common interests and values, and a complimentary sets of skills. Your "Match & Swap" profile would work a bit like a dating site - answering a series of questions so that the other person may get to know you, and the platform can appropriately match you with someone you would be interested to meet. In addition to personal profile questions, you would be able to select skills or topics you are interested in learning more about such as: "Italian Cooking", "Vehicle Mechanics", "Gardening 101", "Golf", "American History", "Internet 101", "Digital Camera Basics", "Woodworking" etc... You will be matched with someone who you will likely enjoy and learn from.

Photo of Selina McPherson
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How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

"MATCH & SWAP" is an online service that builds relationships by matching people based on three categories of information: 1) Values and interests 2) Skills/knowledge they are able to share and 3) Skills/knowledge they would like to acquire. (Think: meets Skillshare)
We live in a world where people are matched on the internet all the time to create meaningful relationships. Most of these "matching" sites pertain to romance (,, Tinder, etc), but what if we used the functionality capabilities of personality matching to create meaningful mentoring relationships?

The "Match & Swap" Concept does just that. It also goes one step further, to match people based on skills they would like to acquire, thereby creating mutually beneficial relationships. By also taking personalities and values into account, people may meet to exchange a particular skill, but the likelihood that a meaningful relationship could grow out of this interaction is greater!

- The Site would be designed SO simply and visually that sign up would not be complicated for users without much online experience. See below for some design guideposts that would be followed to make sure older adult users are able to understand it quickly. Additionally, I think it is important to have a very simple homepage, with an explainer video for new users. I think AirBnB's explainer video is a good inspiration point. It is approachable and easy to understand...maybe the Match and Swap video would also incorporate some "demo" shots to help people understand how to sign up. Also love's explainver video - so clear.

For additional design and UX inspiration, see images.

Design guideposts from the National Institute of Aging on designing for older users:

First Design Guidepost:
Make it clear how the information on the website is organized. Users should easily be able to determine what information your site offers and how it is organized. They should be able to figure out a starting point and predict what type of information a link will lead them to. It should also be clear how they can find more information as well as how to return to previously visited pages.

Second Design Guidepost
Keep the website structure simple and straightforward. A broad and shallow site hierarchy reduces complexity and makes it easier for visitors to learn how information is organized.

Third Design Guidepost:
Break information into short sections. Giving people a small amount of content at one time makes it easier for them to grasp and recall information.

Fourth Design Guidepost:
Group related topics visually. Use page layout to show how information is organized.Write a clear, informative heading for each section. Clear headings give people anchors on the page and help them select desired content.

The website would need to be very minimalist, especially in the sign up process, to draw attention to what is being asked of the user (the questions that they need to fill out). With minimalist and "clean" sites being also considered modern, I think that there is an elegant solution to the design that would appeal to both user groups. Please see images for some very rough mockups to give an idea of how simple the site (and sign up process) would be.

- People who have been matched and would like to meet up could do so at a public place (coffee-shop, park, etc) and then could meet at each other's house or anywhere they wish. Users would be asked to provide site location of their meet-up to give future users ideas on where to meet.

Per a variety of comments and builds for this idea (thank you, contributors!) I'd like to add an "offline" component to this idea. "Match & Swap" could organize in-person events in the community that would be a kind of "speed dating" environment. You would have a few minutes with a "mentor" or "mentee" to get to know each other, and then you would move on to the next person. At the end of the session, you could approach someone who has complimentary skills, to arrange another meeting. This would help create a more inclusive experience - accessible by those who may not be online.


Who are the target users of your idea and how does your idea speak directly to their needs, life stages and goals?

Here are some defining characteristics of the Match and Swap users: 15-24 Year Old Segment - Curious - Open to new people and Ideas - Interested in helping others - Interested in trying new things - Seeking recognition for positive community impact 50-70 Year Old Segment - Open to new ideas - Seeking Connection - Have sharable skills they are able to communicate - Somewhat internet/online literate

How might your idea scale and spread to reach as many people as possible?

AMBASSADORS: I think it would be really interesting if there were "ambassadors" in locations around the country who could introduce potential users to the Match and Swap program, and also provide classes or seminars on signing up...some way to help people get on the system and understand it (this part of ambassador program is primarily for users who are not comfortable with computers). It could also be as simple as a volunteer representative who sits at starbucks from 5-7pm once a week to help users sign up. The "Ambassador" program would target people who already have access to, or are in the service of helping, potential users...such as: - Senior Living/Community Staff (for 65+ users) - Career Services Staff (for 15-24 users) - Local Organizations based on skills who may be looking for younger members (Garden Clubs, Chess Clubs, Volunteer Groups) - Doctors/Psychiatrists (This could be a great way to reach older folks who may be suffering from loneliness/depression) - Strategic partnerships with existing organizations (Big Brothers/Big Sisters and other mentoring organizations) Youth Ambassadors: There would also be a "youth ambassador" element, in which members of the younger group could receive certificate of recognition for being a volunteer ambassador and leader in the Match and Swap Community. They could help with online and offline outreach to introduce potential users to the idea. They could also do the following: - Host Pop Up locations in their community that provides people a place to sign up and gets the word out - Spread the word via local organizations and existing mentoring programs - Help people without much online capabilities to sign up for the site Ambassadors could be found by creating strategic partnerships with a variety of organizations such as: Big Brother, Big Sister program Colleges and Universities Aspen Institute Leadership Programs Leaders for Communities Organization Irvine New Leadership Network (Please let me know if you have others to add to this list!)

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to test any assumptions you might have about your idea?

1) Introduce the idea to millenials (friends) with rough prototype to gain feedback, interest and build on the idea (DONE 7/15) 2) Create General Experience Map (DONE 7/21, see images) 3) Create rough design prototype of the online experience (DONE 7/28, see images and description) 4) Discuss idea with rough prototype with people in the 50-70yo age group, learn initial reactions, thoughts, challenges, etc. (any OpenIdeo participants in this age group, please comment with thoughts on the idea!) (DONE with family and friends 7/30) 5) Host a "Build Brainstorm" with friends on to build on everything that has been created for this idea thus far.

What aspects of your idea could benefit from the input, skills or know-how of our OpenIDEO community?

I'd love to gather thoughts on the following UPDATED 7/21: - What might be some ways to engage the older generation in using this platform? i.e. those who don't spend much time online? - Do you have any examples of sites that are INSANELY simple to sign up for? Ways where sign up and profile information is gathered in a beautiful and simple way? - I am having a little difficulty nailing down the elder target audience. What are your thoughts on the older Target audience as 50-70? And the lifestyle/character traits listed above? Would you have any to add? Thanks for your building and commenting! All ideas welcome!


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Photo of Arushi gupta

thats a really good idea

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