A healthy approach
to creating a social
networking tool

After graduating in 2016, I was approached by a director at IBM to reimagine how we use social media. We ended up creating Qrosity, a social networking platform that aligns with our natural abilities to communicate. 
Product design
Visual design
Design research
I employed IBM’s Design Thinking to ideate and create the platform, generated wireframes, lead research with CU Boulder, created prototypes, worked with teams of developers, made pitch decks, marketing/brand material, and video assets.
Johnny Garnica – CEO
Kyle O’Neill – Creative
Anil – CTO
Mijael – Dev
Augusto – Dev

Social media is eroding our
natural communication skills

Traditional social networks have implemented mechanics and features aimed to influence how we interact with each other. Social interactions on these platforms goes againts the “real world,” face-to-face social interactions, that we know is healthy.

The goal of communication technology was to allow communication instantaneously across large distances, without barriers to access. We have reached the point where we have achieved almost total efficiency on both of these fronts. As social networks have achieved mass adoption, they have been re-designed to achieve specific metrics related to attention, and to gather personal data for more effective advertising. 

1. Social Media Detracts from face-to-face relationships

Social media distracts users from engaging in face-to-face interactions with other people, they use their mobile devices as a sort of ‘defense mechanism’ in public settings to avoid face-to-face engagement with strangers. Over time this can lead to social avoidance that can take away critical social skills when engaging someone in a face-to-face social situation/relationship. 

2. Social Media reduces engagement in meaningful activities / Increases sedentary behavior

When engaging with social media, people are withdrawn from the world that surrounds them. Content is consumed passively, which enables people to form habits that detract from interacting from the physical world. Over time this can lead to a reduced amount of engagement in meaningful activities and increase sedentary behavior.

3. Social Media erodes self-esteem

One of the most compelling aspects of social media is being able to observe other people’s lives as they most like to portray it. Unfortunately this ‘highlight reel’ of observing peoples life experiences can lead to a negative comparison of your own life. This unhealthy social comparison can lead to a weakened sense of self-worth and erode self-esteem.


So how do we solve these problems
while keeping social media’s core values?

Prior research has shown that the use of social media … (1)

Detracts from face-to-face relationships

Reduces engagement in meaningful activities

Increases sedentary behavior

Erodes self-esteem

The initial value proposition of social networks was to…

Increase the ease of communication

Expand your social network

Share life experiences


Visualizing the concept

One of the best ways to convey a new idea is through video, so we decided to make a video visualizing how we imagined people using Qrosity in a real life setting. I storyboarded and shot the video using a DSLR/DJI Drone from my universities design dept. then with the help of a few classmates we delivered.

Our Core Beliefs

In our approach to craft a social media tool that emphasizes a healthy experience along with keeping the value of the original goals of social networking, we identified our core beliefs that Qrosity would try to challenge traditional social media with.

Sharing what we have
in common is the best
way to connect.

Sharing a common interest with somone is the best
way to start a relationship. By establishing something
in common, you can easily start a conversation with
something you are both passionate about.

Select interests that
are unique as you are

No two people are exactly alike, so we gave the
ability for people to choose an unlimited amount of
interests. No matter what you are into you can
find someone with something in common.

Profiles that simulates 
a real life introduction 

Our goal was to create a profile page that was close to
a real life introduction as much as possible, first you see
the person, you learn their name, you find out what their
interests are, and then you learn more about them.


Marketing message research with students from CU Boulder Leeds school of business

We were given the opportunity to work with a small team of students from CU Boulder Leeds school of business, over the course of a semester 12 students conducted research into marketing insights on campus. Following design research methods, the students we’re able to create a marketing message that fit three market segments.


Target Segments

The team identified three market segments that could benefit the most from using a social tool like Qrosity. This included Greek life at CU Boulder, Active lifestyle (Students who enjoy and engage in sports/outdoor activities), and academic groups. These segments narrowed down the personas which would help to create the marketing message.


Greek Life

Our dive into the Greek personas revealed that people like Jared and Katie are looking to branch out from their usual social circle. At the same time they seek refuge in having a relatable social environment within CU’s greek life. Instead of challenging them to meet new people outside of Greek life, we want them to join a social network that they would feel more accustomed to, supporting and leveraging CU’s established Greek network.



Qrosity can create endless opportunities for those involved in Greek Life. Opening the door to connect with neighboring chapters. Alumni, and other active members of the Greek community.


Active Lifestyle

CU Boulder attracts people who love to be outdoors and engage in activities related to sports. The persona Sierra Lindeberg personified this engagement with this sort of lifestyle. We inferred that these individuals enjoy a challenge while engaging with people who share like minded ambitions.



Qrosity provides the connection and opportunity for any student to unlock their full potential, though being active, adventurous and making lifelong friendships.



The University of Colorado Boulder also attracts academically inclined individuals who are focused more on getting the most out of their educational experience. Their goals rely more on achieving high grades than participating in social functions or physical activities, yet there is a need to network in order to achieve their academic goals.


It’s not cheating. It’s networking!

Qrosity is a unique, networking platform that students can utilize to connect with their peers to enhance course efficiency by working together to generate better results and lasting classmates.


Sponsoring events on campus

When the product and marketing messages were ready, we launched exclusively at CU Boulder. One common finding through the marketing research was that students loved to go concerts, but didn’t want to attend without going with someone they know. So we decided to sponsor a concert on campus to gain visibility and to test out Qrosity’s ability to bring people together.