Exercise 56 – What innovative new product can make park gatherings be more social, with strangers?

Post and review answers and feedback to answers in the comments section of this post.

See also:

How to answer a product design question in a product manager job interview

List of product design questions for product manager job interviews

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Ashish Diab
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Ashish Diab

I would want some clarity on the definition of “more social”. I’m going to assume that it means strangers can socialize with each other and have a good time.
I will also ask what kind of product the interviewer has in mind. Will it be a physical product or a virtual product such as an app? Given that I’m most likely being interviewed for a technology related role, I’m going to assume that an app will be the form of the product.

There are various demographics that come to parks. I’ve listed a few from a ‘pupose of visiting a park’ perspective:
– Dog walkers
– People interested in socializing and meeting people
– Individuals / groups interested in plays / sports
– People interested in doing a walk / hike in the park
– People taking children to park
– Explorers & Tourists

I’m going to focus on the second group here. I think the second and third group are very inter-related and one can belong to both groups.

When I think about my target user segment, here are some user needs / use cases that come to mind:

– Anxiety – Does the group have anything in common with the person?
– Breaking the ice – first conversation with someone / group on a topic
– People in the group – are they normal people?
– Finding something interesting to talk about
– People like to meet people with similar interest
– Finding a way to stay in touch with interesting people they meet

Here are a few ideas that come to my mind:
1. Create a functionality where people interested in joining a group can request to join a park gathering by explaining why they want to join / answering pre-determined questions. The answers can be funny and jokes. Members vote on it and based on the results, a person will be invited if a certain threshold is met. It creates an interesting topic for conversation in the group and also ensures that people with similar interests join the group. It also creates some topics to talk about when the person joins the group.
2. Allow users of the app to see clusters of topics of interest in each group so that they know what interests people in each group
3. Present the time the park gathering has started and its estimated length of time and end time (based on historical data)
4. Allow users to review people’s profiles in the app (see their interests, reviews, friends, hobbies, etc)
5. Present list of games / plays available to play in the group (users can chose which games / sports equipment they’ve brought in so others can see what games / plays are available)
6. Allow people to add / follow each other to their park gathering groups
7. Enable users to broadcast their intention to visit a park to their followers / friends

Here is how I would rank these items from the two perspectives of impact to the customer and cost of implementation.

Idea 1. High impact. Meidum effort.
Idea 2. High impact. Low effort.
Idea 3. Medium impact. Low effort.
Idea 4. High impact. Low effort.
Idea 5. Medium impact. Low effort.
Idea 6. Low impact. Low effort.
Idea 7. Low impact. Low effort

Based on the above evaluation, I suggest building a match making app that helps people find others with similar interests to join their park gatherings. By enabling users to find groups with similar interests (whether it’s general interesting topics to discuss, sports , board games, etc), having something in common helps them connect with each other more quickly. I would priortize ideas 1,2,4 in the first version of the product.

Bijan
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Bijan

Thanks for the answer Ashish. The structure is well and you do list a set of interesting use cases and solutions. I have a couple feedback:

– Is there any other way you can think of segmenting the users? I wonder if there are better ways. Maybe other viewers can share their thoughts on this.

– Ideally, if you had more time to type:), you could explain how evaluation process for each feature is done by you. For example, why is feature 1 high impact on UX, and medium effort to develop? In the real interview scenario, you’ll have to explain the logic behind your evaluation for each feature.

Hope it helps.