Light Mode, Dark Mode, and Gen-Z Mode

March 15, 2022

I'm a 33 year old straight male and you could sum up my design sense as pretty "basic." Err— sorry, "cheugy."

Last night, I was sitting down to dinner with Anya, my co-founders friend. I pulled out the Filteroff app and was showing her how it works.

"It's so sterile," she said. "Huh?" I asked. "Yeah, it's just so boring. So sterile."

My immediate reaction was to get defensive. But, curiosity got the best of me— "Hmm... Can you show me something that isn't 'sterile'?" She quickly opens her phone and navigates to partiful.com and shows it to me. "It's so exciting. Every time I open it, it makes me happy. Sometimes they have doge pop up!"

I stare at the page for a second. My brain hurts. I hate it. It felt... distracting, maximal, cluttered, weirdly transparent. Little sparkles animate over the page.

"How old are you?" I asked.

"Twenty-five."

"Of course you are."

Okay... I didn't say that last bit, but I definitely thought it. I'm getting old.

Boring on purpose

Looking back at our app, I'm realizing... the UI is kinda boring. It's built more like a utility app. This was intentional.

Filteroff is video speed dating. We launched our app prior to the pandemic, and have people aged 18 to 75 using it. A lot of the video speed dating UX paradigms are complex, and novel for many users.

"How do I turn on my camera?" is an all too common email we receive.

Making the UI too busy seems a distraction.

But, Gen-Z knows how to turn on their camera. I was met with similar responses about our app after asking a few more people in their 20s. Yeah, it's a tiny sample size, but many do not like "millennial minimalism."

The "millenial kitchen" (builder.com)

A new UI theme

One idea I had was tweaking the app theme based on age. If you're a member of Gen-Z, you'd see a Gen-Z theme. But, to be honest, what the heck is Gen-Z design? Is it "fun?" Us millennials aren't fun. Maybe it's the opposite of minimalist?

I went to Pexels and searched for "Gen-Z" and it showed me pictures of a woman holding a bush...

Filteroff for Gen-Z

I'm not sure if we'll actually go through with it. We have some bigger fish to fry, but it would be a fun setting to create. :)

Image credit: pexels.com, builder.com

We're hiring a creative director!

-- UPDATE APRIL 1, 2022

Looks like William over at Shopify implemented it!