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Dating Gray is a 13-week design research project to uncover: What does it mean to search for love in the later years of life?

People retire from careers, but they don't retire from love. The quest for
love is life-long. With the aging population on the rise, a growing number of seniors find themselves back on the dating scene, but they are finding that dating is a different world than the one they experienced in their younger years.


Using generative tools and analysis methods in the interview process, we uncover the experiences, perceptions, and motivations of senior dating.

_The team: Charlie Hodges, Marguax Reynolds, Shu Ou

_Research methods: In person interviews using generative tools and several analysis tools

We asked: What does it mean to search for love in the later years of life? 


_Dater spec: People who are over 65 and are actively dating.

_Expert spec: An expert in the senior dating industry – a love coach or matchmaker

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Interview Phase: Generative Tools

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I love this analogy from Katherine, our instructor, who described the process of using generative tools as building ladders in the participant's head.


In this first phase of the research process, we developed a set of generative tools, including Timeline, Dixit Cards, and Pile Sort to learn the needs and wants of our participants.

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Knowledge Goal:

What is their dating experience?

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Knowledge Goal:

How do they see the world?

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Knowledge Goal:

What is their motivation?

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We asked participants to remember a recent date, and map what happened from getting ready, going on the date, and the end.

Participants were asked to pick two cards which represent what dating means to them now versus in the past.

Participants were asked to imagine their ideal dating outcome and arrange the word deck in a manner that made sense to them.

Key takeaway:

A great ice breaker. These personal experiences helped set up the context of dating. 

Key takeaway:

This activity helped participants transition from what happened to what they felt.

Although the dreamlike images from Dixit Cards were meant to evoke imagination and feelings, some participants found it hard to relate to these abstract images.

Key takeaway:

By defining what these words mean for themselves, the exercise revealed insights about daters’ desire, needs, or confusion during the search of love.

Analyze Phase

Affinity Diagram

K-J Method. Grouping information from interviews into clusters.

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We used a wide range of analysis methods to identify key themes and insights. These different tools helped us gain an understanding of the data as viewed from different angles.

Methods used:

- AI+POEMS framework

(Activities, Environments, Interactions,

Objects, Users)

- User Experience framework

- UX Journey Map

- Bordieu’s framework

- P.N.S.T.I.O.

(problems, needs, system challenges,

themes, insights, opportunities)

Insights & Opportunities

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