The Problem

The prompt we received for this project was to design a meme-generator app. A meme (/miːm/ MEEM) is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads by means of imitation from person to person within a culture. Before we started to design, we completed stages of research and empathy while finding opportunities to input meme into daily life. 

Design Phases

The Solution

We designed MEmeTalk as an iMessage Extension App that allows users to easily create, organize and share their intimate memes within texts. MEmeTalk expands the texting conversations to be more personal, intimate, and fun beyond typing and emojis.


Market Research

User Interview

We started with market research, trying to dig into meme’s influences and impact to daily communications, so that we could discover a fitable experience design to better satisfy user needs.

We found that memes have increasingly dominated online communications between young generations.
Communication platforms such as Instagram, Messenger, iMessage have shown a large tendency of incorporating memes as a plug-in when using type. Due to the popularity of memes, many large accounts on Instagram treat Twitter, Instagram as a content-management system for laying out images with text, but that comes with huge limitations. As the memes get more visually complex, users are looking for a more comprehensive tool to easily produce unique content. This platform is ideally ads-free, user-friendly, and with a rich library of stock images and editing options. Meanwhile, the product should build a bridge between the communication Apps and the memes user created to better encourage user engagements.

︎ Resource: 
As Memes Evolve, Apps Are Struggling to Keep Up
Increasing and Visualising Meme Effectiveness
Analysis of the use of memes as an exponent of collective coping during COVID-19 in Puerto Rico

To understand user behaviors, frustrations, and goals of using memes in digital conversation, we sent out a survey to collect data for further synthesis, and we were able to receive 33 responses. Here are some key Insights.

[ View User Interview Synthesis in PDF ]



User Journey

Problem Statement

User Stories &
Product Requirements

Sarah is an accountant who just started her career in New York City. She communicates with her friends through iMessage on a daily bases and often uses memes as a great tool to express her emotions and feelings. Sarah is interested in generating her own meme using images and videos she collected for herself and her friends but looking for an all-in-one platform to generate, share, and archive the assets.


Application Map

Paper Prototype


User flow 1: Create own meme from importing materials.
User flow 2: Customize to personal meme from meme stocks.
User flow 3: A place to find created and saved memes.

Usability Test


Test Objectives

  • To recruite 6 targeted users (gen-z).
  • To determine design inconsistencies and usability problem areas within the user interface and content areas.
  • To collect user’s feedback on Ease of Use, User Satisfaction, Ease of Finding Information, Navigation Flow.

User Tasks

  • Create a Meme from importing: customize, save and share directly to a conversation.
  • Browsing Gallery: save to collection; use this as a template; swap images; save and share to Instagram story.
  • Check saved memes at MEme and try sharing.

Qualitative Data Reports

Ease of use : average reach to 4.6 out of 5
User Satisfaction: 3.8 out of 5
Ease of Finding Information: 4.1 out of 5
Navigation Flow: 4.2 out of 5


This usability test has shown the app is very easy to use with an average score of 4.6 on the three tasks performed: Users have generally shown a small learning curve when using the create function due to how we adopt the behavioral patterns of most of the design software in the market;

However, many users indicates that they don’t have the motivation to download another app for this feature: 70% of the users also said they would prefer this app to be a lite plug-in for iMessages instead of an individual app they have to download. There also have been some suggestions on the organization styles for “My work” and “Liked” such as adding folders or customizable labels for easier search in future use.

Overall, this usability test provided great feedback from the users with practical suggestions that the team can utilize to further improve the app.

Type of Output

We changed from an iOS mobile app to an iOS iMessage Extension app. 70% of interviewees from the user test expressed that they are not motivated to download another app for this feature; in addition, our product goal is to increase the usage of this feature. Embedding the app in the iMessage would increase ease of use and accessibility.
User Flow
We chose to focus on the third user flow and make a hi-fi prototype for further user testing. This is the highlight of our product which shows a key personalization and well-organization of personal memes. Our first two user flow shows the basic features of customizing personal meme. 50% of interviewees reported that they are easy to use and basic, like any other photo editing applications. We wanted to keep the basic features because our users seem to have built familiarity and habits with editing photos. 
Added Features
We added customizable folder organizations for our users to save their created memes and favorited memes from our meme gallery; We also provide two built-in-app folders- “Recent” and “Favorited” for users to have a local album without any customization;


Design Principles

Taking the insights from our research and user testing results, we made these design principles before we jump into the iterated prototyple:

Less is More
Since this extension app is built for iMessage, we wanted to keep the minimal aesthetic but keep our fun! We kept the simplicity of interface design, and added a touch of vibrant colors into it.

Consistency is Key
We keep the consistency by implementing the right UI components and repeating them to help users pick up our product much faster.

Keep Visual Hierarchy in Mind
Since the gif memes could be chaotic and busy in the eyes, we used a lot of negative spaces and varies button sizes to distinguish our UI components, to give a clear visual hierachy that helps users’ eyes move across the interface from the most crucial aspect to the least gradually.

Provide The Right Amount of Control to The User
We provided redo and undo options to let users have a exit button when they are at the wrong page. We also build our required gestures based oh iOS user behavioral pattern & habits to shorten the learning curve.

Iterated Prototype


︎Provide the right output to solve the need.

Both user interviews and user testing have shown that users find more mobile apps a burden when solving too specific of a problem. We have received positive feedback about changing our solution from an app to an extension. Again, it proves the importance of validating the product with actual users, and don’t be afraid to fail! 

︎Seek user feedback continually.

The user testing allowed us to change to a more solid concept. Conducting user testing helped us better design the experience. In this case, the user testing exposed problems we could have identified: the user motivation and adoption of the mobile app.

©  Lynette Huang 2023

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