I began sketching the home/feed and experimenting with a few different layouts. The goal was an experience that gave the user an easily digestible feed of information and quick access to the key features. I toyed with navigation placement, as well as swiping functionality, discussion layout, etc.
As I moved into digital, I began iterating on layout and navigation. Noting that the primary user may not be especially tech-savvy, I opted to keep the hamburger menu (category section) and search field in the top navigation to be familiar and comfortable. The essential buttons live in fixed bottom nav all within thumb's reach; extra focus on the post icon to keep it handy and encourage the user to do so. I referenced my notes through the whole process, and let them be my guide to ensure I was following the users core needs.
When I started tweaking visual elements of the wireframes I knew it was time to move to ui design. While I was researching the word "discussion" I noted a few synonyms that really stood out. The word "huddle" reminded me of my younger years playing soccer and team collaboration. I decided to use that as the app name, and came up with a quick conversation mark to support the typography. I chose a cool, clean color palette for the app ui with a more playful secondary set of colors to quickly distinguish the different categories.
The finished solution
A first time experience in which the user selects categories of interest. Upon completion they are brought into a feed inspired by their selected interests. The feed is very utility-driven with a colored category tag and icons to showcase likes and comments/responses to discussions. The slightly opaque feed items show a discussion the user has already interacted with. To help keep things organized, I added a slide function on each feed item that allows the user to either remove the discussion from their feed if the content is not to their taste/irrelevant, or favorite the conversation for easy access at a later time.