mobile app / team leader
FEBRUARY - APRIL 2019
Today's popular social media platforms cater more toward generating the success of popular artists rather than all artists, and the system of likes and follows for unpopular users can be detrimental to an artist's self esteem and consequently their career. The objective of CRAFT was to deliver a new social media platform that prioritizes the user experience by affording easy communication and collaboration with other local artists, acknowledging the diversity of artists, the necessity of networking, and the desire for an artist’s work to be recognized and appreciated.
The team and I used Alan Cooper's
GOAL-DIRECTED DESIGN in the development of this app.
Goal-Directed Design is a user-centered methodolody that identifies the goals of businesses + the goals and behaviors of users through 4 steps:
MEET THE TEAM
user interface designer
My role in the creation of CRAFT began with pitching the idea for the app in January 2019. My team, inspired by the mission of the app, joined me in the process of creating CRAFT within a three month time frame. My duties included managing a tight schedule for the process, organizing + conducting user interviews, overseeing all research + analysis, and working with my team to ensure the app's interactivity + visual design was sufficient for our users.
The research phase of goal-directed design starts with literature reviews. This is the step in which we sift through academic journals and web articles to find what research has been done on our topic of interest - in this case, artists and social media.
We found that current popular social media platforms only cater toward generating the success of popular artists rather than all artists. We also discovered that the like/follow system can be detrimental to an artist's self esteem and consequently their career.
We analyzed competing applications so that we could get a better idea of what and what not to include in the app. Our main competitors? Instagram, Twitter, DeviantArt and Tinder.
Instagram and Twitter are not so much popular art-sharing platforms, and are not catered specifically to artists. They do not provide efficient means of sharing art and generating an audience that will pay attention.
DeviantArt and other art-sharing platforms do provide a space where artists can share their work and attract their target audience. However, these apps are lacking an explore feature that allows users to find other artists in their area.
We did some competitive audits on Tinder in order to analyze the response to their explore feature. Although Tinder is not an art-sharing platform, it is a platform one uses to promote themself and a platform that encourages meeting people in your community.
We found that meeting local artists would be a key feature that separates us from other art sharing applications.
We took to our user base (18-24 year-olds) and asked them questions that we thought would help them fulfill our goals as well as their own goals. We asked them about their goals as artists as well as their experience as artists in the digital age.
There was a lot of repetition in our findings, including that whether the artists were students or not, if they made art now they also saw themselves making it in the future. Also, every single person we interviewed did more than one genre of art, and all agreed that social media promotes the idea that likes and follows imply worth and that that can be toxic to a user's self esteem.
The modeling phase of goal directed design includes creating personas of potential users whose goals you will be designing for.
genres: photography + cinematography
main social media platform: Instagram
end goals: to share art with an audience that cares, to receive constructive criticism on their art, to interact with others in their local art community, and to have a viable platform to network
life goals: to make a stable career out of their passions
Aaliyah is a college student who wants pursue photography and film into their future. Aaliyah uses Instagram to show off their artwork., but has been struggling with the idea of deleting their Instagram due to how much they have grown to dislike the platform's algorithm. Aaliyah claims that the algorithm does not cater to artists like them, and there is more importance placed on the user's selfies and personal life than creative content.
After realizing that likes and followers took precedent over being creative and sharing their art, Aaliyah decided that Instagram was not worth the stress. Aaliyah no longer felt that they could post their work because they receive little to no likes which gave them a sense of failure.
Aaliyah could not find a better platform to share their work. Instagram was one of the few places where they can follow other artists and draw inspiration from their work. Aaliyah has a strong desire to interact with others in the art community, but finds that most are distracted by gaining likes and followers.
Aaliyah longs to share their art on a platform that promotes being creative and acts as a safe space where they can interact with and collaborate with other artists in the community.
After we recognized our user's goals, we moved on to the requirements phase where we began to plan our app's features by building an affinity map. Here we listed all the app's necessary feature's to reach these goals, as well as possible context scenarios the user may face while using the app, and accommodated its features accordingly.
Finally, taking all of our findings into account, we began building the app. The first iteration of the app had all of what we identified as the app's key features -- those identified in our affinity map.
For the final prototype, we incorporated a rainbow gradient as our branding color, as well as two accent colors from the original prototype in a very minimal design. This design required much less visual design work than trying to keep up with a limited color palette, and gave us more time to focus on the interactivity of the app. It also directs the attention to the content of the app rather than drawing attention to its visual design. We also updated features and made sure that they were all functioning at their maximum potential.
I am exceptionally proud of the work my team and I accomplished with CRAFT. Given a 3 month time-frame and no prior app-building experience, we tackled the Goal-Directed Design process with ease. That is not to say that we completed the process perfectly; we took note of our failures and acknowledged them as learning experiences. I plan to carry these lessons-- such as what to focus on in user testing and what to prioritize in regards to visual design-- into my future projects.
As for the app, I believe we have created something that the social media community is aching for: a platform that allows you to share your work freely while also encouraging the user to get off of their phones and out into the real world. CRAFT's mission was to create a space to share that was not dominated by popularity and to make users take a step back and realize that social media can be used as tool to help us connect in real life. I believe our mission is complete.