ArtNest — A Community for Artists

Personal Motivation

As an entry level UI/UX designer, I found my passion in this field three years ago and started to treat it as my professional field. After that, I was applying for a MFA degree a year ago and now I am trying to find a related job. I personally encountered some frustrating moments during the process. For example, I really want to know someone in the same field as me that can give me some suggestions or advice on career development and learning path. I also expect someone to review and critique my projects and portfolio so that I can be more confident about my work and more competitive in the market. I tried to solve my problems through platforms like Behance, Linkedin and Reddit, however, art and design are a very small branch of them and I cannot find enough resources and information. I am at a loss and sometimes feel lonely during the process of pursuing my dream as a designer.

Therefore I was thinking about creating a communication platform especially for student and entry level artists. They are encouraged to interact with each other by posting and answering their confusions and thoughts encountered in career development and gaining peer critique of their artwork.

Design Hypothesis

I believe that creating a communication platform for student artists/entry level artists to post and answer their confusions and thoughts encountered in career development and gain peer critique of their artwork will help them adapt to the atmosphere of debates and critique and finally be confident with their artwork.

Needfinding

I created a google form and invited some of my undergraduate and graduate friends to do this survey. They are all art-related majors, some of them have official working experience while some of them don’t.

Selected survey questions and results

From the survey, I found that my personal experience and feeling is actually a common problem for all kinds of artists. Most of the artists believe that it is harder for them to get resources in career development and learning path compared with other more popular majors. Also, most student artists/ entry level artists are not that confident about their artwork/portfolio/website and they have the desire to find more resources or suggestions from others in the same field as them.

I conducted a 20mins interview with 5 of my friends and former colleagues. These interviewees came from different age ranges, gender and art backgrounds, from students to employees, from native people to foreigners.

The interview questions includes but not limited to: Have you ever gained some critique on your artwork or resources of career development? How is your general feeling about it? Can you briefly describe that experience?

Based on the research, I build two personas.

Personas

By digging into the pain points of personas, I framed the main problems of my users.

  1. Hard to find enough resources to get objective and comprehensive critiques and evaluations of their work.
  2. Compared with other popular majors, lack of a specialized place for artists to post questions and confusions about their professional skills, artwork and career development.
  3. Couldn’t find a space for them to share and discuss with people in the same field about some insights and thoughts related to their study and work.
  4. Easy to feel alone and at a loss since there are not enough resources in the market.

I would like to create a communication platform for student and entry level artists to gain peer critique of their artwork, get rich resources to solve their confusions and questions and join various groups to interact with like-minded people will help them adapt to the atmosphere of debates and critique and finally be confident with their work.

  1. Give and gain peer critique of user’s artwork/portfolio
  2. Post and answer questions
  3. Join various groups/communities and communicate with other artists
  4. Promote customized articles and questions to users based on their interests

According to the key features, I made several user flows align with each key feature by using the shorthand method.

User flows

Moving forward, I created a set of user stories. This helped me delineate the features and abilities of the product.

A list of user stories

Design Process

Based on the guideline of user stories and user flows, I created a low fidelity wireframe.

After receiving helpful feedback from my peers, I realized that the app is a little bit overwhelming because it covers too many aspects. I need to narrow it down. They also pointed out the direct feedback function (critique & asking questions) is the most outstanding and innovative part of the app. Therefore, I decided to focus strongly on the direct feedback part and deleted the long-form writing/blogging function.

After implementing the feedback I received about wireframes, I designed a high fidelity prototype.

Hi-fi prototype(sign up process)
Hi-fi prototype(key features screen)

I had a few people take a look at the prototype, including Joel Salisbury and Apoorva Kulkarni. The general feedback was helpful and valuable to me. One of the feedback was that since I have multi-step questions when signing up, users would feel confused and had no idea about how long the sign-up process is. Therefore, added a stepper component as the visual cue to keep users informed about the current status.

Revised sign up process

Another feedback I got was adding loading and confirmation status. Therefore I add the loading and confirmation screen in “posting your work”, “creating a group” and “ask a question” function.

Feel free to check the final prototype here!

This article was written in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Fall 2020 section of DMD 3035 — Interaction Design at the University of Connecticut, Digital Media & Design Department.

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