The challenge: There are so many cities all around the world with vibrant art scenes and communities. For people interested in learning more about art and local artists, it can be overwhelming or hard to know where to start without insider knowledge or any connections to the art world.
The solution: Curator is an app that allows users to learn more about local art galleries and artists and also lets users track arts-based events in their area like shows and gallery openings.
My role: Lead Designer and UX Researcher
Tools: Figma, Miro, and Userinterviews.com
To get a better understanding of the users I would be designing for and their needs, I conducted a round of user interviews early in the process. I utilized the resource Userinterviews.com. This allowed me to have potential interviewees complete a screener survey so that I could find participants who align with my target users, while also ensuring that I was interviewing a diverse group of people.
Once I had recruited a group of participants, I scheduled Zoom calls with each person and asked them about their experiences with visiting art galleries in their area and doing research on artists that interested them.
Learnings: A key learning I took away from the interviews was that many participants, rather than utilizing a search engine like Google, were much more interested in connecting with an artist directly, either online or in-person at an event to learn more about them and their work.
I also conducted a competitive analysis, looking at apps centered around art galleries and artists (as well as one focused on music but that also tracked live events), to look for gaps in the market and areas for improvement.
Learnings: In conducting a competitive analysis with other arts-based apps, I learned that while there are several products that are focused on connecting artists with patrons and collectors in order to sell their artwork, there is a lot of room in the market for apps focused on introducing new patrons to the art world and allowing them to find and track local events based on their location.
From paper wireframes to low-fidelity prototyping
After sketching out initial ideas as paper wireframes, I built out digital wireframes, focusing on the structure and IA for the screens, as well as what screens would actually be needed to help the user accomplish their goals. Once the digital wireframes were ready, I linked up a low-fidelity prototype in Figma that could then be used for usability testing.
Usability testing and iteration
I conducted two rounds of usability tests. The first with my low-fidelity prototype and the second with my high-fidelity prototype. This allowed me to iterate on and modify my designs to create a better overall experience.
This was a key change made after feedback from the first round of usability testing. Previously, I had added an overlay/pop-up with a quick view of an upcoming event where you could either go to the event page for more details or add it to your calendar. After testing I found this was an unnecessary extra step since there is already an event page.
In my original design of the calendar page, I had not added labels for the days of the week but realized this would make it easier to read and navigate. I also added a color coding elements for events so that users are able to differentiate between them.
I created a style guide to be shared with fellow designers and other stakeholders to maintain consistency throughout the product and across different teams. I focused on key elements like typography, iconography, buttons, and color.
Through this project, I learned the importance of research and testing to get real feedback from users to improve designs. It can be easy to assume you know the right solution but talking to real users is the best way to determine what is or is not working.