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Role

Product Designer

Project Type

Academic

Tools Used

Figma, Sketch, Invision

Duration

´╗┐8 weeks

How might we improve collaboration among creative freelance professionals in the age of COVID-19 in order to stimulate productivity and creativity while positively impacting users' mental health.

Design Process

Before diving deep in a new challenge it is necessary to create a plan. I followed the Double Diamond framework.

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Problem Space

When choosing my Capstone Project, I recalled a conversation I had with my friend in the summer who is an Art Director. During this conversation he was lamenting about how difficult it was to find professionals in the creative space to collaborate with whenever he was giving a Project Brief by a client. This gave me a real problem to solve.

I wanted to know if other creative professionals in the industry were having the same challanges when it came to collaboarating, so I did some secondary research to kick start this project and here is what I found:

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Project Goal

After finding out that this was a common problem in the creative space, I sought out to create a digital solution to enhance collaboration among freelance creative professionals. Collaboration plays such a vital role in the conceptualization and execution of projects. Creatives do not work in silos. Well-exeucted projects are driven by well-organized and exceptionally-talented teams of individuals.

Market & Competitor Research

In order to understand the current landscape of this problem space better, I did a comparison of similar products currently available on the market. I looked at three different products and the benefits they each offered to their users.

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Interview Insights

For my primary research, I decided to use the interview method, conducting one-on-one interviews with millennial creative professionals who had experience collaborating with other creative professionals. I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of how they find work and professionals to collaborate with. I also wanted to know what was missing from the process and what they thought might make it better.

I discovered themes from the interviews that allowed me to narrow my focus on what I could solve with a native app solution that would make the biggest impact for users.

5 interviews
Recruited from my professional network
21 - 35 years
Conducted over Zoom
20 open-ended questions
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Persona

In order to synthesize my interview findings and really tailor my solution, I created a primary persona to represent the needs, wants, motivations and frustrations of my target user. Allow me to introduce you to Lisa Dutti!

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Experience Map

With Lisa as my point of reference, I wanted to understand how she currently experiences collaboration on projects. I mapped out her current state in an experience map and used this to identify areas of opportunity to best help her.

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At the beginning of this project, I set out with a "how might we" question that would act as a northern star to guide my solution development. It asked "How might we improve collaboration among creative professionals amidst COVID-19 in order to enhance the quality of work produced?

At this stage in the Double Diamond, after thinking divergently and working my way towards a convergent action, I revised my "how might we" question to better suit the needs of the users that I interviewed.

How might we improve collaboration among creative freelance professionals in the age of COVID-19 in order to improve the quality of work produced.

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Task Selection

With a HMW question and our primary persona Lisa at the forefront, I authored user stories under three main epics that started to direct the functionality of my solution. After authoring these user stories, I revisited the persona, the interview insights, and the experience map and then decided that the core epic the minimum viable product will focus on was "content-creation"

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Sketching

The core has been chosen, so the next step was to begin the divergent process of ideating by starting with the age old pen and paper. I started off with organized doodling, moved on to "crazy 8" sketching and eventually ended with three concept sketches for the chosen task flow.

(Concept 1 did not make the cut for this presentation)

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Task Flow Refinement

The initial task flow was quite limited in functionality. In order to communicate the core value proposition of the digital product, I decided to go ahead and add some more features that would further complement the experience of the app

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Wireframing

I presented my sketches to a couple of test users which I interviewed and discovered that concept 3 was the most effective way to solve the problem for the target users. From these sketches, I created a mid-fidelity prototype that could represent the functionality of my solution in order to get feedback from usability testing as quickly as possible.

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Testing

With an initial mid-fidelity prototype ready to go, I conducted 5 usability tests with users that fit my target audience criteria. I recorded their responses, iterated on the design, while also marginally increasing the fidelity. I then took the second version of the mid-fidelity prototype and conducted another round of usability tests with 5 new participants. Below are crucial changes that were made between versions 1, 2 and 3

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ITERATION

Digital Wireframes

After completing the sketches, I took elements from each version and combined them to create a mid-fidelity digital wireframe to be used for user testing

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User Testing

Now that I had created the digital wireframes, it was time to test the prototype on real people to determine the intuitiveness of the flow. Two rounds of user testing was conducted with 5 users each round. I highlighted a list of tasks my interviewee would need to complete.

1. Finding Inspiration

2. Viewing the profile of the user that posted the work

3. Connecting with user

4. Starting a conversation with user

5. Adding user to a new project

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After the first round of user testing, I categorized my findings in a scale that matched my effort along the horizontal-axis against the potential impact on the user along the vertical-axis.

I prioritized the low effort - high impact tasks and chose to implement those changes n my next iteration.

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I prioritized the high-impact and low-effort tasks once again, due to time constraint, thus only making changes to the following screens.

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VISUAL IDENTITY

After testing my prototype, it was time to figure out the brand identity of my product and how I wanted it to be perceived on the market.

I began brainstorming adjectives that accurately described the brand.

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Informed by these adjectives, I started to assemble images to create a moodboard

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From the moodboard, several colors were extracted, and then primary and secondary brand colors were carefully chosen based on that selection. 

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An inspiration board was also chosen to highlight certain elements i would like to include in my final product

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While coming up woth a brand name, I wanted a phrase that communicated the fun/social element with the networking/collaboration element. So I began brainstorming possible word pairings that accentuated that purpose. 

I decided to go with the name of Creative Link. 

Selected Works

Creative LinkAcademic