The Atlanta Art Guide is a virtual art guide that aims toget people more excited and educated about local artists and artwork. The guidecurates 3 to 5 works of art monthly that are easily accessible to the public.The Atlanta Art Guide also utilizes Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a tool for engagement to lead users through thoughts and discussions surrounding art.
The Atlanta Art Guide aims to highlight the works of marginalized individuals and artists by prioritizing their advertisement on theplatform. We hope to provide them with the support that they deserve.
1. Reimagine the use of art guides within art spaces.
2. Create a tangible product that will help direct users to the platform.
3. Provide a safe place for users to discuss their thoughts surrounding art.
* I would like to note that this project is a continuation of work that was originally crafted by our wonderful team lead, Tatiana Bell.
For this project we used a methodology, called Goal –Directed Design Process which was introduced to us during our Interaction Design I course. By revisiting this design methodology for our Senior Capstone Project, we were able to implement this process with more design knowledge and experience. Goal – Directed Design (GDD) is an iterative process that utilizes qualitative research as a foundation to understand the user’s needs,goals, and motivations and synthesize them into design solutions. There are six phases in the GDD process: research, modeling, requirements definition,framework definition, refinement, and support.
As you read through this page, I will explain the development process of the ATL Art Guide and how we utilized the Goal-Directed Design methodology.
A kick-off meeting is a preliminary meeting among the design team and important stakeholders. This is a crucial step in the Goal-Directed Design process because during this meeting, the design team’s main objective is to gain an overall understanding of the scope of the project.
In the beginning of Spring 2021, my university slowly began to introduce in-person classes once again after a year and a half of majority online courses. As you may assume it came with lots of adjustments and precautions that we are not used to in classroom settings, especially ones that promote collaboration amongst their students. Keeping that in mind, to be able to conduct the Kickoff meeting without screaming to one another across the auditorium, our team lead graciously created worksheets that mimicked activities we would complete in a typical Kickoff Meeting.
Below is my worksheet and an example of what we did to kickoff our project.
A literature review is an analysis of any information about our product and its domain while a competitive analysis is when we look through and examine the competing products so we become familiar with the strengths and limitations of the existing products that users currently have access to. For this project, we decided to split up the workload of the research phase. So, my team members, Mia and Lorena, completed the competitive analysis, while I and another team member Celine, worked together to complete the literature review.
In the literature review, we found that the state of art guides provided online today are either very general in the information provided to their users or focus too much on the textual descriptors rather than the showcase of art. There was no balance between presenting the artwork and giving adequate descriptions of the art and artist as opposed to the museums and galleries.
For the competitive analysis, we found a few competitors that guide users through art that is open to the public around the city. Miaand Lorena found that our direct competitors were Atlanta Street Art Map and Atlanta’s Public Art Tour, and the indirect competitors were Art Forum, and Art Collecting. After reviewing our potential competitors, we say the differences that our platform would have compared to the competitors. We planned to have a monthly curation of featured artworks that prioritize emerging artists, accommodate intimate spaces, and utilize Visual Thinking Strategies.
Conducting our user interviews were a fascinating experience,that differed to how I am used to performing them. This semester majority of the interactions we help were done virtually and this was not different when it came to the interviews. We were also limited to interviewing our classmates and professors due to the delay in IRB approval. Although, we were blessed with great classmate who were more than eager to assist us in our interviewing sessions. They were also interested in the art scene, which is a major plus, to receive feedback from potential users despite the restrictions. In total we interviewed five participants.
The modeling phase consists of analyzing behavior and work patterns that were uncovered during the research phase and synthesizing them into user models. User models, also known as personas, are detailed, complex user archetypes and are great tools for ideating and validating design concepts. These personas represent specific groupings of behavior patterns and goals we observed during our user interviews and research.
Personas help us breakdown our robust research into a precise way of thinking and communicating about how groups of users behave and think, what they want to accomplish and why. By using this tool, we are able to develop an understanding of our users’ goals in specific contexts. Our team created our primary persona by analyzing the similarities we found among the participants during our user interviews.
Problem statement define the purpose of the design initiative. While vision statements are an inversion of the problem statement that serves as a high-level design objective. These statements are crafted directly from the research that we collected during the research and modeling phases of this project. We decided to follow the sample statements in the About Face, book written by Alan Cooper.
The current state of Atlanta art guides has focused primarily on guiding users to locations and providing minimal information about the art. What existing products fail to address is that tools for engagement, discovery, and interaction with art and surrounding spaces could enhance user experiences. Our product will address this gap by introducing Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) to guide users through local communities and engage them in thought provoking discussions around art.
The new design of Atlanta art guides will help users achieve engaging and interactive art-viewing experiences by allowing them to discover art in safe physical and virtual spaces while using VTS to guide reflection with greater emphasis on comprehension, comfort, and community, and without the constraints and discomfort that they currently experience.This will dramatically improve users' art viewing experiences and motivation to participate in these experiences while supporting their local community.
Opposed to user interviews, when we conducted usability testing, we had users test a low fidelity prototype that we created using the information we gathered during the previous phases. The purpose of these testing sessions is to measure the efficiency of the prototype and whether it successfully aids users in completing their goals. In total we tested four of our classmates and one of our professors.
Proceeding our usability testing sessions, together we discussed the key positive, negative and surprise takeaways from the testing sessions.This helped us analyze the notes we gathered and use them to focus on improving certain aspects of the prototype design. We found that our users really enjoyed the concept of our platform, although it was not as simply to use as we previously thought. That was something we focused on throughout the refinements phase.
During the refinements phase, like stated above we prioritized simplicity throughout the user interface design. By doing this we were able to eliminate unnecessary features. We also added accent colors opposed to the monochrome color scheme we had initially. We also created a zine that ideally would be presented to people at museums or galleries, that will encourage them use the ATL ArtGuide to discover new artworks.
This project was one of my favorites that I have worked on throughout my whole college experience and while completing this it opened my eyes to how I manage projects and time management. It was a great closing experience as this will be the final project that I complete in my undergraduate program. It was a great chance to be apart of another project that will allow me to practice the skills that I will use in my career.
Overall, I learned a lot from completing this project but the one thing that really touched me was the compassion and support I received from my team members after I was having a hard time about the recent death of a close relative. Thank you, Tatiana, Mia, Lorena, and Celine, for assisting me when I needed it. I would also like to thank my professors for generously working with me in a very difficult time in my life.