February - April 2020 (3 months)
Figma, Miro, Goal-Directed Design Process
Research, UX Design
The Atlanta Art Guide is a virtual art guide that aims to get people more excited and educated about local artists and artwork. The guide curates 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 the platform. We hope to provide them with the support that they deserve.
Research, UX Design
Reimagine the use of art guides within art spaces.
Create a tangible product that will help direct users to the platform.
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 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.
You may be asking what Goal-Directed Design is, well I’m here to take you through our whole practice implementing this process during this project. But first, let me tell you the premise of this design process.
Goal-Directed Design 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. And why is this important? By implementing the methods within this process, as a team, we can understand what our prospective users want and who they are before we even think about designing an app screen.
Goal-Directed Design has six phases: research, modeling, requirements definition, framework definition, refinement, and support. The first stage, research, is employed to provide qualitative data about potential users using ethnographic field study techniques, such as competitive audits, interviews, and market research.
We then gather our findings and analyze them to create user models and personas, which are specific archetypes of the users we are designing for; this is the modeling phase. Next is the requirements phase, which is used to connect the users’ goals and the design framework. Using our findings from the previous phase, we then develop design requirements that balance the users’ needs in conjunction with the business and technical requirements. Takings these requirements, we then begin to form basic design structures using wireframes to explore key path scenarios; this is the framework phase.
Proceeding this phase is the refinement phase, where we take our wireframes and move on to polishing them by adding more details and focusing on implementation. This is usually presented as a prototype. At this point, usability testing has begun to ensure that our design decisions are well thought out and support the users’ goals. The last phase in this process is support, which is where we would support the development team in producing this product by answering questions about the design solutions we have formed.
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. Mia and 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 are including a few works curated + featured monthly, prioritizing emerging artists + small spaces + using VTS as a tool for engagement (with an accompanying zine).
Selected few of curated works + featured monthly
Prioritizing emerging artists + small spaces
utilizing VTS as a tool for engagement (with an accompanying zine)
After completing the Literature review and Competitive Analysis, our team began user interviews. From the information we gathered, we made a few assumptions about who we thought our ideal users are and their potential behavior patterns. These assumptions are called a persona hypothesis. Our team also each came up with some questions that could be used during our interviews. Although, since we used a conversation-style format during our interviews, not all questions were incorporated.
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 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 Art Guide to discover new artworks.