End-to-end mobile app
9 Muses is an iOS based app aimed to connect creatives and their potential clients through a vendor's marketplace where clients can receive live samples of creative's work onto their medium of choice through the use of Augmented Reality(AR) and tap into the vendor's network of other creators for future collaborations.
To start the project I conducted a direct market competitive research to understand, compare and contrast current trends in existing platforms and to find places of opportunity in the already expansive network.
Why focus on Augmented Reality?
- AR vs VR – AR is mobile and robust
- AR software recognizes and utilizes the surroundings
- AR is a vastly growing market with a predicted $85 billion to $90 billion in revenue by 2020 (*Predicted by Digi-Capital’s AR/VR Report Q1 2018)
Things to consider when designing the app:
- Have a range of sort and filter options such as materials, styles, events, schedule/availability, and location (i.e. remote, travel to destination)
- Seamless direct contact between client and artist/designer
- Ability to use AR to purpose projects and preview artist’s/designer’s styling on real objects
- AR – need to be able to change color of template, rotate, and resize.
- Be able to add multiple collaborators on a project
From the market research and competitive analysis – 4 provisional personas were created to represents the individuals that would be interested in using the product as a client and as a artist/designer:
- Sentimental and Traditional –the individual who is looking for simplicity and easy way to find who she needs
- All About Uniqueness – finding creatives is part of their job and is always looking for someone who can create experiences
- The Collaborating Artist – the artist/designer looking for clients but also looking for other artists/designers to collaborate with
- The Bride – the individual that is on a time crunch and has a long checklist of things to get done before her big day. She needs someone who she can trust and get things done quickly.
SURVEYS & INTERVIEWS
Two types surveys and interviews were conducted to explore the two types of users that would benefit from using the app, the artists/designer and the clients.
- Survey A was conducted with 15 participants who identified themselves as an artist/designer with experience booking clients.
- Survey B was conducted with 4 participants who had experience booking artists/designers
- Interview A was conducted with 3 individuals who identified themselves as artists/designers
- Interview B was conducted with 2 individuals* who identified themselves as a client
- For both vendors and clients reliability, scheduling and transparency were important factors
- A majority of clients booked are either domestic or local (within 1 hour) and were mostly discovered by word of mouth
- Key information needed from clients were: budget, project timeline, quantity, location, and styling.
- 46.7% of artists/designers surveyed had collaborated on projects
- Miscommunication was a key pain point for both parties
“I booked them (vendors/artists/designers) all separately... Found them by word of mouth and trusted their online ratings. But when it came to the florist… they didn’t deliver what was promised. I had asked to change a type of greenery with the receptionist but on the day of it was a different one and was told that I would get an extra bouquet to throw but didn’t receive it“ -Tina
“Clients that I’ve received from Etsy and other platforms were never as good as the ones from word of mouth. For example with Etsy, you really have to filter through the people that will waste your time.”- Amy
Using the information gathered from competitive analysis, surveys, and interviews, Amy Park (the user persona), was created to reflect the type of user that who would benefit from using 9 Muses:
Looking for artist/designers to complete their project
- Someone with a busy schedule
- Likes to do research
- Wants to feel reassured
Then a User Journey Map was created to dive deeper into a day in Amy’s life and how might 9 Muses help her:
- Before the app: How was she planning her wedding? Who did she need to book? How was she finding them? What were her highs and lows?
- During and after the app: What would she most likely use first? What would she need? What would make this app memorable for her?
- Looking at her highs and lows, we looked for opportunities that 9 Muses could help her make the booking process easier, reliable, and memorable.
BUSINESS AND USER GOALS
To narrow down the project goals, there were 3 sides to consider:
- 9 Muses as a Business
- The Client (the main user)
- The Artists/Designers/Collaborator/Vendor
While keeping in mind the technical considerations when building the app:
- AR capabilities
- Messaging center
- Project progression status
Using the information gathered from the defining phase - an App Map was created to determine the key screens that would make up 9 Muses.
TASK & USER FLOW
With the App Map as a guide, 4 user tasks flows was used to highlight the screens and user actions taken to complete 4 main tasks on 9 Muses:
- New user sign up process
- Find a local vendor
- Use AR feature using the vendor's template
- Book vendor and attach saved images
The 4 user task flows combined together to map out a unified user flow:
Using the user flow as a guide, I created a roadmap to highlight the key features and ranked them based on priority while keeping in mind things to be considered:
- It's going to be complex
- What are the main screens needed to be built in order to complete tasks and what are the key features on those screens?
- What features would make the app fun, easy to use and memorable?
- What features would make the most impact?
Now for the design, I did some rough sketches on a iOS template before converting them into mid-fidelity wireframes.
Taking a step back from the wireframes I decided to take a look into designing 9 Muses' logo. I went back to the reasons why I decided on the name 9 Muses and what the business stood for and it's clients and collaborators:
- There were 9 inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and art
- Artists/designers draw inspiration from a plethora of places
- Apollo, the god of music, art, and poetry was their teacher
Using the key words to describe the brand's identity: creativity, innovation, connection, uniqueness, collaboration and reliable. 18 logos were drafted:
Finally, a combination of 4 & 8 was the chosen winner that showcased the number 9 and letter "M" for muses in unison.
Following the shades of blue and purple, a UI kit was designed and applied to the hi-fidelity wireframes.
PROTOTYPING + TESTING
Usability testing was conducted using 2 methods while remote testing:
- Observed 3 female participants as they test the prototype on Marvel (Moderated)
- Recruited 17 participants to test prototype on Maze (Unmoderated)
Each participant were to complete the same 4 tasks:
- New user sign up
- Find a local calligrapher to make invitations
- Try the AR feature using a artist's template
- Book artist and attach sample image
After gathering the user's feedback and suggestions from the usability testing, I organized them into an affinity map to highlight the successes as well as find other windows of opportunity and areas for improvement.
Using the Affinity Map, I took the next steps and placed them in a priority matrix to determine which actions could be taken next.
I took some of the "quick wins" from the priority matrix to quickly make some iterations, for example:
WHAT I LEARNED
- Complex system of marketplace - you're not only designing for potential clients but the vendors using the system and the business
- Turning a complex process to a streamline one
- Prioritizing - pinpoint the key screens for minimally viable products given time and technical constraints
- Branding: the importance of color and logo design in marketing a potential product
- Design other key screens: user profile, message center, store, and favorites
- Integrate ability to connect and book within a potential vendor's network
- Test new iterations and screens with previous and new participants
- Add more interactions to make prototype more seamless and lifelike