12 weeks, February – May 2020
CreativeConnect Mobile App Design
How might we develop a way for creatives to easily connect and discover one another?
The creative industry is full of individuals with diverse backgrounds, whether it be in the fine arts or web development. However, it’s not often that people in these different areas intersect and network with one another. Additionally, some are interested in design but are not active in the community.
My proposed method to cultivate these relations is to develop a networking app for creatives to view each other’s work and meet people in fields different than theirs.
Before shifting the project focus to designers of all backgrounds, my initial capstone project idea was to focus on Asian and Asian American creatives due to the lack of representation in the field based on online research.
I wanted to see what opportunity areas I could tackle and based on these findings, my initial research question was why is it difficult for Asian and Asian Americans to break through the creative industry?
To delve deeper into my research question, I looked into what resources already existed in the Asian creative sphere. I drew concept maps for the Asian Creative Network and the Asian Creative Collective to understand how these communities promote networking and opportunities amongst the group members.
Summary: While the Asian Creative Network and the Asian Creative Collective are great resources for Asian/Asian American creatives, there seems to be a difficulty within the community in creating deeper connections due to the large number of members.
I conducted 2 informal user interviews with students from creative backgrounds and found that while they would be interested in networking with other Asian creatives, that was not a main deciding factor when networking with others. They wanted to network with people from all kinds of ethnicities and were also simply interested in networking itself.
Based on the feedback I received from user interviews, I pivoted my idea to focus more on connecting creatives from all backgrounds with one another while also highlighting networking and mentoring features.
Taking inspiration from dating apps, I created a competitive analysis to see what types of features each dating app offers and how they match people. Hinge was the most effective in connecting people since it focused heavily on personalized questions that allowed users to initiate the conversation.
Summary: For my competitive analysis, I focused on how each dating app onboards its user, how the user interacts with the swipe feature, and how the profile information is displayed.
I considered the features above the most important because I wanted to create a platform specifically for creatives to network with one another easily and also place emphasis on their work.
• Mentor feature so creatives could build professional connections while also focusing on expanding their network
• Profiles that displayed the user's work and interests so others can get a sense of who they are and what creative endeavors they're passionate about
• A recommendation feature that allowed users to discover creatives from a variety of backgrounds not limited to what the user is already familiar with
Using Axure, I created wireframes on which I conducted 3 informal user tests. The initial feedback I received was that the onboarding questions should focus more on the creative's professional background and that the profiles should display more of their work rather than the user's image.
Another issue I ran into was that I only had a short time frame to complete the project. I didn't have time to delve more into the mentoring aspect and interview current mentors to conduct more research on what would motivate them to use this application. Despite this setback, the networking feature still presented strong potential, so I was still interested in pursuing that aspect of the app.
Summary: Taking in the feedback from my user tests, I revised the onboarding structure along with how the user profile is presented on the app so that it moves away from the style of a dating app to a more professional one.
Users can quickly be matched with other creatives that are near them. Each profile displays the work the person has done along with conversation starters relating to their field and passions This leads to an easier, more casual way of networking.
The discover feature allows you to search for specific people you want to connect with based on filters that you can set and change. From years of experience to job titles, it is easier to find specific people if you want to expand your network.
Feel free to click through the prototype to explore the app's different features and experience the sign-up process.
I want to explore how this application would look if the focus was more on connecting mentors with mentees. Not only would this be beneficial for new grads or those looking to transition into a different field, but it would also be a great opportunity for the local creative communities to become more connected with one another.