12 weeks, February – May 2020
CreativeConnect Mobile App Design
How might we develop a way for creatives to connect and discover one another?
The creative industry has individuals with diverse backgrounds, like the fine arts or web development. However, it’s not often that people in these different areas intersect and network. Additionally, some are interested in design but are not actively participating 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 different fields.
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 since I am a member of the demographic as well, 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 Facebook groups to understand how these communities promote networking and job opportunities amongst the 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 two informal user interviews with students from creative backgrounds. Through these interviews, I discovered that while they would be interested in networking with other Asian creatives, that was not a deciding factor when networking with others. They wanted to network with people from all ethnicities and were interested in networking in general.
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 the features each dating app offers and how they match people. Overall, Hinge was the most effective when 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 following features most important because I wanted to create a platform for creatives to network with one another easily while also emphasizing 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 quick wireframes and conducted three 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.
One issue I ran into during this stage was that I only had a short time frame to complete the project. Ideally, I would like to have had more time to delve into the mentoring aspect and interview current mentors to research what would motivate them to use this application. Despite this setback, the networking feature still presented a 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 person's work along with conversation starters relating to their field and passions. This leads to an easier, more casual way of networking.
The Discover feature allows users to search for people they want to connect with based on the filters they set and change. From years of experience to job titles, the filters quickly help users find specific creatives to expand their network.
Feel free to click through the prototype to explore the app's 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.