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The Local Art Explorer app provides an opportunity for users to browse and purchase local art as well as find nearby art events. This app allows users who have time restraints or disabilities that make it difficult to enjoy art galleries in person.

Project duration:

November 2021 - February 2022

My role: 

UX designer and researcher 

Design type: 

Mobile app

goal

This art app will let users learn about and support local artists from anywhere which will affect art enthusiasts who don’t want to go into the gallery in person by providing a virtual experience and easy access to information. We will measure effectiveness by the number of app users.

initial user research

I conducted interviews and created empathy maps to help understand the users I’m designing for and what they would need in an app. A primary user group identified through my research was 30-70 year old women who want to support and buy local art easily. 

 

This user group confirmed initial assumptions about users, but research also revealed that users were worried about the pandemic and because of health risks and shut downs, going into town to find art, was not always an option. 


Other user problems included accessibility, time restraints, and social discomfort. With these pain points in mind I will work to create a more user-friendly art experience.

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pain points to solve

1

 

Safety

This app is being designed during a global pandemic and many people who are immunocompromised need to avoid public spaces. This app will provide a way for people to still explore local art without putting themselves at risk.

2

 

Time

People lead busy lives and the open hours for art galleries are not always in line with people’s free time. This app will allow people to browse local art whenever is convenient for them. 

3

 

accessibility

Many people with mobility limitations or disabilities can find it difficult to travel or unable to walk long distances between parking and galleries in big cities. An app will allow them the option to access art without these difficulties.

4

 

vacuum

There are very few apps that serve to help users find art nearby, and of the apps that do exist, many are low quality and poor design. This app will fill a void in the market.

user Personas

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“Art keeps the soul alive” 

Shanna is a 68-year-old retired dentist. She wants to furnish her home with paintings from some of her favorite local artists but with coronavirus still running wild in her community and because she is immunocompromised she is uncomfortable going to crowded events like gallery openings.

Goals 

  • Wants to buy art from her favorite artists.

  • Wants to learn more about the pieces she doesn’t understand.

Frustrations 

  • Not super tech-savvy. 

  • Covid restrictions and fear for her health

  • Sometimes doesn’t understand an art piece enough to appreciate it properly.

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“Art is something I love, but I sometimes feel out of place in art galleries” 

Gabriel is a 32-year-old video editor. He doesn’t feel confident enough to walk into an art gallery that doesn’t have anyone else in it. He feels like he’s being watched and judged by the artist or whoever is manning the desk. He wants to enjoy the art but doesn’t feel like he knows what to do or say in an art gallery.

Goals 

  • Wants to learn more about the art and artist.

  • Wants to find pieces based on keywords

  • Easier access to pursue without feeling pressured.

Frustrations 

  • Sometimes can’t find a piece of artwork because it’s hard to search for art without the right terms.

  • Galleries sometimes feel pretentious

user Journey map

Analyzing user journeys helped me target ways in which an app could improve the experience.

Paper wireframing

Sketching out layout options for the primary pages of the app, provided a quick visual review of many different ideas which allowed me to work more efficiently with the chosen layouts.

digital wireframing

After deciding on my starting layouts for my screens, I began to build up the digital wireframes for the main user flow searching for and purchasing an art piece from a local artist. 

low-fidelity prototype

User flow: 

Users pick a city they want to view art in > search by type of artwork > choose a piece of work > purchase the art.

usability studies

To better understand user needs, I conducted a moderated usability study with 5 participants.

I revised my designs based on feedback, then did another usability study to further improve usability as well as test new functions for clarity.

round 1 findings

  • Users wanted a traditional add to cart feature.

  • Users requested more filter and sort-by options.

  • Users wanted pages instead of infinite scrolling of images.

round 2 findings

  • Account setup should include saved payments and addresses.

  • Make location choice part of account set up to save users time.

  • Audio tour could become a small overlay so you could continue browsing while listening.

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Result spotlight

To accommodate the need for more filters, I changed the filter system to a popup window to offer a larger array of options and added a sort by feature to help users find what they are looking for. I also reorganized the images to all be the same size in a grid to ensure all art pieces are visible and presented equally.

high-fidelity prototype

User flow: 

Users pick a city they want to view art in > search by type of artwork > choose a piece of work > purchase the art.

Result spotlight

Changed the audio tour to start as a smaller overlay module that allows users to continue to explore the information about the art while listening to the audio tour while still having the option to pull up the transcript for accessibility purposes.

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After multiple usability studies and a couple rounds of revisions we arrived at the final product.

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Accessibility considerations

1

 

color contrast

Used color contrast levels to meet WCAG 2.0 AA requirements to ensure people with vision disabilities. 

2

 

eye

strain

Used a dark UI to reduce eye strain while still allowing the artwork to pop against the dark background.

3

 

audio transcript

Including an audio tour for artwork with transcript for folks with audio disabilities as well as public situations in which people wouldn’t want their sound on.

Next steps

  • Conduct another usability study to ensure new elements and design changes haven’t altered users' abilities to use the app.

  • Do more user research to find ways to improve upon the design and meet the needs of the audience.

  • Incorporate more accessibility options to modify the design based on user needs.

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