My Contributions and Role:
Lead UI/UX Designer and main researcher, in charge of designing a mobile app and responsive website from identifying needs to the final product.
Ideation and Requirements Gathering
User Research & Competitor Analysis
Wireframing: Mobile and Desktop
Low-Fidelity Prototypes: Mobile and Desktop
High-Fidelity Prototype: Mobile and Desktop
User Interface Design
Designing for Accessibility
Usability Testing and Final Validation
About The Backroom
The Backroom is an exclusive, per-invitation-only app designed for a prestigious art gallery in Toronto named Lo And Luca. Their main goal is to provide an app for bidding on new art pieces outside their gallery and to connect the client with the artist.
During the pandemic and lockdowns, the art business has suffered since social gatherings have been reduced. Lo and Luca need a solution to increase their bidding and art sales. They also have more difficulty connecting their clients with the artists-in-residence.
The goal is to create an app that can provide a secure, engaging, and usable bidding room. It will also provide a marketplace for available art pieces.
About to desktop version, Lo and Lucas only wish to make a basic website, where they can list their available art pieces and their artists in residency, but always encourage the user to use the app.
UX/UI Research and Design
About The Process
For this project, I first laid out the process I will follow. As I explained to my clients, the Design Thinking Methodology utilizes a solution-based approach to my design This approach allowed me to frame the problem in a humanistic-centric way and bring the solution to life in a coherent final product. By empathizing with our users during the whole process of the design, I was able to gather high-quality consumer insights that helped me define and ideate solutions to our main user pain points, as well as develop a visually exciting design.
During the pandemic and lockdowns the art business has suffered since social gatherings have been reduced. Lo and Luca needs a solution to increase their bidding and art sales. They also have more difficulty connecting their clients with the artists-in-residence.
The goal is to create an app that can provide a secure, engaging, and usable bidding room. The app will also provide a marketplace for available art pieces. We hope to help in attracting a new loyal clientele.
About the Research
After our initial meeting with the clients, they weren't exactly sure how the final product should work. But they were very clear on what the product should do: it should be an exclusive platform, as per invitation only. This platform's primary function would be to post bids and auctions for new pieces of art and to connect in a way to the artist.
Now, because I have a little experience working in galleries and putting together art exhibitions, I was able to connect with the main pain points in selling artwork with my clients. After that initial meeting, I started working on user interviews during the emphasize stage, created personas, identified user pain points, and developed a problem with hypothesis statements based on the user research and the target audience for this app.
After collecting and analyzing the collected data, I dived into secondary research with a competitive audit that helped me analyze and synthesize the information into actionable insights. We also conducted two different design sprint sessions or "Crazy Eights."
To finish the research, a usability study was performed with lo-fi prototypes of the app, where we evaluated our main KPIs and identified additional users' pain points.
After the initial "desk research," I conducted several user interviews to empathize with my users and get a feeling of what they really wanted, needed, and why. Then, I carefully wrote a series of semi-structured questions to gather qualitative and quantitate data. Because Lo and Luca is an established Gallery, they decided to be part of this part of the research and they identified some of their loyal clients who were willing to get into a video call with me so we could conduct our interviews. These interviews were volunteered and anonymous. Before we started, a consent form was signed and no incentives where handled out to the participants.
Style: Controlled Interviews
Duration: 10 min. each
Number of Participants: 5
Type: Generative Interview with one open exploratory question
- How frequently do you bid on new artwork?
- Do you use an app to bid on artwork or do you prefer bidding at a gallery event?
- How do you feel about having online actions instead of in person?
- What is the hardest part of bidding on the artwork?
- How important would you say, it's to meet the artist?
-What sort of information would like to know about the artist?
-As you may have heard, Lo and Lucas are putting together an app for auditing some of their artwork online, how do you feel about that? do you think you would use it?
Understanding the User
After conducting my interviews and analyzing the data, we saw and gained perspective on how useful the app will be. All the participants were excited about the app idea, mainly because we have all been coup up since the pandemic started, and most of Lo and Lucas' clients haven't been able to connect with their artists in residence and haven't been able to put together their usual gallery openings and auctions.
Three out of five of our participants mentioned looking at other sites to check out new art pieces, and all of our participants said being frequent art buyers or dealers. They also seem excited to start bidding online, and one of them suggested Lo and Lucas should put together zoom events to connect with the new artists.
Regarding the difficulty of bidding on auctions, the participants mentioned a lack of knowledge of auction events and time. They would like to automatically bid without being on the site. One of them said they would like to set a maximum on how much they are willing to pay, and the app bid on their behalf until they reach their set limit.
The participants mentioned some of the things essential to know about the artists were their bios, previous artwork, educational background, preferred art techniques, inspirational artists, painting techniques, and mediums.
Some of the current complains, that the participants mentioned were:
User Stories, Personas, Pain Points and User Journeys
As a busy interior designer and art collector, I want a platform where I can bid on art pieces without exceeding my budget so I can keep collecting pieces and participating in art auctions.
Abby is a busy interior designer and art collector who needs an easy and reliable app experience to bid on art pieces without exceeding her budget.
If Abby downloads The Backroom and starts bidding on auctions, she can start collecting more art pieces and discovering new artists, so she can keep growing with her collections and her knowledge of the current trends.
User Journey Map
Richard Anderson III
As an avid art collector, I want a platform where I can bid on as many art pieces as I want, so I can keep growing my collection.
Richard is an avid art collector who needs an easy and reliable app experience to bid on many art pieces as soon as they are available without losing the bids.
If Richard downloads The Backroom and starts bidding on auctions, he can start collecting more art pieces and growing his collection so he can keep maintaining his hobby and his reputation in the galleries in Toronto.
User Journey Map
During the Ideate Stage of the design, we'll focus on the design ideation, possible solutions to our problem statements, competitive audit spreadsheets, and audit reports.
My goal during the competitive audit is to see what the competition is providing and the primary pain points for their exciting users and to track their design choices, understand their approach, and figure out what The Backroom can do better and differently. I am also looking for common visual layouts, navigation choices, standard features, and user flows.
Now, because our competitive audit was extensive, I have included a link to my spreadsheet below:
Starting the Design
During the design stage, I made my paper wireframes and gathered input from the clients. After we discussed it, I started designing the digital wireframe, and finally a low-fidelity prototype for the mobile app.
We decided to base our wireframe on the basics of the user flow previously done. So it starts at the home page with the open bidding rooms, continues to a category page, a page for details on the artwork the user wanted to see with a button for bidding, congratulations on your bid, a page for managing all requests, and then going back to explore new categories or bidding rooms.
Also, here’s a picture of my dog. She was too cute to be cut off from the picture.
My main goal was to incorporate the main user problems, like the lack of access to any bid room within the gallery, and control the max. of money the user is willing to spend.
After the wireframe, I started working on the prototype that will be used for our User Research.
The Outcome: Refining the Design
After the testing stage, I made specific changes to several screens based on the user feedback from the usability study.
Now it's time for my favorite part!: choosing colors and images, prototyping my final interactions, and always focusing on accessibility considerations.
This section shows examples of changes in screen designs based on user findings and a few mobile and desktop mockups and their prototypes.
Redesigning the Screens: Low Fidelity to High Fidelity
One of the most important insights we gathered from the usability study was the necessity of creating a "bid room." Instead of just having a button that bids automatically for you, you can " enter" a bid room and either set a specific amount of money or just let the app automatically bid for you.
This feature prevents the app from automatically bidding on your behalf an unlimited amount of money but instead asks you the maximum amount of money the user is willing to spend on a single bid.