1. Overview
  2. Empathize
  3. Conceptualize
  4. Design
  5. Retrospective

Articious

Google UX Design certificate project
October 2021 - January 2022
UX Research, UX/UI Design, Branding

Articious is a mobile-first app that re-imagines traditional art galleries and provides visitors with comprehensive and well-organized introductions of artists and their artworks as well as inclusive visiting experiences.

100%

Conversion Rate

30%

Decrement of Failure Rate

View Final Product

Empathize

The other day I asked two friends to visit the newest exhibition together at a local art gallery.

“Nah, visiting art galleries is outdated considering how boring it is...”Their random complaint suddenly reminded me of my disappointing visiting experiences too...

Traditional art gallery failure...

Visiting art galleries has become a popular leisure activity for people, especially those who want to relax and gather inspiration.

However, in the fast-paced environment, the way how traditional art galleries showcased artists and their works no longer satisfied visitors. Instead, they got overwhelmed and confused, stepping out of art galleries in disappointment.

Who should I design for?

I kicked off by mapping out some key stakeholders related to art galleries. Having the largest number of users which could potentially result in the best business and revenue model, visitors finally became my target demographic.

What actually made art gallery visitors frustrated?

I had the faith that the best practice to figure this out was to talk to users...

Therefore, I conducted user interviews where 5 users who frequently visited art galleries (5 times or more per year). Each of them was asked 8 open-ended questions and their answers were synthesized as the following research insights:

Most art galleries had artists and artworks poorly organized, making visitors spend a lot of time finding desired artists and works.

Introductions of artists and artworks from galleries were always in long and plain texts that were too overwhelming for visitors to read.

There was always inadequate info about how artists got inspired and designed their works, resulting in a lack of inspiration.

Traditional art gallery installations felt didactic and rigid to visitors. Visitors were not feeling engaged and immersive while visiting.

How might we...           

document and illustrate artists and their works in a comprehensive and inclusive way to art gallery visitors so that they have better visiting experiences?

Conceptualize

What have my competitors succeeded/failed?

Before moving to ideation stage, I studied on existing art gallery mobile apps to address their success and failure as inspiration for my own product.

Smartify

Advantages
- Easy to find a specific artist and artwork.

Disadvantages
- No visitor commenting feature.

Google Arts

Advantages
- Visitors could leave comments on artworks.

Disadvantages
- No artist list. No artist bios.

Gallery Explorer

Advantages
- Visitors could leave comments on artworks.

Disadvantages
- Artist and artwork introductions in long and unorganized texts.

How Articious addressed visitors' pain points?

Having all the insights collected, I drafted low-fidelity mockups illustrating my design interventions that addressed visitors' pain points and met their expectations.

Unorganized exhibition

Quick and easy access to artists & artworks

Insufficient design process expansion

Artwork intro + backstory of design process

Long and plain texts

Quick and easy access to artists & artworks

Lack of immersive experience

Discussion forum with visitors' thoughts

How should users move step by step?

As a combination of knowledge and visual artifacts, a wire flow map was articulated where I successfully figured out how the structure of Articious looked like. A user task flow was also made as a further interpretation of users' behaviors while visiting galleries.

Would visitors enjoy my design?

To verify if my design interventions worked as expected, I decided to grab real users to execute the user flow and thus gather more insightful feedback.

User Interviews

Via the platform User Interviews, I was able to recruit 10 participants who visited local art galleries at least 5 times a year. They were divided into 2 rounds of tests, where each was asked to complete the user flow by interacting with a prototype.   

During the process, I actively took notes by observing their behaviors and asking for their thoughts, which were then synthesized into an affinity map as a reference for design revisions.

Design

How visual elements enhanced my design?

As a mobile-first digital archive, users would inevitably read texts on a small screen in different light conditions. Therefore, readability of user interfaces was prioritized and carefully tailored.

Highly readable typography

The typeface Lato was among the fonts with the best readability on mobile screens, where body text in 16px could further enhance the readability.

B&W, but not B&W

Research showed that combining pure black and white on screen will force eyes to work harder and cause fatigue. Therefore, a grey-ish black, together with a “white canvas paint” light grey were selected for texts and backgrounds.

Reading in the dark

It was typical that artworks were exhibited in different lighting conditions to maximize their visual effects, including dark environments. So a dark mode was designed to ensure that visitors can easily read in the dark.

Final Product

Retrospective

Assign small and easy tasks...

Letting art gallery visitors comprehensively and inclusively view artworks may sound vague and complex at the very beginning. However, by breaking it into small, easy and interconnected tasks, users could efficiently complete the flow feeling rewarded.

​Human connection results in motivation...

The fact that people are social animals makes them feel motivated when using a product that allows them to connect with each other, which was proven by the success of discussion forum feature of Articious.

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