CLICK

Design mockups of iphones with the app screens on them

The Challenge

Despite the demand for good photography, many photographers today struggle to find consistent clients at fair rates. Being a freelance photographer for 5 years myself, I was motivated to tackle this problem.

High Level Goals

  • Understand and identify pain points and goals of both freelance photographers and their potential clients
  • Make it fast and easy for anyone to book a professional photographer in their city
  • Give photographers access to a more consistent, high quality client base

The Solution

CLICK is an on-demand marketplace app where anyone can easily book photographers in a matter of seconds in their city. In turn, photographers can create their profiles, upload portfolios, set prices and gain clients.

Responsibilites

I was the product designer on this project, and had weekly checkins for design feedback and critique with Salvador Perez Figueroa (Senior Designer, LVL).

Tools

Figma
Adobe Creative Suite

Duration

January - June 2021

Research

Summary

In order to better understand the potential users and needs of the market I used a combination of market research, surveys, and interviews.

Surveys

I used surveys in Facebook photographer groups to gather some data, but mostly to find participants to interview if they met the following criteria:

  • Ages 18-35
  • Professional photographers with at least 2 years experience
  • Basic tech literacy with smartphone

Market Research

To gain a better understanding of the market, I researched potential competitors, finding that companies like Snappr, Shootly, and Thumbtack take large portions of earnings, making it difficult for photographers to generate adequate income to sustain a business.
Most of these companies' products also have poor UX.

Interviews

In order to better understand the pain points of freelance photographers, I conducted 5 remote 15+ minute interviews with photographers from the surveys.

I asked them a series of questions to highlight:

  • Pain points associated with running a photography business
  • Digital products they use
Screenshots of interviews with photographers to learn more about their pain points
A few of the photographer interviews

Although the participants expressed many frustrations surrounding their business, they still didn’t feel that digital products were effective in helping them find clients, indicating an opportunity to create a product to fill that need.

Synthesis

Affinity Mapping

Based on notes and quotes from the interviews, I created an affinity map to organize and spot common frustrations and patterns with the freelance photographers.

Some common quotes:

“I want good clients who are willing to pay fairly”
“Apps like FB business and thumbtack are clunky and hard to use”
“The business side of photography is a pain”

Personas

From interviews and secondary research on the client demographic, I created user personas that helped define their goals, frustrations, and motivations.

User Stories & MVP

To test my assumptions about solutions to user pain points, I mapped out user stories and determined the MVP before creating sketches.

The main actions for the product were as follows:

  1. Book photographers / get hired
  2. Download & upload photos
  3. Communication

Ideation

Ideation Sketches

After mapping out the MVP, I began ideating and sketched early wireframes for both the client and photographer side of the app. To help with ideation, I studied UX patterns in popular indirect competitors to use patterns that have already been tested with users. 

Early sketches included:

  • A signup funnel for photographers
  • A booking and checkout process for clients
  • A dashboard for clients and photographers
sketches of the photographer signup screens
Photographer Application Screens
sketches of client booking screens
Client booking photographer process

Guerilla Testing

I used the sketches to perform 5 Guerilla usability tests for both the photographer and client-side of the app to spot user flow issues and save time on iterations before creating wireframes.

Design & Validate

Wireframes

Using feedback from the guerrilla usability testing, I created a set of wireframes including:

  • Separate sign-up funnels for photographers and clients
  • A checkout process for clients
  • Dashboards for communication, viewing photoshoots, and profile settings
Sign Up, application, and dashboard profile screens.
Sign Up, application, and dashboard profile screens.

Wireflows

Before testing with users, I created wire flows for both the Photographer and client-side of the app to ensure an intuitive flow from screen to screen and spot gaps in the design.

wireframe flows of photographer and client screens
Wireflows for both Client and Photographer

Usability Testing

Using Figma, I created a prototype and conducted 5 moderated usability tests to uncover usability issues with the design. The participants were asked to complete tasks specific to the user goals of the product.

The testing uncovered major issues such as:

  • It was confusing for both clients and photographers to view photoshoot details and download/upload photos
  • The signup process was long and cumbersome
  • The value proposition wasn’t clear at the beginning of the app
Wireflows for both Client and Photographer.

High Fidelity Mockups

Based on the issues found in usability testing, Salvador and I decided that it was worth re-designing the overall approach to the app.

The solution was to take a marketplace-style approach to the home screen with beautiful imagery that reinforced the quality aspect, with a section devoted to recruiting new photographers.

This also removed the sign-up hurdles at the beginning of the initial designs, which we both agreed could cause users to bounce.

The final mockups include:

  • A marketplace screen with signup for photographer and search for clients
  • A more intuitive 'shoots' section
  • A combined 'inbox' page to combine messages and notifications
Marketplace, search, find a photgrapher, notifications, Portfolio, and Shoots screens.

Second Round of Usability Testing

Once the design updates were complete, I created a second high-fidelity prototype and performed 5 additional usability tests. Nearly all of the issues found in the first round of usability testing were fixed!

Outcomes

Due to the surveys and interviews, I was able to gain a better understanding of the pain points and goals of photographers in order to inform my design decisions.

The second round of usability testing revealed that over 80% of the issues found from the first round of testing had been resolved, with generally high usability rating from participants.

Based on my heuristics analysis, the approach to CLICK is more user-friendly and offers actual value to photographers and clients in comparison to current similar products.

Next Steps

Although CLICK is a conceptual app, I believe that it could benefit the users and generate income for the company. The marketplace on-demand model offers opportunities for expansion into new features, such as collaborating with large companies that need photography and niche industries (like film, automotive, etc.).

Believing that CLICK is truly helpful is an assumption within itself, and I would ideally perform a 1-week design sprint complete with testing to validate the assumption.

For now, it remains a fun concept.

Reflections

When creating the initial goals, I focused primarily on the needs of photographers due to my own bias. While the clients were included in the research, I realized after the first round of Guerilla usability testing that clients’ needs were equally important in designing a successful product.

After that, I performed an additional secondary research on the needs of the clients to optimize their experience on the app. Next time around I will be sure to keep my bias in check before spending precious time on user research.

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