Michael is an established classically trained abstract painter in Toronto, but wanted a new way to show his art to expand awareness and engagement at a global level, but unsure how to go about it. With Liz Kucharska and Tara O'Doherty as my mentors for this project, my brain spun with ideas of where to take this exciting project.
After meeting with Michael, so many options were spinning in my mind. Michael had ideas that expand much past where technology stands today, and as great as they were we had to think realistically what could be produced that was still on the verge of something new and great. What really sparked my imagination was AR/VR (augmented reality/ virtual reality) used to showcase paintings in the user's own home to see how a painting or sculpture looked in their home, or to see it in a gallery setting on their phone which is not widely used among fine artists.
Knowing I wanted to go a direction that isn't commonly used in the fine art world, it started a struggle to research artists portfolio's that included augmented reality or virtual reality. I had to look at a broader range. I started looking beyond artists themselves, and into galleries and art auction websites. This is where I started with a competitive/ comparative analysis to see how other artists, galleries and auction websites showcase their work online to see what is working in the art industry and what is not.
Once I thoroughly researched the competition for Michael Adamson, I dug into looking at the people who are interested in Michael's work, and want to buy it. Roughly 30% of Michael's clients are returning customers, who are over 40 years old and pay anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 for an original piece by Michael. Through my research younger people were interested in investing in these pieces of art, but couldn't yet afford it. That is when it was decided to not only create a portfolio app that had AR/VR, but also a shop where people with lower incomes could get replications of Michael's artwork.
I had two types of user profiles, the new customer, who is under 35, not yet ready to invest in a painting but wants a small memento of Michael's work, and the returning customer, who already commissioned Michael for a painting in the past and loves the style and has the money, so they want a second to match. I wanted to create something that both types of users could easily navigate and get to what they are looking for right away.
With this information, I started a customer journey map to iron out pain points, to give the user the best experience.
After drawing multiple lo-fidelity wireframes I was ready to go into Sketch and start the mid and hi-fidelity screens. From all my research, I wanted to create something simple and clean with a bit of a sophisticated feel. I picked a limited colour palette of muted colours with a bright orange as call to action buttons, letting the art itself become the focus as it would in a gallery space. Along the same reasoning is why I chose thin-lined but sophisticated looking icons.
Creating this app from start to finish was a challenge to create in three weeks on my own but I am happy with how it came together in the end. The one thing I would change for the next project is to put more work into researching the user needs.