The Affordability crisis in San Francisco has been pushing local artists out of the city. At the same time, the boom in the tech industry has changed the city demographics, attracting a lot of tech workers, especially millennials.
Our goal with SF Art Opening was to bring the new city dwellers and local artists together during exhibitions opening nights. These receptions are often fun social events that combine art and community.
Who is this for?
We focused on millenials working in tech in the Bay Area. We crafted a hypothetical persona, we called David (learn more about David ).
How it works?
A. Finding and sharing events
David can browse events happening today, or those coming up. He can find what events are close by, and can easily share the events with his friends.
B. Getting to events
The app allows David quick access to google maps. David can also use his favorite ride share to reach an event.
C. Socializing at an event
Once at the event, David can join the community in their conversations about the artwork. Forums are geotagged to specific locations.
SF Art Opening was our final, six-week, project for CodePath University Bootcamp. I worked with two other teammates, and advocated for a user centered design approach.
- Competitive Analysis
First, based on our understanding of how the demographics of San Francisco have changed, we came up with a hypothetical persona, David.
With David in mind, we did a competitive analysis of ten different digital services catering to the art scene. Allen Bamberger’s Art Calendar was particularly insightful.
Unlike other websites crowded with information about galleries, Bamberger's simple Google Calendar only focused on opening receptions.
So, we decided to look into people’s motivations to visit a gallery on an opening day as opposed any other regular day, and see where David would fit in.
We wanted to know how an opening day is different from a regular day. So, we visited two art galleries, one during an opening, another on a regular day. We talked to:
- Five visitors
- Three artists
- Two gallery owners
We learned that there are two distinct settings for people to enjoy art:
- Quiet and personal
- Crowded and social
Opening nights create a social atmosphere not unlike the one at a bar. They can appeal to someone like David, who is looking to have a drink with friends and meet new people. Opening receptions are inherently about bringing people together, rather than facilitating a meditative contemplation of the artwork.
So, we decided to create an app with a focus on art opening receptions. That way, we could attract someone like David to a gallery, and at the same time, bring visibility to local artists.
We brainstormed a number of scenarios. We then created three possible flows based on the scenarios. The three main user flows were:
- Browsing and sharing events
- Getting to events
- Socializing at events
Next, we broke down each user flow into smaller user stories. for example:
- As a user, I want to know when different events are happening.
- As a user, I want to easily get to an event quickly.
- As a user, I want to bring friends to an event.
Socializing: concept and challenges
Initially, we wanted to create a forum, where conversations would be tagged and grouped into threads based on images. For example, if David were impressed by a statue, he could take a photo of it in the app, add his comments and post it to the forum. His post would be added to the thread of comments around that particular image. In return, David could also browse comments and conversations based on art pieces.
Given our limited time, we could not include image recognition in our implementation of the forum.
To speed up the process, we turned to paper prototyping to try different iterations of the visual layout of different screens.
Here are different iterations of the feed screen:
We programmed the app in Swift, with each of us working on different screens. By the end of the project, we had a functioning app.
Competing against eleven other teams, SF Art Opening came in second, winning the award for User Experience. The teams were judged by:
- Cynthia Maxwell, Director of iOS Engineering at Slack
- Patrick Weiss, Director of product design at Omada Health
- Dan Lopez, Developper at Karasel Technologies.