How can one find street art more effectively throughout the city?
A product that is both a guide, a gallery and a map all in one.
It isn't just about the directions on a map.
While that might be important it is only one part of the path to discovering a new piece of art. Just like gallery guides, they it isn't about simply showing a blueprint of the building and how to circulate through. They give an overview of what's what in each room, from the period to the medium, if the installation is temporary or permanent, and links to more information are becoming a norm.
Virtual galleries can be cool, but nothing beats seeing a piece in person.
It's nice to have an overview of what's where, but the experience of eventually seeing a sculpture or even just an oil painting in person will always be an irreplaceable experience. Bringing art through a virtual guide perhaps shouldn't thrive to replace the physical world. Or at least not for this project.
In the end, it's about finding something you love.
And all the energy spent trying to find what sort of art is where and how to get to it, seems to be motivated by that.
White Paper Research
"91% AGREE OR STRONGLY AGREE THAT THEY PREFER MORE INTERACTIVE/VISUAL CONTENT"
As the 2015 content preferences survey suggests, a large majority will rely heavily on visuals to orient themselves. This doesn't come as a surprise, and is of course more than fitting for an app concerned with visual art. The main point to be extracted from this survey is the fact that a visual catalog of the street art pieces is necessary. While some will undoubtedly search for art via location and/or proximity to their own itinerary, most (as my own interview responses suggest), will heavily rely on visuals in their decision process to go see a piece in person. While slightly outdated, the authors of the book Visual Persuasion (Stephen Baker), draw in many ways similar conclusions.
Competitive Analysis + the Gap + Interviews
While platforms sharing street art related news and new work do exist, many take the shape of a blog. On the other end of the spectrum map heavy platforms exist, but they almost exclusively offer maps as the main point of discovery of new work.
Throughout my research, both surveys and people I interviewed point to the fact that people prefer visually oriented platforms to discover art.
Furthermore, a majority has agreed on their willingness to travel to see art that they like. And in order to reach their destinations, most have mentioned their use of Google or Apple maps.
All of this led me to think that the app shouldn't deviate from its main goal of creating the opportunity to discover street art. It shouldn't compete with established apps providing directions. It should provide the possibility to acquire a street art piece's address, and provide a visual catalog of street art through which the audience can browse and select from and later travel to.
- is a journalist working in Philadelphia
- travels often for his work, loves to plan out his trips to discover local communities
- likes to visit art galleries but due to COVID-19 is looking for outdoor activities
- isn't very familiar with street art and just wants a platform that would help him discover cities he travels to
- finds attractions by proximity to his work itinerary
- uses Apple Maps to get around
- is a photographer from LA, but travels around the country for her work
- is willing to travel to specific locations for photo shoots
- loves to include street art in the backgrounds of her photos to show off local communities and artists
- uses a variety of platforms to find street art, but always has a hard time finding the location of the pieces
- looks mainly for fitting visuals, color combinations - location is secondary
- loves to post pictures of her own urban art discoveries
- is a street artist but also has a full time job
- is looking for a platform to get exposure to the wider public / a platform dedicated to street art where he can post his work
- often travels between LA and NYC, where he usually looks for new street art pieces
- often looks for neighborhoods already popular among street artists to boost chances of being noticed
- uses Instagram to connect to artists
- uses google maps to get around
The design is oriented around
two major functions:
a map and a catalog.
The catalog is materialized through a pull up "gallery" that provides the user with the possibility to browse through a feed of artwork dependent on the input in the search bar, but also the possibility to add artwork spotted in the urban landscape, or even bookmark specific street art from the "gallery".
The map on the other hand, provides the user with a geographic guide to the city's street art. It' s a good way to identify neighborhoods dense with pieces, and get directions to specific locations.
Better done than perfect. I'm so happy I made the time to finally finish my first UX oriented project on my own time after work, as the exposure to new problems and new design environments is always creatively stimulating.
At the same time, I wish I had more time to create a functional prototype, a few more iterations, and maybe do one more round of interviews with different people in reaction to the first interview responses, which would inform the design and importance of certain features even further. The UI interface is far from perfect, and has long ways to go, but it does more information than a wireframe.
In the end, it's about learning from past projects, and applying those lessons to the next. Without trial and error, it'd be impossible to learn.