A collaboration and workflow solution for creatives

Project Summary:

I created a project management system for small creative teams. The primary market is small to medium sized production companies, but any creative team that collaborates with scheduling and file transfers will find the website/desktop-based app beneficial. Many of the productivity apps on the market lack certain features that my research subjects would like to see, while emphasizing features that many of my interviewees would not use for various reasons.

The desktop app that I designed will allow users to quickly and intuitively access the information most important for their productivity. The four main features of this will be: 1. To allow the users to access a to-do list and project tracking tool, 2. To allow the users to access a calendar at a glance, 3. Allow users to upload files to a server and link to them within every module, and 4. Discuss projects with members of the team.

The main goals of this app will be intuitiveness and quick access to files and references to events within the different modules. I want the entire experience to be extremely quick with practically no learning curve. I also want the app to be motivating and conducive to productive work habits.

Research Findings:

I researched the frustrations and workflows of small filmmaking crews, event videographers, and portrait photographers. I thought there needed to be a way to simplify at least some aspects doing creative work with a camera. Through my research, I found that:

  • Media storage frustrated 7 out of 9 of my subjects
  • 8 out of 9 of my subjects have more than one open project
  • 4 out of 9 of my subjects struggle the most with client relations/post production
  • 8 out of 9 of my subjects collaborate with other creatives at least once a month

Most of my subjects seemed to really enjoy shooting and finishing their creative projects, but somewhere in between shooting and filming there is a purgatory of sorts that really discourages them as creatives. Some of my subjects attributed this to simply a part of the process. Many creative endeavors are learned skills (and learning skills takes time and effort), and some of my subjects just thought spending time and effort on areas that are inconvenient is the only way to get past the less glamorous aspects of creating. Many of the comments involved frustrations with specific pieces of gear, which weren’t incredibly useful, but I still get some good ideas for a way to improve the process without manufacturing perfect cameras and camera accessories.

I agree that putting more effort into a lot of things can alleviate some of the stresses and anxieties that come with them (school, work, sports, etc.), but I also agree with some of my subjects that think there could be a way to streamline a lot of the boring and stressful things creatives have to do to stay busy, collaborate, keep files safe, and stay on top of their calendars. Because of this. I decided to create a project management tool that allows for cloud storage of media, easy-to-use project tracking, and streamlined collaboration.

Primary User Flow:

Prototype (full screen, loads faster)
Usability Findings

I had four users initially run through my low fidelity wireframe. Through their experiences, I found that many of my users were confused about the different possible layouts of the “To-Do” page, some of the users found the overall design clunky, and many of my users found navigating between the different pages to be difficult.

To combat this, I decided to take out the different layouts of the “To-Do” page, which sacrificed a bit on functionality, but added a ton to the simplicity and intuitiveness of the application. I made the projects module larger with more features, so some of the functionality is still there, it is just hidden at a glance. I also updated the hyperlinking between different modules, making navigation between each module possible through a variety of different links, including the main navigation. The hyperlinking to various files from the server was updated and improved through a “projects” tag that is required on uploads. That way, files get organized quickly on the back end of the app, and it saves the user time and resources while referencing files. I also added a “details” column to the “add project” and “add task” functions, which makes adding little ideas quicker, but keeps the functionality for a more detailed description of tasks and projects.

People were also initially confused about the background image choice, so I added an option to change the background image to fit the branding and personality of each person using the app.

The welcome page was also confusing to some, so I added quick tasks (less than 5 minutes) that would be available to users upon login to give them a sense of accomplishment early on in the work day. This meant tasks had to be categorized by due date and the estimated time it would take to complete them upon entry, so that was added to the “add task” page as well.

The “sign in” and “sign up” pages were also centered due to usability findings, as well as many other aesthetic changes between the low-fidelity prototype and the final prototype.

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