Artivore: The next course

My Role: UX Researcher | Duration: 2 weeks| Project Status: Complete

Artivore is the user-curated arts and culture application for New York. Our team of aspiring experts at General Assembly was asked to reassess and enhance its design; here is a report of our work.

The current homepage

We began by investigating Artivore’s place in the competitive market of event planning facilitation platforms. Examining competitors and comparators, we concluded that Artivore could benefit from restructuring its membership scope, and developing the site’s overall searchability and engagement opportunities. These later conclusions were supported by a heuristics analysis. We then ran usability tests on the existing site, and obtained our first list of suggested design changes; things like bookmark icons and an actual tags section.

User Research Phase

Now knowing where we wanted to focus on innovating, we began research into our userbase. Originally aiming to compile data from interviews with both existing and prospective users, we ended up with mostly prospective user interviews, so we focused on them for our redesign. We compiled the themes in their interviews into an affinity map, synthesized the map into key user insights, and constructed a persona from those insights.

We then stepped into the shoes of our persona, Jocelyn, and mapped out her user journey according to the “arc of engagement” method our client provided, discovering where Artivore could facilitate her New Yorking.

Through this market and user research, we revised our problem statement to reflect our insights into the problem space Artivore aims to change: How might we provide arts and culture enthusiasts a way to find events that allows for flexibility?

Design Phase

Our research completed, we dove into creation. After prioritizing the new features our research inspired, we ran a design studio with our client, compiling many excellent layouts for features current and new.

We discussed and consolidated our designs into a mid-fi prototype, and set to testing it, using a discussion guide fashioned from the goals and frustrations of Jocelyn. Our testing yielded considerable improvements to the existing site’s performance, with additional user feedback promising further refinement.

Development Phase

With the many insights and feedback we obtained from mid-fi testing, we brought our prototype into high-fidelity, restructuring search functions, adding Artivore’s color palette, and many of its gorgeous photos.

Testing this hi-fidelity prototype, however, did not yield the same improvements in task performance as our mid-fi had upon the existing site. Effectively, we were reaching the task performance ceiling, although excellent user feedback on our redesigns promised further improvements for our next steps.

Moving forward:

Our four-phase process completed, we compiled a list of metrics for Artivore’s product goals and future developments. We have a lot more ideas on many levels! Considering our auspicious test results, the supportive feedback of our user testing, and the intuitive nature of our new features, we’re confident our redesign can begin to bring out the best in Artivore.

The site will be easier to use, variously searchable, and inspiringly social. A robust platform that enhances its users’ cultural experience and expression, evolving word-of-mouth into a digital connective tissue between independent cultural and culinary hotspots and a city full of hungry minds.

We are obliged to acknowledge the dire toll Covid has taken on anything involving foot traffic. The cultural rituals of millions have been upended, and the worlds of art and food are suffering, but they are also innovating. Expression finds a way.

Artivore has the potential to unite an isolated New York with its marooned cultural purveyors as they try new things in a new landscape, and in the future, can even the playing field considerably as we get back on our feet.

Artivore isn’t some stuffy magazine dictating the do’s and don’ts of the Big Apple; it’s a community of artists and bon vivants sharing their secrets of the city.

With our design evolutions, that community will be more accessible and interactive than ever!

We’d like to thank Artivore for giving us the opportunity to work with them on this exciting project, and anticipate seeing how our input brings it to new heights.