Oct 2019 — Aug 2021
Sr. Product Designer
"I'm an artist, and I see that lots of other artists struggle to showcase their artworks online, and I want to help them to deal with that problem."
The project started when a future founder of Smartist reached out to me with an idea in late 2019. The idea of the Smartist app was so simple. Artists create outstanding art pieces, but most of them aren't good at showcasing their artworks online. Usually, they place artwork on the same wall at home, in bad lighting, and take poor-quality photos. It's also expensive to hire a photographer to take a picture of each artwork, and then they struggle to find a good environment that would fit their artwork the best.
We started the project with just two of us, me as a product designer and an artist founder. From the beginning, my role included all responsibilities from the ideation and discovery stage to design implementation and development support.
The first step in the process was to define our niche, to find out who are our potential customers, what they need, who our competitors are, and what their advantages and disadvantages are.
I started with market research and found out what types of apps can solve similar problems, how they solve them, and who their customers are. I collected all this information in a spreadsheet, where I also compared competitors' features, revenues, downloads, and costs to understand their place in the market better.
The next step in my design process was understanding our potential customer pain points and validating the hypothesis. I conducted around ten interviews with different artists from the US and Europe. I asked them how they feel about their online presence and what problems they face when showcasing their artworks online, and I also asked them to describe that process step by step. After those interviews, I realized that all those artists have similar problems and similar processes of showcasing artworks online. User interviews provided lots of insights on the direction we should focus on and defined basic requirements for the future application.
When I collected enough information and insights, I came up with some simple ideas that could potentially solve our customers' pain points. Then I returned to the artists to validate whether these ideas could make their current process easier. It took at least a few iterations and a couple of user testing sessions to define the fundament of the future app. As a next step, I designed a working prototype in the Marvel app and asked a couple of artists to complete a few typical scenarios. To conduct and record those usability tests, I used Lookback, which allowed me to come back later to analyze results and polish the user experience.
As a result, we got a mobile application called Smartist. The app lets artists digitally showcase their artworks in realistic interiors, using accurate dimensions, natural lighting and shadows, and many customization options for artworks and the environment.
The main goal of the intro flow is to explain to the user how they can upload their artworks to the app. The intro flow includes: adding artwork from a library or just taking a photo via camera, then cropping an artwork from a photo, setting up the artwork's dimensions, and finally placing it on the wall.
We designed the My artwork section to allow users to manage their artworks. This is where users can upload new artworks, rename them, change dimensions, or adjust colors.
Interiors are probably one of the essential things in the app. Our 3d specialist and an interior designer created more than 100+ environments you can't find anywhere else.
Using our interiors allowed us to design unique customization options like an angle and front view of the interior or different color palettes and textures for each interior.
These features help our customers to customize interiors in a way that will perfectly fit their artwork.
At least half of our artists told us that frames are one of the essential components in showcasing artwork on a wall. We designed different realistic frames and matting options with artists in mind and have already proved the importance of this feature.
We didn't limit our app just to a single artwork option and designed an ability to simultaneously compose a few artworks on a wall. We provided standard templates to make it even easier and faster.
Most of our users use Instagram as the main selling platform. That's why we initially added a pack of different sizes for popular social media and Instagram.
As soon as our app was ready for Beta, we invited more than +500 artists to join our Beta testing. We got hundreds of insights that helped us to improve and polish the Smartist app before the release. Also, we got a lot of kind words from our customers, that could not disprove that we were on the right path.
It's very intuitive and has a wonderful interface. I'm very impressed with the app. Seriously, I LOVE THE APP! It's so nice and well done.
I love all the new rooms - the different angles and also the different wall colours. I also love the grid lines to help center and align multiple paintings. I'm also impressed with how the paintings sit behind lamps and plants as they would in real life. I also like the shadow box frame feature which is quite realistic. Well done. I'm highly likely to switch over to this app (currently using ArtRooms)!
Guys it's perfect. Congrats. I think is going to be a huge tool help for artists specially now that we are selling more than even online.
For a year and a half, I was working as a founding designer and collaborating closely with a founder, engineers, a QA, and also a 3d designer in order to design the app that will help artists to stand out online.
I was responsible for design in general, from polishing an idea, and choosing the right platform (between web, android, and ios), to conducting competitor and user research, interviews, usability testings, prototyping, and of course implementation of those concepts in Figma.
But my role wasn't limited by design. I was responsible for analytics, which I configured together with an engineer. Also, I was one of those who made key decisions about product strategy, marketing, development, and technology.
The Smartist app was launched in April 2021.