Tangere is a concept project for a new eCommerce marketplace where artists sell their work on and connect with their customers. Tangere aims to avoid the over-saturation of other art markets, while allowing lesser-known artists to set up shop and display their work for sale. Products are limited to wall art and sculpture; no crafts, vintage goods, or craft supplies, as seen on Etsy-esc sites. While there is no price limit for art pieces, the typical buyers have budgets under $1000. The platform is accessible, yet high quality, for up-and-coming artists and art collectors on a budget.
Tangere is a completely fresh concept that needed to built from scratch. My task was to identify how Tangere may fill a niche that is lacking in the Arts eCommerce industry. I conducted user research to inform my product and interaction design. I then developed a brand identity and logo that would compliment the design. Finally I created high fidelity prototypes of the site that were tested and refined via usability testing.
Based on my secondary and primary research, I identified a gap in the arts market for up-and-coming artists who want to sell their work, and younger art enthusiasts who don't want to break their bank. Higher-end art markets are often exclusive and very expensive, while sites like Etsy that offer cheaper prices are oversaturated and less impersonal.
Artists have the opportunity to express themselves by designing their personal shop pages, and are encouraged to post videos of their process, tell their story, and share insights on their art. This gives buyers an outlet to feel connected to their favorite artists. A casual messaging platform allows sellers and buyers to communicate about pieces directly, fostering a community on the site that feels truly like a virtual marketplace or gallery. All profit from art sales go directly to artists.
Interview questions were divided into two topics: Marketplaces & Online Art Purchases. I interviewed three users. All of them were females, ages 19-27. All of the subjects shopped through marketplaces for impersonal, convenience goods. When shopping for a more personal, specific item, they preferred to shop from the manufacturers site.
Based on my secondary research and interviews, I created a user persona to reference throughout my design process. Alexis represents one segment of my target users. She is young, creative person that often finds herself adjacent to the art world. Many of her friends are artists and she enjoys feeling connected to the arts scene. She is an altruistic consumer. Alexis aims to buy from small businesses that are preferably local, and avoids buying from large marketplaces like Amazon due to their unsustainable practices and poor treatment of labor and smaller vendors.
Alexis's motives and mindset reflects the goals of Tangere. She wants to feel a more intimate connection to the people she buys art from. She wants to support them and respects their work. Tangere is an ethical, artistic marketplace environment that fosters personal relationships between the buyers and sellers. It allows artists to express their personalities and tailor their vendor page accordingly.
I conducted an open card sorting study asking participants to sort a series of art pieces into categories of their choosing and define those categories with a title. The goal of the study was to uncover how users categorize art, and what sorts of terms or groupings would come easily to them. Therefore, I was more interested in what words and groupings they used, than what the groups contained.
Based on the Card Sorting study, I determined that users would benefit most from a flexible navigation system that allows them to explore work by Style, Subject, or Medium, and filter results even further by Price, Size, Style, Medium, and Subject.
My site map provides an overview of Tangere. It gives an overview of the site navigation and shows the all the different screens necessary to be designed for the site. I highlight which screens would rely on a grid layout design (marked in pink), and which navigation components (outlined in yellow) will direct users to destination screens (highlighted in yellow).
To construct this user flow, I created six different mini user personas that have different relationships with Tangere. For example, Persona A is a potential new user who saw an ad on social media displaying a series of pieces. She is curious about the site and may want to make a purchase. Meanwhile, Persona C is a long-time Tangere user who is scrolling through the site during their free time. Each persona has a different access point to the site (e.g. an email link that led them to a arts collection; directly from the home page; social media link to a specific artist's page). I did this to ensure that each user never reached a dead end and each user had the opportunity to reach their goal, whether it be just to explore or to make a purchase.
When creating this user flow, I was inspired by a series written by Crema.co founder, Tyler Tate titled Information Wayfinding. He discusses the importance of designing for user's varying wayfinding behavior: Locating (when users know precisely what they are looking for and have a specific goal), Exploring (when users gather an indeterminate amount of information, making the journey as important as the destination, if not more), and Meandering (when users don't have a goal or destination, but just enjoy wandering around a site). The personas in this user flow aim to reflect these wayfinding behaviors.
Tangere is an eCommerce project that taught me how to design more complex systems that had to be applied throughout the site page and into the checkout flow. Tangere is also a marketplace, which requires even more attention to detail, because each vendor differs from the next. While I didn't design for the vendor-side of Tangere, I dove deep into the intricacies of designing for marketplaces and understand the need to for a design to stretch across both groups of users, the buyers and the sellers.
Tangere demonstrates much of my philosophy in UX; design can be modular, simple, and usable while pushing boundaries and creating a unique, striking user experience. The feedback I received from usability testing helped me learn when it is appropriate to add unique features, and when it is not. For example, I ultimately replaced swipe events for touch events in the interaction design to mitigate user confusion and reliance on memory, and to avoid conflicts in native mobile interaction designs.