Spring 2021 Thesis Case Study

A website to conquer creative blocks

FEB 2021 - MAY 2021
What the heck is it?
A digital product designed to help you overcome and work through creative blocks.
Why?
Users can post their creative blocks to get feedback from other users to have a new perspective in order to overcome creative blocks and get inspiration.
My Role
Project Lead
Researcher
Designer
Prototyper
Deliverable
High-Fidelity Prototype

Process Book

Take a deeper look inside the process and decision making of this project.

Organizing the PRoject

Getting started with this thesis, the study was broken down into three different phases: Problem Defining & Researching, Ideating & Prototyping, Testing & Synthesizing. Throughout the entire process, these phases are nonlinear and there was a lot of going back and forth to design the best solution to the thesis problem.

Phase 1: Problem Defining & Researching
FEBRUARY 08 - MARCH 04


Phase 1 focuses on defining and researching the problem and focusing on the users that are affected. This phase works to answer the question of: How might user experience design inform the creation of a digital product for visual designers that helps them to overcome or work through creative blocks?

Phase 2: Ideating & Prototyping
MARCH 06 - APRIL 03

This phase aims to develop the best possible solution through wireframing and prototyping. The solutions that are presented to users are tested through and go through different phases of being accepted, improved, or rejected based on the user’s experience.

Phase 3: Testing & Synthesizing
FEBRUARY 08 - APRIL 14

With this phase, the data that has been gathered through testing and researching are found throughout the other phases. This phase focuses on the data gathered through surveying and testing to re-evaluate and validate the designs.

Thesis question

How might user experience design inform the creation of a digital product for visual designers that helps them to overcome or work through creative blocks?

Product definition

To encourage confident visual designers, my product will solve the barriers that creative blocks impose by giving them a platform that enables them to overcome and work through creative blocks.

Defining the problem

After researching countless articles and research papers on the topic of creative blocks, I wanted to further my research and reach out to creatives with a survey to gather quantitative and qualitative data. The intent of the survey was to gather personal experiences and perspectives I would not find in academic research. My participants who took the survey all had a background in the creative/artistic field, ages ranging from 18 to 39.

From this survey, I was able to discover and pinpoint the following topics:

- The time frame of creative blocks experienced from the participants. 41% of participants have experienced creative blocks that lasted from weeks to months at a time. While 31% of the participants had creative blocks that lasted over a year.

- Different methods participants do to find inspiration to design or create; They broadly range from social interaction, media, and expanding knowledge.

- A participant’s awareness of factors that cause their creative blocks and methods used for alleviating creative blocks.

Synthesizing Responses

Through methods of surveying and investigating traditional academic sources, I found that the best way to tackle my design problem was through designing a website platform that allows users to work from their desktop.

My decision to design for a desktop as opposed to designing an app was based on research that found that users use desktops for complex activities. Creative blocks are a complex problem that often hinders creatives from designing work or pieces. From surveying, 55% of the participants typically found inspiration online using platforms like Dribbble, Behance, or Pinterest.

User stories

With this step in the user experience process, writing out user stories allowed me to write out features in my product to flesh out the functionality and work in an agile approach. I was able to define what benefits my product will bring to my target audience. In this case, I depicted my target audience, otherwise known as “Actors", as Visual Designers. These descriptions I wrote follow a template of my actor, an action, and the benefit or value they will receive.

“As a visual designer, I can upload and show other designers my progress and gather suggestions/feedback, so that I am able to gain a new perspective for my work.”
“As a visual designer, I can keep track of when I am creating/designing work overtime so that I can be made aware of when I am creating the most.”
“As a visual designer, I want to broaden my knowledge of other designers and their works that I am unaware of so that I can discover new things to apply to my own work.”
“As a visual designer, I can learn ways to free up mental and ego burdens I experience when I have creative blocks so that I am able to feel mentally prepared when I am going through a creative block.”

User Journey

Using the same method of having “actors”, I wanted to map out the user’s journey. Mapping out this process allowed me to visualize an individual’s relationship and emotion with my product.

With mapping out the journey, I used my four different user stories for my product. Being able to do this was crucial as it informed me of the experience the user would go through to accomplish a goal.

User Flow

After going through the user stories and user journeys, I was able to lay out the user flow, which allows me to understand the user’s steps and interactions of going through the product. I laid out the flows in task-form in order to focus on how the user navigated through the website.

Wireframes

From drawing out low-fidelity wireframes to designing high-fidelity wireframes on Figma, I was able to design a prototype for user testing. Using what I learned through researching, I was able to get the pages and navigation out visually so that the user can focus on the structure of the website.

Landing Page Features

  1. The main headline and the summary to inform the user what they can expect from this digital product.
  2. A creative tracker that allows users to log their creative sessions.
  3. Daily warm ups offered for users to get their creativity going.
  4. Weekly challenges for those who want a weekly project.
  5. A thumbnail snippet of what other users are posting online.

Dashboard Features

  1. Sidebar for users to navigate through to get through their (optional) tasks to help their creative endeavor.
  2. Section that features creative blocks that are posted.
  3. Section that features archived (abandoned or resolved) blocks which are maintained for the purpose of gaining inspiration.
  4. "My Blocks" section which features creative blocks that the user has posted.

Creative Tracker Features

  1. Indicates what the purpose of what a creative tracker is.
  2. A section for users to type out their entry for tracking purposes.
  3. Users can keep track of their mood
  4. Simple calendar for users to look at.
  5. Users have the ability to attach a screenshot or photo of their work for progress tracking purposes.

'Learn' Page

Taking a step away from posting your creative blocks and doing creative work, the 'Learn' page enables users to learn more about overcoming creative blocks by reading articles that can help improve mental health.

Project Retrospective & Next Steps

Moving forward with this project, I would have loved to explore this idea and shape it into a product that also can be implemented in a professional and agile setting with team functionalities. Being able to work with other team members and overcome the creative block together could be meaningful to the user and provide more feedback to accomplish a goal.

In the event of this product were to be developed, some ways to measure the success of the platform would have to be:

- How often users are communicating with one another on a post
- How often users are returning with different problems to post
- How many archived blocks are resolved as opposed to being abandoned.

Thank you for your time!