When depict came to us, they had a prototype but it wasn’t a full functioning one. You were lucky if you could display your first art piece on the Frame under 30 minutes. The team called it “time-to-art” and it was the metric we agreed to reduce as much as possible.
2016 Aug - 2016 Dec
Role: Lead Designer
First, the developers replaced their custom built casting code with a library: Connect-SDK.
Next, the team re-examined the on-boarding flow. Casting technology was a little unusual. Your phone acted as a bridge to connect the Frame to your WiFi. This meant going back and forth between the app and your phone’s WiFi settings. So the instructions had to be clear and responsive as you followed each step. I had to design for worst-case scenarios. Interrupted connections and wrong passwords needed thoughtful error flows and copy.
The app also needed to introduce the whole concept of displaying digital art at home. It was a very different way to experience media. It could display photography, painting, animation, and drawings, all in one Frame. It had to show what it could be, whether app holders had the Frame or not. The on-boarding needed to show-off the crown jewel: the art.
I wrote a qualifying survey to screen testing candidates. Th team shared it on our personal networks and we offered a small gift card in exchange.
I drafted the testing candidate persona based on a few abilities and interests:
Recording the test was tricky. We had to set up a camera on the room for the team to watch, a camera on the frame, and a screen recording on the iPhone.
I was asked to explore the implication of a tiered subscription model.
A quarter way into the project, Jessica Knopp asked me to rethink their branding. Startups don’t often have the luxury to spend months on branding with a brand agency. So I focused my energy on less: a visual idea they can extend from and build a story with. This often means articulating the wordmark or logo.
For depict it was the idea of the “Open Frame”. The Frame was open to any art form, any orientation, any timeframe. It could fit any season or any mood. It uses the elegant Dala Floda by Commercial Type and Soleil by Wolfgang Homola.
As of January 2019
With our prototype in hand, the Depict team completed the app. They are selling and shipping out Frames and have an iOS app in the Apple store.