The "INK TANK: When You Think About Ink" project involved finding solutions for problems that many inexperienced tattoo seekers face: "How can I find the right tattoo for me?" "Where can I find a reputable artist?" "How does the process work?" I was tasked to conduct research, identify and solve these problems for a more seamless, less stressful tattoo experience.
Lead UX/UI Designer
Sketch, InVision, Flinto, Photoshop, Pen & Paper
Getting a tattoo is a very personal endeavor. People get tattoos for a variety of reasons, be it for self-expression, a positive message of “self-confirmation,” or as an outward declaration of independence. The reasons for getting a tattoo are as varied as the people getting them. However, it can also be a nerve-wracking experience. Understanding the emotional ups-and-downs of the tattoo decision process (especially for the first-time tattoo recipient), from artwork to the artists, is crucial to being able to create an app that caters to these unique needs.
I began my competitive analysis by searching the Apple and Android stores for anything tattoo related, and in my research, I came across the apps, "Inkhunter" and "Tattoodo." Through Augmented Reality, the Inkhunter app projects any tattoo design on any part of your body to let you see how it will look, and Tattoodoo states they are “The World’s Largest Tattoo Community” with over 5 million collectors and artists worldwide, giving them a significant advantage in the marketplace. However, after researching and recognizing the app's strengths and weaknesses, I believe there is ample opportunity to take advantage of the new and first-time tattoo market.
RESEARCH & INTERVIEWS
User surveys and one-on-one interviews were conducted with multiple test subjects for the purpose of gaining insight into their wants, needs, goals, and motivations. Identifying and understanding the user's pain points of the tattoo process is essential as well, what they’re struggling with, and what they find frustrating.
I created the User Personas for "Tim Patrick" and "Lynn Parker" based on key findings from my surveys, interviews, and research. These personas are meant to represent how typical users of the app may think and behave.
JOURNEY MAPS & USER FLOWS
The Journey Maps and User Flows visually map out how the users (Personas) go about performing specific tasks, such as booking time for their first tattoo or finding their "perfect artist."
INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE & SITEMAPS
After I completed my Personas and Journey Maps, I created Sitemaps to visualize how users will navigate the app, and what sort of content they will need to support them in their goals.
In the initial step, I began sketching out ideas for content and usability based on the needs and desires of my personas. The sketching process is a great "idea generator," allowing me to take into consideration problems from different angles and different solutions to address those problems.
Wireframes were then created to define the hierarchy of items on a screen and communicate what the items on that page should be based on user needs.
At this stage of the process, I've already generated a wide range of ideas for my design, and now I start refining the best ideas as well as starting the process of removing the ideas that just didn’t work.
My idea for INK TANK is to create an app that allows an inexperienced tattoo shopper to easily access pertinent information for THEIR needs without having to sift through huge swaths of unnecessary information. Prototyping really allows me to hone in these ideas and start creating the app's structure.
I chose a black, white, and gold color palette for a modern yet luxurious and distinctive feel.
High-Fidelity prototypes allow clients and team members to get a clear idea of how the product will look and work before it ever goes live. You can also set clear expectations with developers in the early stages on how much time will be needed to build your prototype and have a finished product.
No matter how much time you spend on ideating and prototyping your designs, not until you conduct tests with real humans can you get a true assessment of the usability of your product.
I conducted both "In-Person Moderated” and “Remote Moderated” Mobile App Usability tests with the goal of identifying any usability issues and gauging the user's satisfaction with the app, including features, functionality and aesthetic appeal. Feedback from testing sessions helps you understand what part of your design requires improvements.
Through the surveys, interviews, research, testing, designing, re-testing, re-designing, etc., of "INK TANK," I never lost sight of those who will actually use the product. These people are not abstract "users," but real human beings looking for solutions to problems. I prefer the term "Human-centered design" (HCD) as HCD develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process.
I strongly believe INK TANK delivers on the promise of a one-stop-shop for those seeking their first tattoo, offering great usability, a clean, uncluttered user interface, and incredible value for the user.