I didn't know any better back in August 2018.
I had only been leading a tech startup for a few months. Back then, I was the only person looking at my work day in and day out. I knew my workflow inside out; I knew my designs. It was my biggest mistake and one that got me started on my path to becoming a UX Designer.
A little backstory. Back in April 2018, I co-founded a tech startup called Shoot. Shoot was the marketplace for booking photographers for your particular events. The goal with Shoot was that anyone can use the website to find a photographer in the desired price range, quality of work, and good reviews. Think AirBNB, but for photography. A lot of our design work is heavily inspired by AirBNB because they are just so good.
Let's take a look at the screenshot of the website from September. A couple of things. At the time, the idea was that we would have one website, and the photographers would be differentiated by categories, which are represented as #portraits, #headshots, and etc.
Pretty simple right? You have the photographers name, their starting price per hour/session, and their specialty. I sketched it out and showed the team. I then coded it in just HTML and CSS and reminded myself that nothing I build is final. I didn't try to look into it too much at the time, till I handed it to someone looking at the website for the first time.
What we observed is that users didn't know these were clickable items. On mobile, they perceived them as Instagram posts and just kept scrolling till we intervened. After we pointed out that they are indeed clickable cards for the photographer profile, they pointed out that they thought the photographer is in the photo.
After our discovery, we decided to scour the internet looking for inspiration on card design. We looked at AirBNB, we looked at our competitors, and we paid close attention to the types of software most of our customers used daily, like Instagram.
The circle containing the photo of the photographer came from Instagram. The name of the photographer is on the right side of the circle. To Instagram users, it is nothing new. But to non-Instagram users, it gives the idea that the circle contains the photo of the photographer and their name is on the right side, as opposed to the much larger photo.
Our customers care about ratings, so do all of us. Any product on Amazon with less than 4 stars is usually eye-brow raising. We didn't have photographer reviews at the time of the design, but we did our internal review of the photographer's work and attitude. The 5 stars helped with that and the customers understood that.
Around the same time, we created subdomains based on the photographer's specialty; Graduation, Professional, and Dating categories. That allowed us to remove #portraits, allowing space for the stars.
Finally, in order to really guide our customers to click on the profile, we added the "View Profile" button. Before we were basing our design decisions on AirBNB and they were promoting houses, not photographers. We could not rely on the same approach. People had never heard of us, and what we were doing was somewhat new.
The new design was well-received by the photographers and our customers. Everyone understood in a few seconds what the cards represented. We were advised to also make the entire cards clickable, and to be fair it made a lot more sense. It was one of my first successes as a UX Designer because I was also the developer. I knew my limitations with HTML and CSS and had to design accordingly, and in the future, I will be mindful of that when working with other developers.
Originally posted on Behance