Grace Experience Product & Marketing UX Design

Tell it like it is,

In a way they want to hear it.

Web Application Design

The Album of
Cora

An ideal photo stream for creating and sharing between friends and families.

Project Brief

We already have many ways to share photos — like Dropbox, Google Drive, Facebook, Instagram — but I never found a great way to really share a photo directly with my friends. We usually create a folder on Dropbox after we hang out to upload some photos, but the whole process always feels more like an obligation instead of enjoyable. Later on, we might pick a couple of nice shots to post on social medias with a short description. After that point, our original folder goes unused.

I always feel something deeper and more personal has been lost through the "sharing" process. I miss the physical old-school albums I always shared with friends over the afternoon tea. I am exploring some design ideas about bring the true feeling of album to digital age.

Subject Research & Analysis

Interestingly, in the non-digital age, people might share their latest photos on their desk, organize albums in a drawer, or hang their favorites on their wall — the old-school equivalent of social shares.

People also behave differently: Some are more likely to create an album as soon as they get the photos; others do this later and less frequently.

My best friend Judy used to write down detailed descriptions of the stories behind her photos every time she came back from a trip and wrap them up to give as gifts. I like this idea of recording stories — or simply using keywords or emotional tags to bring back long-forgotten memories as a more personal, specific description (which Google API can help with). For example, “sweet,” “bitter,” and “sleek” are all more informative than “house,” “London,” or “kayak.” This personal touch is much more unique.

Concept #1

Tag-centric design filtering makes curating photos very efficient. This design forces a user to tag his photos before uploading them. To help users (especially first-timers) understand the importance of photo tagging and cultivate the practice, the application displays a default set of recommended tags the first time the user uploads a photo. He will either be prompted with tags from those recommendations (such as time, location, and event) or enter custom tags following that convention. These tags are extremely useful when the user searches for a certain image. Whenever he starts a new search, the application reminds him of the tags he used previously.

Concept #2

This was a social-centric design. One of the great benefits of storing photos in the Cloud is that it makes content easy to share among people. This design was envisioned based on the online activities between people who share fun moments with others. Instead of storing photos only in the user's account, the “Storyboard” became an alternative, contributed to by the collaborative efforts of people from the same user group, who were either close or shared communal experiences and interests. They could upload photos from their favorite social platforms and compose the story by a combination of images and texts, making a fun article to read for both themselves and the application community at large.


Concept #3

The photos were indexed both horizontally and vertically by albums (event categories) and time. The user could either upload a photo directly to his timeline without revealing detailed information or create albums that live side by side with the timeline. The “two-dimensional” photo indexing would make organizing several photos at once more convenient.

Wireframe

The application design separated private and public photos to cover two different needs: private storage and public sharing. Users could also download photos and create slide shares.

Interestingly, in the non-digital age, people might share their latest photos on their desk, organize album photos in a drawer, or hang their favorites on their wall — the old-school equivalent of social shares.

People also behave differently: Some are more likely to create an album as soon as they get the photos; others are more likely to do this later and less frequently. My best friend Judy used to write down detailed descriptions of the stories behind the photos every time she came back from a trip and wrap them up to give as gifts.

I like Judy’s idea of writing down her stories or simply using keywords or emotional tags to bring back long-forgotten memories as a more personal, specific description (which Google API can helps with). For example, “sweet,” “bitter,” and “sleek” are all more informative. This personal touch is much more varied and unique.

User Interface Design

The interface has align with wireframes, users should be able to upload a photo from all means, and have the flexible to organize photos by folder or timeline.

UX Details & Iteration

The status info includes file location, upload failure, text editing states, search result, hover states, autocomplete and predictable search. I also apply the fuzzy search theory and from my online research, I noticed common people have a better memory in location and season (for example, they may recall it is a trip during the summer, but probably cannot describe which year.)

What I've Learned

The importance of brainstorming became clear to me. After I graduated from design school, I sometimes felt I’d become a design machine. Best practices sound great, but they can never apply to our daily design process. I refused to be a design machine. I want to think abstractly to find the root causes of a problem. But brainstorming helps — it combines a relaxed, informal, and nonjudgmental approach to problem-solving with lateral thinking. It encourages people to come up with ideas that might, at first, seem crazy. Some of these can be crafted into original, creative solutions while others can spark even more ideas. This helps get people unstuck by "jolting" them out of their normal ways of thinking.

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