UX Case Studies

Social Media

Share Your Style | 2014

An entrepreneur asked me to help him develop his idea for a fashion- focused online community where people could buy and sell their clothes.

This was a fun project for me, because my academic background is in the application of social psychology to computer-mediated behavior. I have a lot of specific thoughts on how social software can be designed to cultivate certain kinds of behaviors over others.

I started by storyboarding the core experience: viewing photos and clothing (see above). The client was also concerned about the first-time user experience -- the process of setting up your photo feed -- so I included some storyboards for that flow, too...

Next, I wanted to sort out the particulars of the behavior design: social signals, reputation, and incentive systems. All of these elements needed to be aligned behind the site’s mission. The standard “Like” doesn’t steer user behavior toward anything in particular, and we were trying to build a community of practice around something both more specific and indefinable… style.

I settled on “Cool,” “Classy,” and “Sexy” as relatively independent aspects of style, exactly the kinds of ineffable things my client wanted to cultivate. I devised some simple visualizations to add context to those signals, above and beyond simple view or follower counts. An “elite” status for top contributors both rewarded their behavior directly and increased their visibility, so they could serve as role models for others.

The final step in my engagement was full-size wireframes for each of the major page templates. These are low-fidelity, because a visual designer would be engaged to create an identity and style the UI later.

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