In developing expo, our team’s task was to create an app that enhanced the experience of attendees of Art Basel Miami Beach 2017.
Art Basel is a world class fair for modern and contemporary art occurring annually in Basel, Hong Kong, and Miami Beach. As one of the largest and best established events of its kind, Art Basel draws an audience from across the globe full of collectors, curators, artists, critics, and fans. Art Basel Miami Beach 2017 will take place in December during Miami Art Week and is expected to bring upwards of 80,000 travelers into the city. 250 of the world’s leading galleries participate.
Despite its high profile, we found Art Basel’s website to be difficult to navigate. Although it features a robust catalog of past artists’ work and galleries featured in the event, tools for scheduling and purchasing tickets are either absent from the current website or buried in a chain of sub pages. In addition to Art Basel Miami Beach itself, there are roughly 30 satellite art events happening throughout the course of the week. These range from daytime pop-up art markets to night time hotel art parties spread throughout neighborhoods in both mainland Miami and Miami Beach. Though many of these events are affiliated with Art Basel, interested users often have to navigate to separate websites to purchase tickets or find any detailed information. It became clear to us that Art Basel Miami Beach could benefit from an application that simplified the process of planning for and navigating through this complex web of attractions.
With this problem in mind, we set out to create a dedicated app for Art Basel Miami Beach that would enhance the experience of the fair’s attendees. Our app provides a comprehensive guide through Miami Art Basel and Miami Art Week, allowing users to interact with attractions and events throughout the city and tailor their weekend to their interests.
Again, it became clear to us that the best solution to problems we observed in the current Art Basel Miami Beach online presence was to create a comprehensive guide to Miami Art Week. To us, this seemed most useful in the form of a planning and wayfinding tool for Art Basel and surrounding Art Week events. We wanted to create a reference where everything happening during this five day period could be seen in one place. Consolidating that information seemed like the most useful service we could provide for our users. Additionally, we wanted users to be able to have control over the way that this information was sorted and displayed.
Our design process begins with extensive research. Before finding solutions, we have to develop a clear understanding of the problem. To do this, we first used a variety of methods to validate assumptions we’d made about our product’s market and users. We conducted market research, becoming experts on Art Basel and their competitors, collecting demographics and studying existing apps. Competitor bench-marking helped us gain insight on the strengths and weaknesses of existing platforms. To understand how users feel about event specific apps, we conducted surveys and ethnographic field studies. All of this shaped our brief and vision for the product. This assured that we had a solid foundation of user and business goals before even considering visual design.
We further refined our plan through the creation of user journey maps, use scenarios, and user flows. Identifying points of user stress in scheduling and navigation allowed us to design with these in mind to craft a more pleasant experience. Our mission to create a stress free user experience while meeting business goals was a priority through the creation of multiple prototypes, user testing, visual design, and implementation. All this assures that our product not only looks great, but solves real problems.
The visual design for expo went through multiple iterations with a few goals in mind. In many ways, Art Basel Miami Beach and Miami Art Week in general feel like a big party. We wanted our design to be vibrant, exciting and to reflect Miami’s unique personality through bold color choice. At the same time, we practiced restraint to reaffirm Art Basel’s position as a sophisticated international brand.
More than anything, we wanted to simplify our product as much as possible. We took great care to cut our features down to only what was absolutely necessary to make our app as easy to use as possible. Event information, wayfinding, scheduling, and customization of event listings proved to be at the heart of our project and we focused our energy here. By avoiding over-complicated menus and navigation systems, we’ve made our app feel focused and quickly understandable.
Our final product was implemented as a series of finished screens for iPhone. A presentation explaining the problem, solution, and design rationale for the app was created and then given in front of an audience of design peers, instructors, and other interested parties. We illustrated the user flow of our product and all of its features through animation of our finished screens in a video. This was shown as the center piece of our presentation.