Etchings App Redesign

Etchings is a retro photo editing app that was initially designed in 2013. Its most recent version was last updated in 2016. The task was to improve the current interface to make it look more modern. I worked on the Etchings App Redesign project in 2019.

My Role
UX Designer
Activities/Deliverables
User Research, Competitive Benchmarking, Wireframing, Persona, Usability Testing, and Prototyping
How might we make a photo editing app that is less complex and allows users to edit photos irrespective of their different skill levels?

Redesigning a retro photo editing app

The Etchings project required the redesign of an already existing retro photo editing app. The first activity was to define the problem by testing out the current app interface by explicitly looking for design and usability problems and then introducing other methods to collect data and, in the process, gather insights that will eventually serve as possible redesign opportunities. Once I had deep dived into this approach, gradually in the process, I was able to identify opportunities and areas for improvement in the current design. The second phase of activities was deep-diving into user research using interviews as a crucial way of getting to understand users' motivations and pain points when using a photo editing app. Detailed activities included carrying out a competitive review of other retro apps, user flow, wireframing, and then prototyping.

Features To Help Improve User Interactions And Activities On The App

The core aim of the features is to create an experience that will allow users to achieve their goals with minimal difficulties intuitively, and this required research and multiple design iterations.

Etchings App RedesignEtchings App RedesignEtchings App Redesign

Redesigning A Retro Photo Editing App

The Etchings project required the redesign of an already existing retro photo editing app. The first activity was to define the problem by testing out the current app interface by explicitly looking for design and usability problems and then introducing other methods to collect data and, in the process, gather insights that will eventually serve as possible redesign opportunities. Once I had deep dived into this approach, gradually in the process, I was able to identify opportunities and areas for improvement in the current design.

The second phase of activities was deep-diving into user research using interviews as a crucial way of getting to understand users' motivations and pain points when using a photo editing app. Detailed activities included carrying out a competitive review of other retro apps, user flow, wireframing, and then prototyping.

Using interviews as the method to get data, I was able to generate relevant insights that I used to match with those of my assumptions going into the research. Also, considering that there was no budget available for this project, the participants were kept down to 5, which is a fair number for qualitative research. While I found this exercise useful, an early observation was that of the five people that I approached to interview, they were all not artistic and only used photo editing apps for cosmetic photo retouches. However, they all admitted to having tried a creative app that helps them achieve retro effects on their images.

Etchings App Redesign
Etchings App Redesign

Key Insights From User Research

There are two ends of a spectrum on the user types. “The pros” and “Amateurs.”

Those that use photo editing apps use it as a social activity whereby they put the completed image on a social media platform to share with friends.

To get their desired results, users agreed that they go through an average of 4-5 steps.This process includes uploading images, trying out the filters, and saving and image.

The aim is to create more flawless pictures. The filters that are currently available are good enough, although they may be better if categorized for easy use.

Not so many young adult users are artistically inclined when editing their photos.Therefore, the etching app may appeal more to older adults/ seniors who have a sense/appreciation for a retro feel. An opportunity will be to attract young adults who are active “editors”.

Etchings App Redesign
Etchings App Redesign
Etchings App Redesign
Etchings App Redesign

Project Evaluation

Project Timeline

I recall this project as one that had a quick turn around, which sometimes is a challenge. However, it is reasonable to experience hard deadlines that come sooner than one would have expected. While this was the case, I was able to work around this constraint and still ensure that the project went through the critical phases of research, insight generation, and prototyping solutions.

Possible Bias
Time constraint meant that the data had to be from users who are within reach and familiar to me. This data was obtained through interviews.
While interviews remain a very crucial method in user research, the data from this in this instance may be a little biased due to my familiarity with respondents.

New Business Opportunity
Finally, I thought that it was a brilliant idea to have an app that allows people to make edits to their images using artistic filters. However, there is the business opportunity side to it, which appears to be a lack of the social aspect. This social aspect is what allow peopled take, edit, and post the images on their social pages which often time is on the same app like Instagram.

So my recommendation on this project is the need to consider extending the business offering to accommodate the lifestyles of its users beyond taking pictures for storage in their image folders on their phone.

Thanks for stopping by!
Do not hesitate to email me to discuss a future project, an opening or to chat anything of interest over a cup of coffee.

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