Etchings App Redesign

Etchings is a retro photo editing app that was designed and submitted to the apple app store in 2013. Its most recent version was last updated in 2016. The task was to redesign the interface to look more modern and compete with popular apps in the app store.

My Role
UX Designer
Problem Definition, User Research, Wireframing, Prototyping


Key Features

Redesigned Splash Page
Designing a new look for the home page meant introducing animation to the logo to create a welcoming feel for users once they launch the app.

Tour Page

Using a nickel tour pattern, once the user has launched an app, they go through a few quick screens outlining key features of the app. The quick tour takes them step-by-step through the application so that they get productive immediately. Repeat users can skip this process by clicking anywhere on the screen.

The app now has a swipe and bolder filters. The images are larger and the gesture allows realtime update without adding extra steps when a user taps on a filter.

Single View Before and After
Users can now see both the before and after of an image while they edit using the filter feature without returning to the previous page or undoing their action.

Considering that most user who adds filters to their pictures do so to the minutest details, it is important that such behavior should be supported by modifying the app to afford such actions.

Expand Button
With the expand button, the settings can easily be put away to avoid any distractions while a user interacts with the app. It has also been designed to sit right at the thumb area for easy click and interaction. This feature makes the interface less cluttered with an obvious sign showing that there are actions hidden below the button.

Project Overview

My UX plan was to define the problem by reviewing the current app interface by specifically looking for design and usability problems. This will then make lead to identifying opportunities for improvement. Also, the plan was to carry out user research through interviews to understand their motivations and pain points when using a photo editing app.

Problem Definition/Goals

With an abundance of apps that helps users edit their photo and videos seamlessly, there is a need to develop a modern, user-friendly, and functional app that can work with other features and affords social interactions. Based on research, a large number of people who use photo editing apps do so to post images on social media platforms for their followers to appreciate and give thumbs.

In summary;
• There is an abundance of apps and other online sources for photo and video editing (fierce competition).
• Most popular apps have photo editing features.
• Bad retention rate. Not many loyal/ repeated subscribers.
• Redesign the main screen of the app (Filters & Settings).

Quick fixes;
• More modern, easy and functional app.
• Work with existing app features & enable unique interactions.
• Enable users achieve tasks easily & efficiently.

A list of the quick fixes to the app. This overview allowed me to focus on some of the most relevant featuresthat users expect to interact with on the redesigned app.

Technical Requirements

Below is the current app design showing different screens. The app was built for iOS and so the designs have been built with this specification. It is available for download in the app store. The requirement for the redesign had to be built to iOS specification.


My assumptions are unproven guesses and are based only on the information that I had at the time of getting the project brief.

• I assume that the users of this app may have used similar apps in the past and have some knowledge of how it works.

• I assume that they are tech-savvy and understand the nuances of using photo and video editing apps.

• I assume that they use the app while also aware that the use of the filters and settings will alter their images.

• I assume that the developers of the app had a goal when developing the app to enable social interactions, meaningful engagements & profitability for the business.

• I assume that users should repeat, be loyal and refer people within their circle to try the app.

• I assume that the users of this app have an artistic interest in illustrations and other art forms.

User Research

I have been able to generate relevant insights from potential users of etchings & other existing photo editing apps using my assumptions as a premise for research. I came up with a few questions, which I used in quickly interviewing 5 people.

While I found this exercise useful, a lesson learned early into the process was that that of the 5 random people that I approached to interview, they were all not artistic and only used photo editing apps for cosmetic photo retouches. Although, they all admitted to having tried an artistic app that illustrates and create retro effects.

User Insights

Key Insight 1: There are two ends of a spectrum on the user types. “The pros” and “Amateurs”.
Key Insight 2: Those that use photo editing app use it as a social activity whereby they put the completed image on a social media platform to share with friends.
Key Insight 3: 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.
Key Insight 4: 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.
Key Insight 5: 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 “editers”.


A visual representation of the user types and their goals when using a photo/videoediting app.

Competitive Benchmark

A competitive review was done to find patterns on some existing photo editing apps. However, it is important to know that one of the photo editing apps that was reviewed below is a multi-feature photo app and does not directly fall within the same category as Etchings.

A competitive analysis was carried out to benchmark Etchings app against some ofthe bigger players and already existing apps that offer similar service.

Quick Fixes

A list of quick fixes that have been identified after product, user research and competitive benchmarking.
They are;
1. Redesign the splash page
2. Make filters bigger and more modern (could introduce icons)
3. Introduce sliders and drag interactions for settings
4. Categorize filters for easy use
5. Introduce a before and after feature during photo edits so users can compare images while they edit.

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