Project Details

Client: General Assembly - Passion Project

Date: October, 2018

Programs: Adobe XD, Photoshop, Illustrator

UX SKILLS: User Research & Interviews, Affinity Mapping, Journey Mapping, Personas, User Flows, Wireframing, Hi Fidelity Interactive Prototyping

Online: behance.net/connect-freely

Connect Freely is a UX Case Study I completed during my UX Design Immersive Course at General Assembly. The brief for the project was to create a fictitious application, or website based on a topic or idea that I am passionate about, following UX principles and best practices.

So, I found inspiration from one of my own problems in life. When I opened my restaurant I needed many different types of creatives from graphic designers to draftsmen. It was extremely difficult to find the right person and I found myself traversing multiple networking sites and individual portfolios. This process was time consuming and oberwhelming, and the frustration if it led me to start designing myself.
As a recent UX design school graduate, I also understand that creatives need to build great portfolios and market themselves online in order to find jobs, but struggle to do so at the start of their careers and when switching careers. How do we meet in the middle, and bring employers and creatives together in a way that is mutually beneficial? Connect Freely is a career networking hub tailored to creatives, and a one stop shop for employers and recruiters seeking to hire creatives. Connect Freely is inclusive of all creative fields; from writing to film. A social networking platform that connects the right business or individual in search of specialized creative work, with the right creator, in a way that helps both achieve their goals and dreams.
User Interviews
Primary Personas
Great Ideas

The Problem

Creatives in various fields are frustrated with the networking and portfolio building tools and platforms currently available on the market. They spend too much time on marketing themselves online, and on the curation of their online portfolios, with little to show for it. All of these career building activities distract them from their important creative work and leaves them feeling frustrated and unhappy.

Small businesses, recruiters, sole practitioners, agencies and even large corporations find new creative talent for contract and full-time positions online. But creative’s portfolios are scattered all over the web, and traditional networking sites don’t exhibit the work, individuality and personality of creatives effectively, which leads to a slow hiring process or lost opportunities.

The Solution

A robust networking site, with a simple, friendly and approachable aesthetic, that gives creators the freedom to express themselves, exhibit their work, and attract potential employers, while meeting the ever growing need for creative work and the freelance market.

The site will meet the needs of employers, creators, and the business through a commission based model, user generated and user driven content, and free accounts. The site will encourage networking, communication, and collaboration, provide portfolio building tools, paid cloud based services, paid marketing opportunities, fully customizable profiles, integrated portfolios, as well as templates and learning materials, and career boards.

My Reflections

If I see another food app case study I might scream! I wanted to pick a project that would be challenging, and I succeeded... I had to pivot a couple of times and remind myself frequently; “I am not my user”. I realized through conducting intensive in-person interviews that what I envisioned as the ideal creatives freelancing site marketed towards business owners, did not address any of the desires of creatives. Creatives have very particular needs and offer a separate challenge as they often shun or shy away from networking sites all together.

The MVP alone communicates the mixed and varied needs of all the stakeholders. This was a solo project, and therefore not as collaborative as I would have liked, but user interviews, user testing, and multiple peer reviews helped enormously, and forced me to change and realign my ideas and designs multiple times. There’s definitely a demand for this kind of site. My user surveys and interviews revealed that the networking sites available at this time have featuritis, are too content driven, and don’t meet their needs. Which inspires me to keep working on the concept and actually develop it!


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