A platform for digital-arts mentors to teach and empower mentees
Entire platform design from research to conception and design
Jennifer Lau, No Boundaries Design, LLC
Shivram Mahedran, Latice Design
October 2019–July 2020
A place for the art community to connect.
MentorMe.Art is a mentoring platform aimed at students of all kinds of digital-art, whether 3D modeling, environment modeling, environmental design, or character design. Students are paired up with mentors in whatever field they’re most interested in. The outcome is to have students prepared to work in the entertainment, movie, or game business.
Excited and driven, Shannon, the founder of MentorMe.art, found a turning point within herself and career embarking on this new journey. Her goal is to give to the art world what it is missing.
Excited about Shannon’s initiative due to the passion and knowing the art and design industry, I took on the Principal UX/UI Designer project. I led the brand strategy, design, and UX/UI for the entirety of the project. There were a lot of memorable moments I’ve learned as a designer:
- Brand Strategy is Still King. All projects I take on require a form of strategy to understand the direction of how this product is going to unfold. I asked questions to understand better who I was designing this for. Without it, the colors, language, and soul of MentorMe.art would not come alive.
- Treat Your Primary and Secondary Audience as One of Your Own. I’ve learned that whether your audience is mentors or students, they deserve a great experience. I dedicate my time to understand who these people are to build an excellent product for MentorMe.art.
- Communication is Key. The complex project required a lot of understanding and team-work. Without the in-depth knowledge of Shannon’s or Shivram’s, there would be no MentorMe.Art.
HOW DO WE TO GIVE TO THE ART WORLD WHAT IT IS MISSING?
– Jennifer Lau, Principal Creative, No Boundaries Design LLC
understanding the problem
I asked Shannon a series of questions to understand more of the problem she is looking to solve with MentorMe.art. Based on her observation in the digital-art space and her own, she felt like:
Lack of direction. Students feels lost because there is a lack of direction for the career he/she is pursuing.
Not Broad enough. Schools are not broad enough with what one would like to learn.
uncovering the goal
We concluded we had to focus on who their users are, how they are guided with their mentor, and how to make the platform part of a community.
establishing key audiences
After identifying the initial discovery, my main priority was to define who MentorMe.Art’s users are. Collectively, they are those who are open-minded, eager to learn, and self-driven. Through this exercise,
I was able to identify two user types—a mentee and mentors.
- Students / a self-taught artist readying to transition his/her career.
- Open to learning and new experiences.
- Has a hunger to learn.
- Likely to follow artists like Gabriel Picolo, Pernille Oreum.
- Does inking, digital art.
- Uses Instagram.
- Currently working and is looking to earn
- Aims to become a marketable freelancer.
- Has a healthy work-life balance.
- Uses social media platforms like Instagram, Youtube, and conventions to help spread the word.
- Likely to follow pages like Copic, Pentel, Pixar, and Dreamworks as his/her aspiration to either have them sponsor or for him/her to work for.
Understanding the struggles and solutions.
Part of understanding the struggles and solutions MentorMe.art offers is knowing what features will be implemented on the platform. Based on the user personas, I concluded that the platform had to be easy to use, flexible, and subtly vibrant.
Lack of feedback from instructors.
Lack of information about a subject.
Lack of guidance from school instructors and counselors
A mentee will have a mentor to guide him/her to on a specific criteria of interest.
A mentee will have a mentor to guide him/her to the area he/she wants to focus on.
A mentor is made available on an one-on-one basis. The mentor is able to critique the mentee.
cReating scenarios & Storyboards
From defining who MentorMe.Art’s users are and understanding their pains and gains, I map out the ideal experience for both the mentee and mentor. Storyboarding the experience allows me to understand when and how the platform will be used by a person.
Listed are two the many flows I did for MentorMe.Art
wireframing the vision
Based on the scenarios and storyboard, I worked towards potential solutions that feature the following in the wireframes using Omnigraffle: payment gateway, a calendar system, and a way for the mentees and mentors to keep track of their sessions.
Wireframing was a great way to understand the flow of how the platform was going to function.
creating the visual design
After gathering information from MentorMe.art users and understanding the user experience, we identified MentorMe.art is seen as a vibrant site driven to empower digital-artists on the platform. The representation of the warmth orange, yellow, and purple gave a sense of welcoming its users to the site. We were also mindful of using the colors sparingly for hierarchy.
To understand the visual identity, we must identify how the design will look and feel.
Brand attributes: Look & Feel
psyched • improved • motivated • inspired • empowered • fueled • driven • better • confident • supportive • valued
The mark is inspired by the representation of what a mentor is—wise, knowledgable, and guidance.
I decided to use an owl as it is symbolic of its meaning.
creating the high-fidelity design
I created the high-fidelity mockups in Figma then allowed Shivram and his team to develop the site. I worked closely with he and his development team to ensure the crucial interactions are covered.
For this phase, my goal was to visually presents itself as welcoming its users to the platform. Right off the bat, MentorMe.Art encourages users to search for their mentor that’s a good fit for him/her. The goal is to have the mentee book a session with his/her mentor with ease.