Product Designer, from conducting research to visual design
Huge shoutout to the Fuse Chicago chapter for joining me in ideation
12 week class project
They have chapters in 10 different cities around the world, publish a magazine, keep a BIPOC creative directory, and more. Learn more about their story here.
Fuse Chicago and I discussed their desire to better connect their members, and what potential solutions could look like. They were drawn to the idea of creating a new space built to be more genuine, accessible, and honest.
A place where you can share your best work and your work in progress. Help each other succeed through honest conversations as yourself, or anonymously. Share your story and celebrate other’s stories.
This new digital layer makes content and community more accessible to places without a physical Fuse chapter, opening the door to growing a larger membership.
Interviewees worked at varying levels of a creative industry, from a freshly graduated student to Creative Director, and all identified as BIPOC.
Goals: Learn about the pain points of pursuing a creative career and networking along the way.
Outcome: After synthesizing with an affinity map, two guiding personas emerged (1) the rising and (2) the established, along with core needs.
For many that have succeeded in their career, the causes have largely been contributed to the strong networking channels they have created over time. (Forbes)
But the other side of this reality is: it leaves people behind. So how can we bridge the knowledge and network gap to better serve everyone in the Fuse audience?
Testing The Prototype
The gap: there needed to be improvements made on several different interactions, such as double-tapping on a post to "like" and auto-populating the search results in real time. In addition, a desire to make the profile page even more focused by putting story first.
The good: users appreciated the familiar interface that limited cognitive strain, how unfocused it was on social status, and how much more personal the platform felt because of it.
Celebrate Identity, build room for authentic self expression and centering of experiences.
Cultivate Bravery, fuel honest connections at every turn.
Touch Reality, bridge the gaps between online to offline to affect tangible change.
Transparent overlays let creative work shine through, but still keeps text readable.
Alena joined Fuse a few weeks ago and is interested in entering the fashion industry.
She’s looking for a job, but lives in a small town where she’s only made local connections. She wants to meet more like-minded folks from Chicago, where she’s looking to move to and jumpstart her career.
Alena attended an online Fuse Chicago event for the first time and opens the Fuse app to connect.
With Fuse, Alena’s creative network and knowledge base continues to grow and she’s able to move closer towards a successful career in Chicago.
In the future, I’d like to dive deeper on how mentorship could be integrated. I could see this being achieved through a matching feature or conversation starters, but it fell a bit too far from Fuse’s current offering for this first version. Definitely something to explore in version 2.0!
Additionally, I incorporated a space to sign in as a guest on the login screen. So what would a public Fuse look like for allies and/or recruiters? We are all in this together, so how do we create a space to reflect that?
Our assignment was open ended and allowed me to take ownership of defining the problem I wanted to solve. I'm active in community building and am passionate about creating opportunities for marginalized identities, so I wanted to explore how I could contribute design work to further those areas.
In the beginning, I struggled with deciding between creating a new brand or helping an existing organization. In the end, I chose to work with Fuse and was able to work with the Chicago chapter. It really meant a lot to be able to collaborate with an existing organization, even if it's probably not going to be developed (unless?).
Another learning: the Creative Savior Complex. Design is not always the answer.