AdWork. A UX Case Study from Scratch

 Adwork : A Case Study from Scratch

Finalized app concept mockup

Finalized app concept mockup


Adwork is a app concept that is geared towards young creatives building their portfolios, connections and experience when graduating/job seeking later down the line. It takes inspiration from current applications such as Instagram, Reddit, Fiverr, & Tinder. User research was taken through in-person interviews & remote surveying via online communities.

The Challenge:

  • To create an app concept to help young creatives get real experience whilst building a portfolio.

My Role:

  • Main user researcher & designer

Tools Used:

  • Sketch

  • Adobe Photoshop

  • Figma

  • Google Forms & Sheets.

The Solution:

Adwork’s concept allows for creatives

  • To RECEIVE COMMUNITY critique/support

  • Partake in low-risk projects from clients.

  • Develop their portfolio for future reference.


What is Adwork & What Problem Does It Seek to Solve?

Adwork is app concept that I had to come up with for my final project for my UX Design class. The primary goal was to create a application concept that we would be passionate to work on.

Being a young creative myself, I decided to base my app on my struggle to build up a portfolio myself so to go along with the primary problem, I asked myself the 3 questions in order to build a foundation for my research:

  1. How can I give real project experience to young creatives.

  2. How to share their work to a community to improve their skills & become recognized in the industry.

  3. How to help creatives manage & understand clientele relationships.

Adwork from the ground up is a concept to help other young creatives get their footing into the industry, be it building their portfolio for future employers to see, or making connections within the creative technology, it’s a tool to help young creatives first and foremost.


User Research: The Who, What, Where, & Why

In order to discover what my targeted users- young creatives, would want within Adwork, user research must be conducted in order to figure out how I can combine my inspirations with the user’s wants and needs. This allows me to gain feedback on their usage of such an app, how specifically they would use it and why they would want to use it.

User Research involves a lot of interviews !

User Research involves a lot of interviews !

With all of this in mind, I have sent out a survey through facebook groups dealing with advertising, reddit subreddits such a r/advertising, r/userexperience, & r/graphicdesign, as well as sending it to public forums on websites such as Dribble, Medium, and Deviantart while also interviewing my fellow classmates within the communication technology major. All of these communities and individuals are chosen because of the implications that they would be the most likely candidates to use the app based upon their hobbies/career interests.

User Testimonials

User testimonials are something that I was very keen on doing. By having my users answer specific questions about how they feel towards projects, or how they would handle specific situations, it gave me more insight as to how they would view and use the app.

Having a uncensored human element contributed to the bigger picture about how to make it comfortable for them - the users, instead of looking at it from the perspective of a designer.

When asked specific questions about their perspective on “what's the worst thing to do in order to seek out creative inspiration” for clientele projects, some surveyors have responded by stating the following:

The worst thing to do if you are creatively bankrupt is to freak out. If I start freaking out and make myself more panicked than i already am, i will most likely just pass out and that doesnt help me with anything in the end. Do not wait around for inspiration to come to you, get up, look around in places that have nothing to do with what you are working on, and the inspiration will most likely be there. Do not look at other artists’ work in that moment because that will just get you more discouraged.

Waste time trying to beat an idea into submission. It may be a very good idea, but it may not be the right fit for the project you're working on at the moment.

When asked if “they enjoyed giving or receiving feedback from others”, some users responded by stating:

Giving feedback to others on their work is one of the most important part of any creative field. In school, we are first taught how to PROPERLY give criticism to someone on their work. I personally enjoy giving feedback to other because not only does it help them, but it probably helps me more. Its no surprise critiquing your own work is hard, but looking at someone else’s work, I realize what actually works in design and what doesn’t. While critiquing someone's work, i learn alot about myself. First of all, where do my design principles stand? I often ask myself in my head if i hate some aspects of the person’s design because it’s not visually appealing, or the actual design is not working? With every comment, i like to give my reason and also advice on how to make it better. This helps me because i take that same advice and apply to my own work in the future.

Yes, as long as they aren't defensive. I appreciate receiving it and it's a sign of a respect for someone's work, emotional development, and intelligence (even when it's negative)..

I don’t mind, but it very much depends on who I’m speaking with. I have to take time to get to know the person in order to gauge how well they can receive constructive criticism, then work to adjust my language s.t. they don’t feel attacked.

Visualization of Data

These charts represent my user research based upon the survey that I had sent out. The charts gave me a visualization of my data which helped me gain a better understanding of what features would be beneficial to design and add into AdWork.

Furthermore, seeing what can or can not be used practically as a feature gave me more insight on how to design AdWork in general. This includes the community sharing aspect for the networking graph, what programs are most users familiar with in order gauge different skill levels, and if the app itself would even be in-demand as a whole by seeing if prospective users are in need for creating a portfolio.

MoodBoard: Inspiration through User Research

My user research helped me make more refined decisions based on the design layout. Having said that, in order to help aid my design process, I did user research based on my inspiration for AdWork.

This involved analyzing my current inspirations and taking notes based on what worked and what did not. This included the analyzing the IA,UI, UX of my inspirations which includes: Instagram,  the Reddit is fun mobile app, Tinder & Fiverr.
I also took into account which color palettes & font would work the best in order to create a visual design that would appeal to users the most

AdWork - Moodboard.jpg

Sketching Out Ideas: Wireframing

The user research gave me heavy insight on all of the basic design aspects be it the information architecture, whether or not I should include CTAs(call to action buttons) and what design choices I should lean on to make the users feel more comfortable using Adwork. That being said, I had a hard time visualizing the final end product.

Being creatively stuck like rock in a hard place, I decided that maybe I should just sketch out my ideas in order to gauge interest as to what design should I lean more towards, based on the user data and even after that, I had went back to users for second opinions to help see what works and what does not. With that being said, I created wireframes of two different designs in order to help out my process and get out of this rut.


ADW: Wireframe V.1

This is version one of Adwork. It uses a community hub & matching screen as it's base page. It also details a user's profile page to sort it's preferences, while also displaying the ‘matches’ page taking heavy inspiration from Tinder.


ADW: Wireframe V.1.2

Version two incorporates more of a community based design, focusing on the voting mechanic more. There is also a lack of a hamburger menu. Also the matching system is more towards predetermined recommendations rather than a pool of random clientele to match from. This version focuses on more towards the CTAs(call-to-actions) by giving users more freedom and gratification.

Putting both of these low-fidelity wireframes up on display are things that I wish to improve on, when becoming more adept as a designer. Having said that, by sketching out different concepts and multiple versions of a project helped clear up any doubts about design decisions. Furthermore I enjoyed letting my creativity go in order to refine my skills and better engage in my research material by taking inspiration from those.


Final High Fidelity Mockup

ADW  Alternate Cover.jpg

Adwork has been the final result of much user research, wireframing and designing. It's become a combination of a step by step process that uses these ideas in order to create a user-friendly experience that is easy to utilize. That being said, it’s by far a perfect project but it’s inspired me to become a UX designer because of how much fun I had doing it.

The Log-In page of AdWork, nothing really special but just more user-friendly ideas at display. Though I wish I could design a better logo. Maybe also not putting night mode in the log-in page would be beneficial?

The Community Hub page takes major inspiration from the ‘Reddit is Fun’ home page. The hub-toggle was a last minute idea that I had to implement when I realized the dropdown menu wasn’t that clear in terms of switching the ‘hub’ page between the ‘matching’ page, I’m actually proud that I thought of this, but maybe stylize it a bit more so it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb? Also maybe too much text in general?

The Community hub page is where you can view other creator’s designs and posts. The in-depth view gives you that user’s description of their project, the original requirement/foundation given by the client & the creators design based off of that, the community ranking itself and the creator’s profile. Also allows you to comment on the project itself. Wish it was more detailed honestly. The dropdown menu should’ve been more well thought out, like my concept of it was good but I believe the execution was sub-par honestly.

Using the ‘Hub-Toggle’ you switch between the ‘Matches’ & ‘Community’ page at will. This is where the inspiration from tinder comes from. I’m going to be honest but I really should’ve added more details to the matching page. In addition to the client range & occupation, I should’ve added the client/user review stars & what skills are preferred on their project. Though my impression was that the clients and creators would be matched based on those preferences already. I would also change my text color in the messaging portion to black instead of white. That being said I believe I could’ve done better.

This page I was unsure about when I first started to design it, yet I think I’ve made some good choices here. The fact that I have genre preferences, client filters. different modes for different kinds of profiles, & compensation/distance filters for profile matching, I think it’s a solid design. Overall I’m happy about this page.


Conclusion: What Have I Learned From This Experience?

Creative-types want to build something great from their hands. Having Adwork be a actual app may help my fellow struggling creatives to get exposure from the community while building industry connections and even getting paid to do small work. It can also be educational for someone who is new with the community aspect of it and really learn how to handle getting their footing in the industry. I think the concept of Adwork is a great concept honestly.

The main thing that I have learned from all of this, is that I really enjoy UX Design and have made it my career choice going forward. It was a great experience for me to learn how to use Sketch, then Figma, to put this all together, I wish I had a mac to record my prototype instead of putting up a youtube video but alas I don’t. Regardless I want to improve my design skills and especially my research skills, like I could’ve done more methods of research such as card-sorting, whiteboarding ideas, and maybe more in-person interviews, but regardless I want to continue to improve my craft