Guerrilla usability study on VSCO Cam.
Full story + more depth on my blog and medium.com.
Visual Supply Company’s VSCO Cam app is a sleek yet powerful mobile photo editing app packed with features. It has 4.5 stars in Apple’s App Store and in Google Play. They have a cult user following and their Grid section (photo feed — viewable in app and online) consistently hosts some of the most beautiful photos I’ve ever seen. On May 6, 2014 they successfully raised $40M in Series A funding.
- UX Team of One
- Design usability test
- Recruit & screen participants
- Run test with participants
- Data synthesis
- Design conclusions & recommendations
Define scope, identify qualified interview candidates, discussion/task guide, conduct usability tests.
I wanted to keep the test as simple and relevant as possible in order to provide value to both VSCO Cam and the respective users. To do this, I created 6 cores tasks, 3 of which were sourced directly from the VSCO Cam's app store copy.
The only requirements for participants were that they had not previously used VSCO Cam, that they had a iPhone or Android phone, and that they were familiar with photographic terms such as filter, crop, and exposure.
- Take a photo (within the app).
- Edit the photo by applying a color filter to it.
- Crop the photo.
- Adjust the photo's exposure.
- Add a photo into the app from the phone's photo library.
- Share a photo to a social network.
ii. Data Analysis
Identify patterns and pain points. Use to inform design recommendations. For a longer, more extensive look into the analysis check out my Medium.com post.
iii. Conclusion & Design Recommendations
2 Key issues & recommendations
The app has a nonlinear task flow and offers no suggestions as how to use it.
For first time/new users, provide an overlaid explanation or walkthrough on top of the UI to educate users to key functionality.
The visual hierarchy is misleading.
Dim or lower the contrast of the top icons. Those icons open organizational dialogues that aren’t of any relevance to most users at this point. Without a huge photo library to manage (yet), users don’t really need to be able to resize or select images by variables such as flagged, edited or unedited. Definitely a useful feature later, but not now.
The bottom left menu icon is highly relevant on all levels so I think it makes sense to leave it as is.
The “add” photo plus sign icon from task 5 could be changed to match the current contrast of the menu icon. Several users mentioned that the icon appeared greyed out or in a state that would suggest it was unavailable.
These suggestions are my own based on a limited usability study with 5 strangers. I would love to see actual app data to validate some of the patterns I’ve encountered. Next steps would be to iterate, test, rinse and repeat.
Let's work together.