BIPOCSTOCK is an online marketplace for stock photography featuring images of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). The site aims to provide a safe space for BIPOC photographers to share their work, promote themselves as purveyors of quality images, and develop a sustainable business.
The site offers the following features:
* A user-friendly interface that allows users to navigate easily
* A fully accessible website that meets WCAG 2.1 AA standards
* An easy-to-use upload tool that enables users to add new photos and remove old ones with ease
* The ability for users to comment on one another's photos, providing constructive feedback in an encouraging way
BIPOC individuals have a much harder time finding stock photography that they can see themselves in. The goal of this study is to get a clear understanding of the barriers that exist in this arena and to find ways to improve the experience for users.
In order to get a clear understanding of the current user experience I surveyed 30 people. I found that 75% of respondents dont feel represented in media and 62% of respondents said it was difficult to find stock photography that featured BIPOC.
Asking users to participate in surveys is the easiest and most efficient way to get insight to the pain points that users may have with an experience.
To validate my hypothesis I conducted some quantitative research and learned about the discrepancies in search term results for different keywords.
Qualitative interviews with a plethora of individuals are beneficial because you can view users and their behavior in the context of their lives. They can point out what content is memorable, what people feel is important for the proposed solution, and what ideas for improvement they may have.
A Few Interview Questions
What are some challenges you face when looking for stock photography?
When looking for stock photography, what aspects are most important to you?
Do you feel it is important to see yourself or your culture reflected in your branding? Why or why not?
Finding BIPOC Stock Photography
Since this was a solo project I was not only responsible for gathering research but also for the design of the proposed solution. I began with research of the different product areas: what were customers pain points, how did they utilize existing options? I then completed a competitive analysis of websites that offer stock photography and created a user persona to visualize the ideal user.
I then proceeded to sketch user flows, interactions, and a basic interface.
Access to high quality photos of black people.
Affordable licensing fees.
Easy to use platform
"I do feel like it's important to see yourself represented in your brand and media in general. That's the reason I use POC with the things I create. I'm aware of the fact that we need more representation across the board."
Lack of variety.
Photos aren't high quality.
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Ethnicity: Black or African American
Occupation: Web Designer
High Fidelity Screens
Visual Identity Guidelines
I wanted to create a brand language that was also representative of the users I am trying to solve for. The goal was for the brand identity to evoke a sense of warmth and community.
Now that I have a working prototype, I can go out and test my idea on users. I did two rounds of user testing by having them try to complete 6 tasks each. As outlined, some users had difficulties executing tasks and provided feedback on what would make it better. After the 1st round, I went back, revised the design and then conducted a 2nd round, to see if my changes increased the rate at which users were able to complete the given tasks.
The 2nd round of testing went much better.
Task: Filter by Ethnicity/Gender Round 1
User Feedback: Buttons blended into the background, not enough ethnicity options, and terms for gender did not fit well.
Task: Filter by Ethnicity/Gender Round 2
Solution: Reworked the filter element to stand out, added more options for ethnicty and changed the terms for gender.
Task: View Profile Round 1
User Feedback: View profile button was too small and wasn't noticeable. Maybe make the thank you message more personable.
Task: View Profile Round 2
Solution: Made the view profile button bigger and added more personable copy to incentivize the user to visit the photographer's profile.
Task: Leave Rating Round 1
User Feedback: The visual representation of the rating system was not obvious at first and users had difficulty inferring its purpose.
Task: Leave Review Round 2
Solution: Decided to allow potential users to leave a review rather than a rating.
It's always challenging applying design methodologies to social issues because it just reminds you how imperfect our society is. Going through this process of trying to increase representation in stock photography took a slight toll on my disposition but I just kept reminding myself that doing this is an individual's contribution in improving society.
Engaging in the design thinking process was new for me, but having 6 clear steps made it easier to map out a plan of execution in solving this problem space. I really enjoyed gathering data and having conversations with people to get some authentic insight into the problem.
There can always be ways to improve or expand your project or design so I plan on doing the following:
When thinking of next steps, the goal has always been to increase visibility and representation of minorities in media and branding. Getting the service in the hands of users would be the next biggest priority. This can be accomplished by creating an advertising campaign and working with grassroots organizations to spread the word. The more people that use the website, the more equitable the stock photography landscape becomes.
I would like to conduct more rounds of testing and increase the sample size of people that I collected user data from.
Marketing Website & Brand Campaign
Marketing is an important element consider when creating a solution so I wanted to add to the authenticity of the idea by creating a landing page of sorts that details my product. There is also a mobile-version after considering the benefits of multi-platform use.