What is Creator Now?
Creator Now is a six-week, live competitive bootcamp for aspiring YouTube creators. Over time, it also becomes a community for creators to connect with others, sharpen their skills, and get personalized feedback.
No access to resources & community after the bootcamp
Right now, after the creators complete the bootcamp, they don’t get access to the resources and community anymore. Thus, the founders wanted to build Creator Now Pro, an invite-only community for the next top YouTube creators. Creators within can access a wide range of resources such as a people directory, analytics dashboard, and more.
Before I joined, the founding engineer built a proof of concept (POC) of the platform. It was functional; however, there wasn’t any member focused on the UX/UI design. Thus, I was given the task to revamp the UX/UI of the current concept.
A robust platform for creators to connect and grow
We designed the MVP of Creator Now Pro. Creators can sign up and customize their profile during onboarding. Then, they can view other creators in the people directory or check out detailed analytics in the home dashboard.
Customize your profile ✨
Keep track of detailed analytics 📊
Find aspiring creators 😎
Full design ownership over the MVP platform
I worked with the founding engineer to revamp the UX/UI of the platform. In the end, I created the people directory, onboarding flow, and home dashboard. The designs set a solid foundation for the next full-time designer to continue designing the platform.
In addition, I advocated for user research before ideation and participated in four user interviews and synthesis sessions.
Lastly, in the second week, I created a #design Slack channel to bring more awareness to design and share my design progress to the team. This ensured consistent communication within the team and transparency.
Time to get things straight
In this case study, I’ll delve into the people directory page as this was my first project at Creator Now and the most extensive one.
For context, the people directory is a page that will allow users to find like-minded creators or collaborators through search and filtering systems.
The goals of the people directory page are as follows:
01 | Help users
Easily find creators to connect or collaborate with
To get a sense of their branding, here are some screenshots of their six-week bootcamp dashboard.
Understand the big picture & the users
Aware that I only have five weeks, I needed to be quick with my decisions. So, in the first week, I asked myself:
What critical information do I need to feel comfortable and get started with designing?
After brainstorming and discussing with the co-founders and engineers, I ended up doing the following methods:
I called both co-founders to get a sense of the big picture of Creator Now Pro. This includes understanding the current state, future plans, and the exact pages that will be on the platform. These conversations helped me create an information architecture that was extremely helpful for me.
For the project, I studied a variety of platforms such as On Deck, Upwork, YouTube, and more. Looking at these platforms gave me a visual foundation of what the people directory page could look like.
User interviews & past surveys
Even though I trusted the co-founder’s expertise and understanding of the creators, I still wanted to directly talk to the users to know their pain points.
As a result, I participated in four user interviews sessions led by the co-founder and read over past surveys sent to the cohort members. Here were some of the insights from the user research:
01 | Value of the bootcamp 🌟
Every user mentioned that community, exposure to top YouTuber creators, and brand partnerships are the most valuable parts of Creator Now. This helped the team understand what needs to be continued in Creator Now Pro.
02 | Priority of data 📊
Niche, skills, subscriber counts, location are amongst the top most valued data when searching for a creator.
03 | “Finding a collaborator” use case 👀
During the interview, I asked the user to imagine what it’ll be like if they’re looking for collaborators on the platform. This was extremely helpful to decide what data is important for them.
04 | Positive reactions 😍
Overall, every user had a positive reaction when hearing about Creator Now Pro at the end of the interview. And they were all willing to pay for the access.
Creating the MVP
At this point, I was confident in the information I gained during the research phase. So before I started designing, I brainstormed use cases and design principles to help guide my future designs.
I wanted to get a sense of how people may use Creator Now Pro as a platform. Thus, based on user research, I came up with these use cases:
Finding a collaborator
Attend live workshops
Talk to top creators
Find brand partners
In addition, based on the research and discussions with the team, I wrote down these design principles as a reminder for myself:
01 | Gen-Z 🔅
This was specified by the founders, and I mostly referenced their existing branding of the boot camp dashboard.
02 | Clear 😎
The page needs to only display the critical information creators want to see. Nothing more, nothing less.
03 | Fun 🎮
The team wanted to add in elements of gamification (competition, ranking, badges, or more) into the people directory.
Sketches & wireframes
I ideated over potential solutions and layout options. As I mentioned before, our engineer at this point had created a proof of concept. So, I did have a reference to look at, but we also discussed that the design shouldn’t be restrained by it.
And it was only until I started sketching that I realized I need to actually break down the elements in the people directory.
The two elements that I’ll talk about are the navigation and profile card. It’s important to note that for each of these, it wasn’t a one-and-done task. There were multiple discussions and Slack messages involved in deciding the final designs.
In addition, these designs are leaned towards mid-fi to hi-fi because I found it easier to communicate with higher-fidelity design to the team. Also, these didn’t take me too long to create as well.
Navigation / Left vs top
Selected top navigation because one of the biggest drawbacks of left-side navigation is it takes up more space, resulting in lesser room for content (the priority).
Navigation / Visual style
At first, the engineer and I were leaning towards #2 because of the flexibility. After asking past cohort members, they all preferred the rounded corner option. So we went with #3.
After we figured out the main navigation style, I began to design the profile card. This was one of the most challenging tasks in the project as I had to fit multiple elements into a card.
At first, I was quite overwhelmed because I wasn’t sure how to arrange it.
But, going back to the findings of user interviews and learning about OOUX helped me immensely. In the end, I identified all the elements needed and ranked their priorities. This helped me with refining the layout of the profile card.
Profile card / Layout
We went with #3 because the profile image isn’t overwhelmingly big, two columns is a lot cleaner in layout, and it requires the least amount of vertical height for stacking.
Introducing People Directory for Creator Now Pro!
After going through multiple iterations, I was super proud with the work I’ve created!
It’s official for the MVP!
After I left, the team onboarded over 50 creators onto the platform in June 2022 to use and test the MVP that I designed.
And in the future, once the MVP is refined by the new in-house UX designer, it will be used by thousands of past YouTube creators from the bootcamp!
In the end, it was a bittersweet moment for me to say goodbye to such a wonderful team. Here were some really kind words from the team:
Grateful for the journey
Honestly, working part-time on top of college exams, it was not easy. But, I felt like I grew a lot as a designer. Here are the main learnings:
01 | Fast-paced nature of a startup 🚀
Before joining, I was taught to follow a rigid, structured design process. But, I had to understand that sometimes there simply isn’t time and resources. For a startup, building out functionality and shipping as fast as possible is the priority.
02 | Importance of constant communication 🗣️
I learned this from the founding engineer, as he always advocated for “over-communication.” It was extremely helpful for me as a designer to understand what he’s doing each day. This was one of the reasons why I started the #design Slack channel.
03 | Advocating for design 🎨
Since I was the only designer on the team, I had to advocate for research and be intentional with my design decisions. Tradeoffs and compromises were made, but they were all made for the goal of creating a valuable platform for YouTube creators.
You're a superstar 🌟
Thank you for reading this case study! If you’re interested, feel free to check out my other projects 👇