⚠ Kroma is the sole personal project featured in this portfolio. It is currently in the development stage and serves as a platform for both experimentation and a demonstration of technical and conceptual abilities.
- What is Kroma
- Brand & Product Identity
- User interface
- The future of Kroma
This project is a fictional scenario, but one that is intended to be believable. I created this case study as if I were presenting my product vision to potential investors.
The objective is to create a product from the ground up and establish the identity of the company that will bring it to market.
Design thinking will be utilized in three sprints (UX/Brand/UI) to ensure the final product aligns with the needs and expectations of future users, the market, while also reducing production time and quickly entering the testing phase.
- A comprehensive branding solution (logo, guidelines, narrative, tone of voice)
- A comprehensive design mockup for the native Android platform
- A high-fidelity prototype that includes UX writing."
Before examining Kroma, let's address the question: Why Kroma?
Why pursue a market that is already fiercely competitive and dominated by dominant and firmly established auction houses?
The answer is clear: The timing is perfect.
Two crucial elements contribute to this:
- The unprecedented growth in online art sales since 2019
- The substantial technological gap that has been established by the leading players in the market."
Since 2019, we have witnessed a growing share of online sales and a rejuvenation of buyers, marking a change from the market's former presence in galleries, major art fairs, and attracting an older demographic.
Going forward, there will be an ongoing increase in online sales and a growing share of the digital market to be captured.
Whether you're in search of paintings, sculptures, drawings, photography, or NFTs, it all takes place online now.
While the major players in this market comfortably hold their dominant positions, their comfort serves as a hindrance to their growth. And the inherent sluggishness of these giants hampers their ability to innovate.
- The pandemic has driven the online art market to new heights.
- A lasting sense of trust has been established.
- The average price of online art sales has increased significantly.
- The NFT market is becoming more established.
The first thing to note is that in the online art market, few companies have credible native applications. While the market is in an exponential growth phase, few of the new offerings stand out.
Auction houses are still entrenched in the physical realm, and the most exclusive works do not yet circulate on the online market, with the exception of the marketplaces of the three major auction houses:
These three major players conduct all of their online sales exclusively through their websites, and they do not have a mobile platform.
It is important to note the outdated nature of their image, as well as the low quality of the user experiences they offer.
Our direct competitors who are well established in the native app market are:
- ART SY
- Black Art Auction
- Catawiki in France
(Complete list of direct competition in the Hiscox 2021 report)
- It is worth noting that only Catawiki offers an evaluation of the works on its platform, performed by experts integrated into their teams.
- And that only Art sy links its purchases to a virtual collection to facilitate peer-to-peer exchanges.
- Black Art Auction, on the other hand, is quite limited in functionality and offers nothing more than participating in occasional auctions.
//I mention another giant here, which is an indirect competitor:
Ebay enters a similar market without being directly linked. Its target audience is very different from the previous three.//
When navigating the offers and solutions available in this specific art market, it is difficult to gain insights that would support our decisions to purchase or not. This often leads to abandonment of the intention to invest.
And the technological lag of these platforms struggles to attract new audiences accustomed to much smoother and modern experiences.
Of course, such a project requires significant resources in design and engineering, but given the unique characteristics of the market in question, quickly building strong commercial, legal, and logistics teams will be crucial.
We must be able to convince many players in this market to ensure credibility for our offering from the moment the product is launched.
We must be able to offer works for sale that are worthy of generating traffic, but also receive support from institutional actors who can guarantee the authenticity of the works and ensure a significant security effort.
Another obstacle that such a project will inevitably encounter will be legal. Coming as a new player in such a regulated and established market is not easy.
Therefore, it is essential to engage a legal and legal counsel as soon as possible in the development of the project, who can anticipate all the constraints and limitations specific to each country in which the product will be launched, and therefore determine which markets will be priorities to conquer.
The product strategy must allow the Kroma brand identity to position itself in terms of image and tone of voice :
Kroma will be radically different from the main established players (Christie's, Heritage, Sotheby's) with a user-centered philosophy and a technologically advanced solution."
At the core of our approach lies a modern and seamless user experience, with the primary goal of minimizing any pain points encountered by our future users.
DEFINITION & ETYMOLOGY
- in music, it refers to a sequence composed of a sequence of half-tones (opposed to diatonic).
- Related to colors.
(From the ancient Greek χρῶμα - khrôma)
Kroma was built in response to two research findings:
- A high abandonment rate on online markets
- Difficulty in attracting new audiences who are eager to buy
Kroma is a marketplace focused on contemporary artworks, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, posters, manuscripts, and photographs. It does not deal with transverse markets such as jewelry, decorative objects, collectible cards, etc. It is important to define a specific niche and consider expanding the offering later in the development process
Kroma is a platform that will be mobile first, accompanied by a showcase website to promote the application and explain its advantages over competition, as well as to give a glimpse into its functioning.
We prioritize the development of a native android/ios app in the first phase due to cost-effectiveness and because we believe this is where we can achieve a higher growth rate and attract a new customer base.
After the mobile launch, the development of a web platform will commence and will eventually replace the showcase website while keeping the same domain name, www.Kroma.com."
- Free access
- No advertisements / No sale of personal data
- Registration required to access the app (user-data used for iteration and improvement of the business model)
- Project profitability ensured by sales commissions.
- Incentivizing calculation of these commissions, varying based on the seller's sales volume. The more they sell, the lower the commissions taken on their sales ⇒ making the platform highly attractive for high volume sales (i.e. established galleries/fairs/art dealers)
Problem Statement :
Navigating the art world can be confusing and intimidating for those who are not familiar with it. Determining the true value of a piece is often a challenge, leading many potential buyers to abandon their plans to make a purchase.
At the outset, Kroma was envisioned for B2C, with the existence of B2B personas such as merchants, galleries, fairs, and casual sellers. Our focus for the MVP will primarily be directed towards B2C, with the majority of our efforts allocated towards this segment
User research and persona building have taught us that there are two distinct profiles that can create empathy.
1. A young graduate profile who desires to acquire art, but lacks unlimited means and understanding of the art world.
Driver = desire to stand out
Barrier = psychological obstacle
2- A mature profile, also eager to purchase art, with considerable means, but lacking time to make informed choices.
Driver = investment
Barrier = Lack of time and insights (which amounts to the same thing)
UX Challenges :
- Helping our users ensure the value of the items they are buying or selling.
- Facilitating peer-to-peer exchanges through a collection system that allows for the resale of a item purchased on the platform, saving time and effort in verification steps already completed in the previous sale.
- Having a dynamic search and filter engine to simplify the discovery process.
- Making personalized advice free and accessible.
- Providing information on market trends and the value of items, as well as projections for the future, to encourage investors to join the platform.
We realized while designing the FLOWCHART that peer-to-peer could be a highly valuable loop to add to our application, significantly increasing the volume of exchange.
Since the first sale recorded on the platform remains in the buyer's collection, it makes resale easier (no complex information verification steps) and thus encourages the creation of a market exclusively internal to the platform.
Emphasizing Simplicity in Information Architecture
By following a subtractive design principle, only essential features were preserved and the structure is built in such a way that some features can be delayed for a post-MVP release if necessary.
This saves development time and delays the release of the collection, which is a costly aspect of development and could greatly delay a quick market launch.
The three essential features to be focused on for the MVP are, of course, the sales rooms/product pages/and access to the sale.
The onboarding process is also crucial: it should be as simple and enjoyable as possible, with each screen having its own input entry, but it should also be reassuring by demonstrating Kroma's high security standards by adding a PIN code in addition to the password. Double security will also be implemented before the product launch.
I invite you to take a look at my Figma file to get a better understanding of the project scope and technical build.
From the wireframing stage, the layouts were designed to be easily re-usable by designers coming to the document with no prior knowledge. Technically, the use of components, auto-layout, and constraints simplifies understanding of the overall structure.
First Round of RITE User Testing
Before moving on to the branding and interface design, it's now crucial to use the prototype for a short testing phase. Given the limited resources on this type of project, I would recommend using the Microsoft-employed user research method called RITE (Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation). This involves immediately fixing the prototype after each test with a participant, to avoid redundant issues and efficiently make multiple modifications in a short amount of time with a small number of participants.”
Key Changes Based on User Feedback for Prototype #1
- Removal of the menu
- Addition of a navbar
- Addition of the collection feature
- Comprehensive revision of navigation
Second Round of RITE User Testing
Following the creation of a second low-fidelity prototype, further changes were deemed necessary to enhance the user experience and alleviate certain pain points.
Key Changes Based on User Feedback from Prototype #2
- Search tool removed from navbar
- Addition of peer-to-peer feature
- Correction of numerous minor inconsistencies
Building a product identity for an early-stage startup has the unique advantage that the product and brand identity are intertwined. This sets the tone and image for the company in the years to come, well beyond the release.
What is the story that Kroma will tell in the years to come?
At the heart of Kroma's identity is the need to position itself in a resolutely technological, avant-garde, and nerdy sector, but with the composure of a seasoned art enthusiast.
Thus, we are not afraid of bold color associations, powerful visuals, but the typography must nonetheless balance all this creative outpouring with a reassuring foundation.
Important Note: It is crucial to establish the product identity and tone of voice while maintaining these two pillars.
- 1. Graphic boldness
- 1. Technical and technological confidence
Building the Logo
- The shape of the emblem as the brand's initial
- The combo mark as a necessary step for a new IP. Essential to initiate the memorization process and facilitate strategic positioning
- Bold color choices, emblem shape that fits into the tech market, but the Gilroy font that solidifies the identity as something solid and reassuring.
- Skilful blend of audacity and assurance
Kroma's identity is designed to stand out and capture the attention of a new audience to the developed visual culture, while the application will focus on ease of navigation and showcasing works of art. Thus, the user interface will be minimalist and prioritize usability above all.
Highlighting the Art is Key to the User Interface Design
It's essential that the user interface takes a step back to allow the artworks on sale to take center stage. The UI design must carefully balance moments of bold, colorful expression with moments of subtlety and functionality, always ensuring optimal usability while elevating the art.”
As the online art market continues to evolve, the rapid development of emerging technologies, particularly blockchain, holds significant potential. NFTs offer a compelling solution for ensuring the authenticity of artworks and tracking their buying, selling, appraisal, and restoration history.
If there were to be a second product design phase, it would be firmly focused on adding authenticity certificates issued as NFTs linking all metadata to each item on the platform.
Key Performance Indicators to track post-launch:
- System Usability Scale (usability measurement)
- Conversion rate
- Percentage of completion of the main user flow (up to bidding)
- Abandonment rate
- Bounce rate
// WORK IN PROGRESS // tasks left to complete :
Complete the UI of all screens
Create a high-fidelity prototype (Figma X Protopie)
Demonstrate animations using Jitter to aid developers