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virtual collective

bringing art and entertainment to audiences in a digital world

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the challenge:

Develop and design a responsive web platform that facilitates virtual experiences in the arts and entertainment industry. 

Create a product that allows the user to feel captivated by creativity, helping them to feel the type of connection that art and entertainment makes possible.

A responsive web platform that showcases virtual events that the user can experience from their homes.  A modality that presents a collection of art and entertainment the user can easily navigate and enjoy, helping to give people something to smile about once again.

the solution:

In the best and worst of times, arts, leisure and entertainment have created cohesion among us.  Artists haven't stopped creating and enthusiasts have wanted more than ever to find shelter in the arts and entertainment universe that often brings joy and happiness.  Connection through creation helps us see we are more alike than different.

the impact:


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Context: Spec Project with team; Responsive Web;  focus on Desktop

Role: User Experience Designer, Researcher, Copywriter

Duration: Two Weeks



On a grand scale, for as long as communities have existed arts and entertainment have been central to human gathering and interaction.  An opportunity to share with each other a creative experience helps us live outside of our daily problems and practice a level of escapism if only for a few moments and is now needed more than ever.  Options for consuming art are all so secular though, it takes already following an artist or entertainer on social media to know if they are going to have a live stream or play a recorded show.  Similarly, users are able to go to each venues website to see what virtual shows they are offering.  Beyond Facebook which suggests events based on the interests of individuals the user already follows, we were hard pressed to find a platform of a wide collection of arts and entertainment events.  There are obvious economic implications of the inability to showcase art and entertainment.  An added layer is the social and emotional impact of individuals not being gather over common mediums, for the first time ever, there is an unmatched ability to interact with each other while simultaneously feeling completely disconnected.  

Can we replicate the connectedness that the arts and entertainment provide in a virtual space?

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Headline: "Culture in Crisis: Arts Fighting to Survive Covid-19 Impact" - United Nations

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"The fine and performing arts industries will be hit hardest, suffering estimated losses of almost 1.4M jobs and 42.5B in sales." - Brookings Institution

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"During the Covid-19 pandemic, so many people could benefit from the beauty and inspiration offered by the arts" - PBS


Our research in many ways started long before this project, each member of our team felt compelled to take on this endeavor with the highest level of thoughtfulness and attention, all of us sharing a deep connection to art and entertainment.   During our interview process we spoke to people who already had an enthusiastic attachment to the arts, using a screener survey to determine this, with no surprise what we heard was heartbreaking.  Overwhelmingly people missed being able to attend creative events and were concerned about the people in their lives who create and their inability to generate an income.  Curiously we found that people enjoyed virtual events, it gave them a quick in, no need to sit in traffic support a friend, they were able to attend multiple events in one evening and for our users who have kids, they didn't have to deal with the logistics of a parents night out.  The common theme was the inability to find events that they considered interesting, it was on us to give them the key.

Our interviews provided clear takeaways:


"I can't find art events that are being held until I look really hard or know the place I should look, I want more advertising"

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"I was looking for multi-artist live stream concerts and there isn't really a condensed space where it just lists all that are available"

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"I like virtual events because I think they're more convenient.  It's easier to pop in"

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"I would really appreciate if there was just....something where you could see 'Hey, these are some of the events that are happening in your area.'"



During our design process our team was aware of how personal the product was to us, to help mitigate some of the 'designing for ourselves' we created a persona named Spencer to keep us on track and focus on user needs versus our wants.  By keeping the interest of the user above our own, we ultimately create a better product, instead of solution-ing we problem solve.  

Spencer is not completely unlike us though, she is interested in and connected to the arts industry, she also feels isolated during stay in place.  Spencer would like to have a reliable way to find new virtual events, as well as be able to interact with her friends who are also logged into the digital event space.  We create for Spencer.

our art enthusiast Spencer

27 | Gallery Assistant | New York City

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  • Ability to continue supporting the arts

  • Connect with others in a virtual space

  • Wants access to a variety of entertainment content


  • A reliable way to find new virtual events to attend

  • To be able to interact with friends who are also attending the event


  • Doesn't want to miss out on events of interest

  • Feels really isolated during stay in place

  • Lacks engagement with new talent in her industry


What's The Problem?


Human beings need each other for survival and fulfillment


People long for interaction with those who have similar interests


Art and entertainment produce inspiration and creativity


Individuals want to foster development around them

So...How might we provide users a central platform that gives them access to a variety of virtual arts and entertainment events?


By merging the current blueprint of video streaming services and incorporating our own style and design while keeping in mind the needs of our users we developed a collective dedicated to the arts and entertainment.  Our focus was on an easily navigable, thoughtfully curated platform so individuals could be exposed to and interact with various forms of entertainment all in one place.  The visual appeal of the platform took high priority, making it fun and inspiring for both the artists sharing content and the people consuming it.  We also integrated a chat feature with the option to create private chat rooms, this feature was implemented to help satisfy the need for interaction with other individuals who appreciate the same content as our user. 



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For testing, users were asked to maneuver through four tasks based on scenario prompts.  These scenarios and tasks exhibit the features and functions of the product we are developing.   

Scenario One:  Due to stay in place you haven't been able to go out and attend your usual activities.  You decide you want to look for an online function to attend.

Task:  Sign up for a new online art show to attend.

Scenario Two:  You are at the virtual art exhibit via livestream.  Someone you're close to is also attending this event and you'd like to have a personal conversation with them.

Task:  Make a personal discussion room with them.

Scenario Three:  You made plans for October 12th and now realize it conflicts with an event you're interested in that is occurring on the same day.

Task:  "Unlike" the October 12th event from your list.

Scenario Four:  You no longer want to be enrolled in the loyalty program and you want to continue as a free user.

Task:  Revoke your enrollment in the loyalty program.

User feedback is undoubtedly the most intrinsic part of the entire UX process.  User testing allows us to determine whether the product is intuitive, learnable and enjoyable for the user.  The goal is for the user to be able to naturally flow through the tasks and if they can't we are given valuable insight into what needs to be changed during subsequent iterations of design. 

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Home Screen: 

  • re-labeled calendar to upcoming to convey to user it gives access to general events; not their calendar

  • utilized color and images to invite user to application

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Chat Screen:

  • ​Made sure the 'done' button was more readable and obvious to the user

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Art Screen:

  • Used pop of color for event type to ensure it stands out for the user

  • Photo gives the user an introduction to event; draws their interest

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Account Screen:

  • Gave users information more screen real estate

  • Made 'edit' buttons more prominent  

  • Highlighted next billing date for transparency with user

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Favorites Screen:

  • Added type of event to image so user knows what to expect; builds trust

  • User easily removes favorite from list by tapping "heart"

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Membership Cancellation Screen:

  • Ensured there is adequate friction for a user to cancel premium membership

  • Allow for user to easily "add new card information"





With an endless stream of content at our fingertips that often makes us feel overwhelmed with its volume, it seems to be easy to forget about all of the local and independent artists, entertainers and comedians who are in our atmosphere without the platform to get their art out, into the universe.  The goal of Virtual Collective from the beginning has always been to solve the issue of lacked shared experience?  How can we develop a product that makes us feel like we are together again even if we are physically apart?  How can we make the world a little more enjoyable during this very difficult time?  

The process of creating Virtual Collective is far from over, there are new design recommendations from users to implement, more user testing to employ, there is always more data to collect and synthesize; to rinse and repeat again and again.  We also need to formulate the back end in regards to getting art and entertainment to the platform, initially there was no focus on that area whatsoever and it is obviously needed to bring Virtual Collective to life.     

Looking Back...

When I think about this product, I think about a backyard on a warm summer night, a gathering of great friends, longing for a past that feels forever gone…there’s a projector set up, a great meal has just been eaten, wine abounds and a concert is about to begin. It’s our favorite band, we’ve missed these times but we’re dancing again, together and also with hopefully thousands of others in their living rooms, back yards, sharing the experience as one.

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