UAL: Portfolio Update 2019

Project summary

Creating a creative platform for University of the Arts students and academics to use to grow collaboration, communication between multiple creatives. Furthermore, laying down the foundations for future business opportunities in terms of job boards and competitions.

Methods & Tools

Methods: UX Research, Competitor analysis, User testing

Tools: Figma, Google Analytics, Hotjar

Year & Duration

2018, 6 months


UX Designer

Problem statement

HMW improve on the portfolio platform to encourage collaboration, communication and flexibility on how users can showcase their work.


Platform Planning Development

Analysis on the platform's performance was done with analytics and user feedback to discover areas which can do with improvements

Competitor Analysis

Since the UAL Portfolio platform is quite similar to some other products on the market some competitor analysis was conducted to get insights users' reviews and usage habits.

Old Design Analysis

Portfolio has been live for a year and a review of it's performance is important to analysis how it has performed during the year.

User feedback, data from Google Analytics and Hotjar was used to see what areas could and should be improved for the new interaction of the platform.


Messaging Journey: Information Architecture

One of the areas that the team thought would be great to improve was messaging, due to the analysis of how users were using the platform to form collaborative opportunities between other students

The first version of the messaging service was very basic and lack features and a strong consistent journey in terms of information architecture.

Current Feature Analysis

A broader view of the platform's features was analysed such as, UI, project creation flow, sensitive content and notifications. These 5 areas which includes the messaging feature were the main focus for improving the overall platform's user experience and to bring it up to par with the competitors.

UI Improvements Mockups

General mockups on UI improvements for all of the feature improvements (project creation flow, sensitive content, notifications and messaging) were sketched out to provide guidance and direction to help communicate the changes to the stakeholders.


UI Improvements

More defined mockups for the homepage and browse page UI was done to bring in more real content to design for many different scenarios such as, multiple tags, long names and long descriptions.

Project Creation: Flow

The improvement on project creation came in the form of a new refined flow (user journey). The flow made the creation process more logical and also encourages the user to customise the project with layouts and image sizing.

There is a strong influence from competitors such as, Behance. Therefore, the learning curve is minimal.

Sensitive Content

Since University of the Arts London is a University that explores many forms and topics, the possibility of having content such as, nude photography is quite high and may not be appropriate for all audiences. By using real content and placing it in real context of the page space a solution for blurring out the content was created, to serves as a pre-warning for the user.

Notification Mockup

Portfolio is a platform that is constantly being improved and acts as a space for the creative community. Therefore, it was important to have a feature that silently informs the user of a new message or news update. This came in the form of a 'Notification bell' within the navigation space. The notification bell follows the navigation design pattern, which is used on the and Not Just a Shop websites.

○ When the bell is clicked on the user is taken to the notification page to view the messages which are divided based on 'Community' or 'Platform development'.


Messaging High-fi

The final version of the improved messaging service shows how the design works across mobile and desktop, to deliver a more refined experience that can scale across any device. The new features consist of, blocking a user and deleting a messaging for chat history.

Homepage and Browse Layout

The new layouts for both the homepage and browse pages were released to the public. It was good to see how the layout would work with real content produced by the students.

Notification High-fi

The notification bell and the notification page was implemented to the live website. This is the foundation for a deeper experience that will also include messaging between users, project activity and more.

Lab Testing

After releasing the features (project creation flow, sensitive content, notifications and messaging) a lab test was conducted to gain qualitative insights from some the platforms core user types.

Personal reflection and Next steps

Personal Relection

The experience of working on a community based product was insightful for gaining insights on a different perspective of users' experiences compared to e-commerce. The discovery stage of the project was great for finding out what the competitors are doing in the same space and how we are able to match or even improve on what they have on offer.

The feature that I appreciated the most of the 'Messaging' service, as it was interesting creating a new user journey and forming a design around the journey flow.

Next steps

Not all of the features that have been worked on has be fully released because of the limited time that the team had to develop and release the product. However, the foundation of the service's features have been build such as, the notification feature. New notification options will be bring project activity and messaging activity between users.

The next big step is to focus on business opportunities for the users, by connecting UAL's 'Creative Opportunities' job platform with portfolio to allow companies from multidisciplinary industries to use the platform to find new talent. But also allowing the users to find new job opportunities