Buskers all over the world face similar issues. They tend to organise—both physically and virtually—to discuss those issues, but the knowledge that emerges from those engagements gets lost over time. I analysed recurring discussions on a variety of social media platforms and identified the need for an accessible platform to catalogue and communicate it in an easily-explorable format.
Our goal was that the next time a busker is facing a personal or legal challenge, they will search The Guide and learn from the community’s aggregated experiences.
We started with a custom Design Sprint. After deconstructing the ideas and research that we had collected, we decided on the categories and types of content needed. Then we drew the user flows and wireframes, focusing on the interaction between the users and the content.
At this point, our primary UX concern was offering users the ability to express both facts and opinions and, most importantly, to distinguish between the two easily. For example, giving the characteristics of a guitar is a fact, but telling why you prefer that guitar over others is an opinion.
For the first prototype, we decided to have two types of content; Facts and Opinions, with a clear difference in format between them. I created a Figma prototype and tested it with users, they understood and celebrated the concept of Facts and Opinions. So, I kept evolving the User Experience in that direction.
The first prototype we built, as a result of the Design Sprint, had two types of content; Facts and Opinions, with a clear difference in format between them. After a couple of iterations and testing, we concluded that it was less important to differentiate between ‘facts’ vs ‘opinions’ than between community-validated knowledge vs personal knowledge.
So, we replaced the fact/opinion framework with tools for the community to review content, improve it over time, and to decide which content is relevant. Likewise, we designed the basic parameters of the algorithms to encourage a broader consensus on issues that are crucial for the community.
The process demonstrated the relevance of this product. Nowadays, many communities of interest (not just buskers) need their own Guide to their Galaxy; community-specific spaces that adapt to niche needs, while keeping the standard interactions, inherited from social media, that we all are familiar with.
And finally, the user experience of digital communal spaces needs to be inclusive and humane, with an emphasis on empathy. There are humans behind the screens.