The Photography Social Network: Case Study

As part of the Google UX Design Professional Certificate program, this project included conducting interviews, paper and digital wireframing, low and high-fidelity prototyping, conducting usability studies, accounting for accessibility, and iterating on designs.

The problems I found from conducting interviews was most users are frustrated with the UI experiences with social media and to connect with other photographers is difficult.

Photo Network Mockup Hero Image


The goal of this project was to Ideate solutions and create prototypes of a product which development process and iterations are based on the gained insights from user research studies and usability tests. Users want a more organized social opportunities to the Photographers, we could encourage mentor interaction and create a stronger network.

Target Audience

The target audience includes professional and hobbyist photographers that want to network with peers and gain mentorship.

User research

I interviewed 5 photographers ranging in age and ability. Each user wanted a better UI system for networking with photographers that allowed them to show off their skills and connect with others in the field, whether pro or hobbyist, so they can meet up or just talk shop. They wanted ways for mentorship and options to do so with or without advertisements annoying their experience.

This user group revealed that most social media networks they typically use have poor user interface and they would like the option to hide advertisements through a paid membership. They also want an easy way to connect with other photographers that are willing to offer mentorships.


Problem Statement:

Jen is a busy professional that struggles to find good mentorships and connections with other photographers. She want the ability to search and connect with her peers.


  • Create options for no ads, either paid or the option for pay to remove ads.
  • Create a more intuitive interface so it’s easier to use.
  • Create section to find mentorships.


"Ads annoy me, I’d like to connect with people without being bombarded by so many ads”
“I get frustrated by the poor interface design, it’s hard to find good connections in my field. I want to find mentors.”

User Story

As a professional photographer I want to join a photography networking community that is easy to use so that I can easily find other peers that I can gain inspiration and mentorship.

Jen is a 43 year old professional photographer that enjoys using social media for her work during day. She loves sharing her photos and talking with other professionals about their art as well. She wants the ability to use a photography networking site to meet other professionals without being bombarded with ads. She also struggles finding her way around the site, so she wants it’s be easier to find mentors in her field.

Problem Statement:

Alec is a 60 year old, hobbyist photographer that struggles finding his way around technology. He wants an easy way to explore and find inspiration while securely sharing his own images.


  • Less intrusive ads or option to opt out.
  • Create a way to protect photos.
  • A good way to connect and meet others in my area.


"I wish ads were less intrusive in my feed. I want options to opt out or for them not to be so in my face all the time.”
“I get frustrated that people can easily swipe my photos off of social media. It’s annoying when my hard work gets stolen.”
“I struggle finding good local meetups.”

User Story

As a hobbyist photographer and retired professional I want to explore and join a photography networking site so that I can find inspiration and securely share my own images.

Alec is a 60 year old, retired professional who enjoys photography as a hobby. He mostly uses social media in the evenings at home to get inspiration and to connect with folks that have similar interests. 

He loves to share his work online, but he gets frustrated by all the ads. He also doesn’t like how easy it is for others to swipe his photos off the internet. He wishes there was a better way to protect his work.

User Journey

Key Challenges

With user research,  I learned that users find other social media sites are difficult to use. Too many options and too much “noise." Many users complained that they didn’t like the advertisements. Some said they’d like no ads and others wanted an option to remove ads even if they had to pay. Photographers wanted a way to connect with other photographers. On other sites, there are too many other users, including clients. They want a place where it’s more specialized so they can gain mentorships. 

Site Map

Based off the user research, I decided to build off the mentor/mentee approach. I want to make it easy for photographers to connect and learn together, and also share/explore work.

Wireframes - Desktop

Feed Page

Featured Group Page

Wireframes - Mobile




Low Fidelity Prototype

Usability study: findings

I conducted two rounds of usability studies. Findings from the first study helped guide the designs from wireframes to mockups. The second study used a high-fidelity prototype and revealed what aspects of the mockups needed refining.

Round 1 findings

1. Users wanted a clearer navigation

2. Users wanted mentors to be clearly labeled

3. Users wanted a way to look through all the mentors

Round 2 findings

1. The groups needed a better way to view comments as they scroll through images

2. User liked that the mentors had a label under their profile image and the image was highlighted with a border color


Updated design allowed for the mentors to be highlighted when commenting with a mentor tag under in red and the photo to be outlined in red, so they'll be instantly recognized as a mentor.

Before usability study

After usability study

High Fidelity Prototype

View Prototype

Impact and What I Learned

I learned the site was something photographers were really interested in. They like the idea of sharing and connecting with other professionals and having the option to be mentored to to be a mentor.

"I really like how easily it is to locate mentors and that I can connect with them in groups that interest me."

Next Steps

1. Conduct another usability study. I’d like to make sure all the user pain points were addressed well.

2. Plan another iteration of ideas to include better customizations.