Mobile App Design
CastingStudio is the biggest online casting portal in Poland. They help models, actors, and influencers (the “talent”) apply for castings (the “jobs”) and connect casting directors to “high profile” or sought after talent.
As CastingStudio’s talent base has grown in recent years, it was time to redesign their product to make it more user-friendly and useful for casting directors, agents, and talent. As a UX designer on the mobile team, I set out to make the casting process easier and more transparent for talent users.
Chief Design Officer
A new, mobile app design of CastingStudio’s offerings, where models and actresses can be onboarded, apply for castings, accept invitations for casting calls, and book professional photo sessions. Includes enhancements in processes like onboarding and applying for castings. Also features new offerings, such as a messaging and invitation system.
Pain Points for Talent
High profile castings are not easy to find on the internet due to NDAs, often making it impossible for talent to find them.
Many believe that the only gateway to the market are agents, and don’t feel empowered to enter the space independently.
The average turnaround time from when a casting call is made to the actual shoot is very short (typically 2-3 days).
While CastingStudio's existing product offering has made casting calls more transparent and available through their website, talent still had some major pain points:
Based on this, we decided to focus on improving the existing onboarding and application process, in order to make the app faster and easier to use for talent.
It wasn’t clear what was required when creating a new profile in order to successfully receive casting calls.
Being on the go and often traveling for shoots, most talent don’t have access to a computer easily. They prefer a mobile-friendly casting tool.
Talent had no way of communicating with casting directors or agents. This system especially didn’t work for high-profile talent, who should be recruited for castings instead of having to apply.
Brainstorming and Mapping
We analyzed the existing user flow to pinpoint blockers and points of confusion. From there we brainstormed routes to incorporate into user flows, that would clarify the steps talent need to take to successfully book a casting call.
Defining and Prioritizing Goals
To refine our focus area, I led a prioritization exercise of MVP features with our client. We used our user flows to brainstorm a list of tasks users are expected to do. We then prioritized the ones that are necessary for users to accomplish their primary goal (to book casting calls). The results below were used to inform our sketches.
Sketching and Wireframing
Using the MVP requirements and user flows as a reference, we began sketching ideas for three major new concepts:
Creating a new onboarding process that requires essential information for talent to successfully book casting calls (such as photos, hashtags, and social media links).
Tracking the status of a user’s applications in one place and being notified of any changes.
Being able to communicate directly with casting directors, agents, and CastingStudio support.
An external designer created CastingStudio’s design system. However the design files we received lacked organization and consistency. In lieu of redesigning the component library, we refined the most important elements in efforts to create consistency and still design and develop more quickly in the long term.
Because we had already brainstormed the functionality together, I went straight to mockups, using the existing components we had to create a clickable prototype. In order to design quickly, I settled on a low-to-mid fidelity level of design, in order to obtain user feedback as soon as possible directly from talent.
Through remote usability testing, I was able to gather stakeholder feedback and improve the mockups through multiple iterations before handing them off to development. Overall, users reported that the new design made the requirements for onboarding and the casting application process much more clear and streamlined. Users especially liked that they could track the status of their applications, message directors, and add hashtags to their profiles.
Improvements Made From Refinement
Added a progress tracker in the onboarding and application status sections
Combined “notifications” and “messages” into one, cohesive system. We did this to avoid confusion on where to check new updates vs direct messages.
Refined the application descriptions to make them less verbose. Relying more on photos, tags, and brief descriptions.
My team was tasked with creating an easy to use solution that would improve the experience for models and actresses looking to book casting calls. Based on the pain points of the user, we determined the onboarding and application processes to be the most important to focus on. Our solution was a mobile app, through which users can create their profile, search and apply for casting calls, message casting directors, and track their application status.
Prioritize user feedback: Users were able to give tremendous insight into what worked and what was confusing. As users (the talent) are such a niche focus group, refining the product to their specific needs is crucial in creating a useful product.
Advocate for evidence based solutions: Though it was tempting to be prescriptive of a solution early on, we did our research and scoped out user pain points thoroughly first. This ultimately helped us design the right thing, for the right people.