I know that I grow when I am challenged. But I also know it can be easy to become complacent. After a long workday and an epic poem of a commute and side projects seeping into my evening and keeping up the facade of responsible adult human, I often just want to feed myself and my loved ones and get to sleep as soon as possible. I wanted a easy, low impact way to feel creative everyday while keeping myself accountable. So lately I have been sketching out a potential new side project - a time-sensitive creative challenge site.
With new ideas, I sketch like crazy to get as much out of me and onto paper as possible. I started this project by trying to document the use case for a product like this and the emotions that would drive a user through the site. I use these loopy stick figures a lot in brainstorming sessions to illustrate difference actions and emotions because it is a low impact, simple shape that communicates quickly. Working through the user's mindset helps solidify what sort of features and experience needs to be built.
I began to settle on the idea of a time-sensitive creative challenge site. The basic premise being:
- Users are told what they need to complete the challenge (in most cases, a pencil, paper and phone with a camera will do) and how long it will last (ranging from 5 minutes to an hour).
- Once you accept the challenge, the details are revealed and the timer starts. Some project examples: 5 minutes to draw 15 ducks; 30 minutes to design a lowercase k; 2 minutes to draw without raising your pen. When time is up, you are then given a short window to submit your work anonymously or publicly to your profile.
- When you sign up, you can set your own activity accountability that will be visible to other site users (for example, I want to do 3 challenges a week). You are reminded through various channels to stay accountable and to keep up with new challenges.
- Users could eventually submit their own challenges or form teams around different mediums or skill sets.
I started sketching out the specific requirements of a site like this and what a user would expect to be able to do. Before jumping into any wire framing, I have been focusing on understanding what the feature set could be and classifying the users into groups: individual artists, team subscribers, team admins, and project contributors. I continued working on paper to get as many ideas out as quickly as possible.
With a better sense of the kinds of actions that would be needed, I started looking for mindsets that spanned each group and settled on these four: creating, managing, exploring, and creating. Thinking about each group in these mindsets also brought up additional features that could enhance the overall concept and community.
My next steps are to hone in on the core features needed for an MVP and then start sketching possible site flows for each use case. I also settled on a preliminary name, Inkkly, and started working through some possible branding concepts.
This is very much a work in progress. But knowing how to get there is as important as arriving.