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UIUX / Mobile App Design



User Research, UI/UX Design


qollab is a matchmaking mobile app that connects aspiring photographers and models, based on shared interests, goals and styles. It features a robust messaging service and a seamless booking system, allowing users to effortlessly collaborate anywhere, anytime.


With the rise of Instagram, influencers are now becoming a thing and lots of amateur photographers and models are quickly getting famous. However, communications between to two parties are still handled using friends or direct messaging. Qollab wishes to solve this issue by providing an efficient and transparent appointment booking system for the two parties to quickly establish connections and collaborations.


An InstaMeet is a group of Instagrammers meeting up to take photos and videos together. It’s a great way to meet people, share tricks with other community members in the same area, and to explore new places. The community aspect of Instagram really inspired me and made me wonder why there isn’t a better way to casually invite people to collaborate with.

However, people have to physically be there to attend, get to know people, and then establish connections. The initial phase of meeting people is what I’m trying to change, so people can establish connections right off the bat.


I’ve consolidated the current problems with the photographer / model scouting process into three main points -

Limited Social Circle

Awkward Introduction

Many Apps Required


In response to the three above problems, my proposed solutions are -

Curated Discovery

Efficient Communications

All In One


qollab is different from its competitors because of these factors -


Democratizes collaborations amongst creatives by focusing on fun and enjoyable peer-to-peer experiences instead of commercial ones.


Seamlessly integrates with individual’s Instagram accounts, so profiles, stats and and styles could be immediately shown.


Takes care of the entire journey from stalking, getting to know each other, scheduling and to actually meeting.

Competitive Analysis

  • The Hub
  • Model Mayhem
  • Model Management
  • A close-knit community of social influencers – photographers, videographers, artists and models to collaborate and create content for different brands.


    • Equal focus for all roles
    • Focuses on creative work
    • Social media driven
    • Brands provide projects to work on creatively together
    • Compiles all kinds of statistics/graphs


    • Users need to apply and be approved
    • Close community, little is public
    • Very specific style, not diverse
    • Very small user base
    • Interface not user friendly (according to friends who’ve used it)
  • A portfolio website for professional models and photographers, with open model profiles and forums and contests.


    • Lots of features and models
    • Not just for portfolios but also a learning center and Q&A sections
    • All kinds of forums for discussions
    • Filter functions are powerful and curated


    • Design looks unprofessional
    • Emphasis on models, not photographers
    • Only for brands and commercial collaborations, no room for amateurs
    • Style could be overly sexual, one-sided and too mainstream
  • An online global modeling community mainly for models, photographers and agencies to connect and establish business inquiries and opportunities.


    • Two main entrances: “Looking for models” or “Looking for model jobs”
    • Lots of filters and rankings for models
    • Features emerging models on home page to promote
    • Hair and makeup artists can also participate in projects


    • Targeting only models and industry professionals
    • Purely for business collaborations
    • Try to cover way too much information on the website
    • Lots of ads
    • Style could be overly sexual, one-sided and too mainstream


I created a survey questionaire and gave out to 34 people to fill out. The questions were surrounding the topics of people's familiarity with photography and how they would use such product to make social connections.

Target Audience

I conducted a survey asking questions regarding interest in photography and goal from a collaborative project, and sent it out to 34 people. Based on the survey results, came up with three main types of target audience -


Aspiring and amateur photographers


Career models, fashion lifestyle bloggers, anyone who needs more internet fame


Individuals looking to expand network through creative projects


Three personas based on the three types of target audience

  • Photographer
  • Model
  • Creative
  • Kevin Mao

    25 / San Francisco, CA / UX Designer

    Kevin is an active Instagrammer who’s had his photography work shown for brands like Apple, Everlane and Yerba Buena Center of the Arts. He is always on the scout for interesting landscapes and people to capture.

    Pain point: When Kevin travels to different parts of the world, he has trouble finding people to collaborate with. Planning out a photoshoot can also get logistically challenging and tiring for him when he’s on the road.

  • Andria Volpicelli

    26 / Oakland, CA / Blogger & Fitness Instructor

    Andria posts photos of herself on her Instagram regularly showcasing her life and her latest fashion & lifestyle finds. She appreciates high-quality photography and enjoys photoshoots in the sun and the nature.

    Pain point: Getting into the blogging business is extremely competitive, Andria would need to have high-quality photos on her social media to best showcase her style and gain more attention.

  • Tiffany Leung

    25 / Manchester, UK / Art Museum Curator

    Tiffany is a creative soul and is extremely active in the art community. As a curator, she’s always on the scout for creative things to participate in. She just moved to a new city so she’s looking for fun and exciting ways to meet new people.

    Pain point: Moving to a new place without knowing anyone so in desperate needs to make connections with people through creative things to do together.


I then took my main persona, Kevin, and created a storyboard to portray how Kevin would interact with this app through 5 different stages.



I first started with very preliminary sketches to show how I envisioned qollab to be like. The below hand sketches show the four main screens and also the “search for model” task flow.


I then developed low-fidelity wireframes to visualize my main three task flows: updaing location, connecting with a model, and sending a qollab invite.

  • Task 1
  • Task 2
  • Task 3
  • Task 1: Profile Setting - Update Location

    Kevin needs to update his location on his profile from San Francisco to NYC so models in NYC can show up on his Explore page, and for models in the NYC area to be able to see his profile.

  • Task 2: Model Recruitment - Discover and Select

    Kevin starts browsing on the explore page by searching the keyword “grungy”, opens up a model's profile and connect with them.

  • Task 3: Coordinating - Setting Up Appointment

    Kevin wants to send a qollab invite to a model for an appointment on May 12th at 3PM at the Prince Subway Station so they can both have it synced to their calendars.

User Testing

I conducted two rounds of user testing with 4 participants in each round. I gave my participants my low-fidelity wireframes and had them complete the three tasks. I then recorded their comments and went back to my wireframes to make changes.

Based on the feedback I received, I created medium-fideltiy wireframes and presented the participants in the second round of testing. I then tracked down their feedback and consolidated my findings into three main points.


Having the favorites page is too passive and would reduce the chances of actually connecting, which is counterproductive for qollab.


Having both the concepts of “request qollab” and “request appointment” is too complicated for testers


Vision boards are essential and will require further design, i.e. where to access, how to upload...etc.

Final Design

Curated Browsing Experience

The explore page also acts as the home page of this app. This means that everytime qollab is launched, users are brought to the explore page, ready to browse and make connections.

Search results can be organized by filters or keywords for a better and more precise browsing experience.

Making Connections

qollab is a platform that encourages users to maximize their chances to connect with creatives out there, so users can connect with other users as much as they would like to. However, I don’t want this to cause users to abuse this ease of use, so I’ve designed this feature so that users would have to send a short message in order to connect. This message can either be auto-populated and also customizable.

Managing Connections

All the pending connections will be accessible via the connections page, which also acts as the message center. Users can decline or accept connections under the “pending” tab”. A red notification will pop up if there is any new connection or message.

All new connections will be in the top section under “matched”. A chat can then be created.

Managing qollabs

The qollab page will be essentially the hub of all the past and upcoming qollabs this particular user has. This will be where they can view details about their qollabs, change logistics, edit vision boards... etc.

Sending qollab Invites

Users are able to send each other qollab invites with a specific date, time and location, and can easily accept, edit or decline the invites. Once an appointment is set, the date, time and location will be automatically synced to users' personal calendars of choice.

Quick Profile Stats

qollab is natively integrated with Instagram’s content, so users’ posts and stats on Instagram can also be viewable here on qollab.

User-Retention Gamification

Similar to Yelp Elite, Pro qollab users have badges and are picked out based on quality of content, number of qollabs, high review ratings, and active connections with other users.

If you are part of the Pro community, you can enjoy exclusive benefits like a personal stats dashboard, ability to customize profile layouts, and even VIP community events and parties.


Try interacting with this prototype to get a feel of how qollab works!



Through this experience I’ve learned a few things that I’ve never really fully considered before. I also got to think about feasibility on a whole other level, as well as the importance of gamification to keep users interested in order for them to stay on the app.

Since this was only a semester project I didn’t have the resources and time to develop the idea further, I am planning to continue working on it and potentially making it into a really functional prototype first.