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GramCity Design Sprint

gramcity cover.jpeg


As a student of Springboard’s UX Design Career Track, I participated in a modified Google Ventures Design Sprint. Springboard provided a design sprint assignment that was modified so it can be done by one person and in a shorter amount of time. My role was as UX/UI designer.

GramCity is a photo editing app that helps users easily make their photos look awesome before sharing them on instagram or other social media networks. GramCity wants to:

  1. explore how (and where) they can help their users find great photo-ops near them. 

  2. design a feature to help users find awesome places to take photos, wherever they are. 

  3. create an active community of users who find and share their favorite locations.

Day One - Mapping

The first day I looked at research that was given to me, which is how I got the information shown below.

Research Highlights

Some people like to go out of the way and/or travel far for photos and some people don’t. Some people like to get photos of famous places and some people like lesser known places.


  • 24 years old

  • Video Editor

  • Los Angeles, CA

  • Nick takes road trips to new cities at least 5 times a year. He loves traveling, documenting his trips, and sharing his photos - either on social media, or in a group chat with his friends.

  • When in a new city, Nick likes to make the most of his time there - he’ll walk and explore for most of the day, and doesn’t have a strict plan or itinerary.

  • Nick always regrets when he doesn’t take enough pictures, but he also feels like he’s missing out on the travel experience if he’s constantly on his phone taking photos.

  • Nick tries to snap a few photos of the different things he’s doing, but he feels like he may have missed out on some good photo ops that were already near him.


Nick wants to find great places to take photos to document his trips, but doesn’t want to spend time researching or traveling out of the way to find them.


  • 27 years old

  • Event Production Manager

  • Chicago, IL

  • Sarah travels a lot for her work, and spends a lot of time in new cities with time to spare between the events she’s working on.

  • Sarah spends most of her free time taking photos, after taking a photography class a few years ago.

  • Before visiting a new place, Sarah spends some time looking up photos on Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media sites to get inspiration for photos she wants to take on her trip

  • Sarah thinks about the photos she wants to take, and plans her day around that.

  • Sarah doesn’t spend a lot of time in one city, so she wants to get the best possible photos while she’s there. She doesn’t mind spending time traveling to the places for a great photo - but if the place isn’t what she expected, she feels like she wasted her time.

  • Sarah has to spend lots of time looking through other peoples’ photos to find places she wants to go to. If it’s a lesser known place, finding the address or details on the location can take a lot of time to research.

  • Sarah likes to see the different ways people take photos of the same place, but it’s time consuming to scroll through lots of “average” photos to find a few good ones.


Sarah wants to easily find locations and examples of the best photo ops in a city before planning out her day around visiting them.


I created a map showing an end-to-end experience a user would have with the product. On the far left is the user, on the right is a goal they would like to achieve by using the product, and in between are all the steps they would take to achieve that goal.


Day 2 - Sketching

Lightning Demo

I looked at a few existing products that solve similar problems to the one I’m trying to solve for GramCity.

Eventbrite 1.png
Eventbrite 2.png

Eventbrite shows you popular events in a given city and also lets you search for events in either a selected city or your current location.


Snapchat shows you a map of where you are and where other people have taken photos and videos.

Snapchat 2.png
Snapchat 1.png
Facebook 1.png
Facebook 2.png

In the Facebook events feature you can see recommended places and events in a selected location.

Crazy Eights

Crazy Eights.jpeg

I decided to sketch eight different versions of the screen for selecting a place to take photos, since that’s the reason why people would use this feature. In this design exercise called crazy eights, only one minute is spent on each sketch.

Top row, left to right: 1. Map with current location represented by a dot. Different places represented as images in circles. 2. Selected city is shown in the search bar. Below that are buttons that act as filters for the places. Below that are boxes that would show the different places. 3. Boxes that would show the different places. 4. Search bar. Below that is a map with current location represented by a circle. Below that are boxes that would show the different places.

Bottom row, left to right: 1. Featured places shown in boxes. 2. Search bar. Below that are boxes that show images and descriptions of different places. 3. Search bar. Below that is a map with current location represented by a dot. Below that are filters for the places. Below that are boxes that show images and descriptions of different places. 4. Search bar. Below that is a button that would allow a user to add a photo. Below that is a map with current location represented by a dot. Below that are boxes that would show the different places.

Solution Sketch

Solution Sketch.jpeg

I chose elements from my crazy eights that I liked best to produce the best solution. Then I sketched the screens that would come immediately before and after that screen. In this sequence a user would start on a page where they would enter a city or town in the search bar. Then they would be taken to a page that would show a map of that city and a selection of places in that city that they can filter by either most popular or places with photos most recently uploaded by users. Then they would select a place and it would take them to a page that shows that place's address and photos uploaded.

Day Three - Deciding



Since this is a feature for the app GramCity, users would find it after opening that app. They would first type in a city in the search bar, which would then take them to a page showing a map of that city and a list of places to take photos. Selecting any of the places would bring them to a page showing that place’s address and the number of the photos of the place that were uploaded. From there, users can upload a photo of the place and add a caption, and the photo would appear first out of all the photos.

Day Four - Prototyping

Landing Page.png
New York NY.png
Statue of Liberty.png

For my prototype, I decided on bright colors to go with the excitement of traveling. When testing the prototype, my goals are to learn what people think of the screens and how easy it is for them to use.

Day Five - Validating

  • Remote moderated usability testing

  • Each tester goes to different cities at least twice a year and takes at least ten photos each time they travel

  • Most testers said they share the pictures they take on social media. Some of them, in addition to sharing them to social media also share them privately with people.

  • One person said they just share them privately and put them in an album or scrapbook.

  • Only two of the five testers said that they do research/planning beforehand for where they’re going to take photos when they travel.

  • One person said they used Instagram for research/planning and one person said they use Google search and Yelp.


  • Lots of people at first didn’t understand what the app was for, but understood it more once they used it more.

  • Everyone liked the New York, NY page.

  • Several people commented on the map and said that they would expect it to be clickable and show where all the places are.

  • Several people commented on the buttons that read “trending” and “most popular” and expected those to be clickable features.

  • Everyone was easily able to do the tasks of finding a place in New York City to take a picture and sharing a picture of the Statue of Liberty.

  • Some people wondered about the purpose of adding a photo would be since it doesn’t seem like a social media app.

  • One person said that instead of adding a photo, you should be able to link a post to your social media.

  • One person thought it would be good to show, under the different photos of a place, to show who took the photo.

  • One person said that they would like to see comments on the pictures.


Based on the results from usability testing, I was able to observe that the key values of the product such as easy search and use were achieved. There are opportunities for improvement such as giving more of an incentive to upload photos. Next steps for this project would be to add a social aspect.

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