A New Way Of Taking And Sharing Photography

Mirage is photo sharing app for photographers.  The goal of the app is to provide a supportive community where users can connect with other friends, edit and share photography. The app will be published on both Android and Apple stores. As the lead Product Designer, I have designed the app from conception to the final mockup.


Client: Mirage

Duration: 5 months

Team: CEO, Developer, and myself

Role: Product Designer


Pen & Pencil

Adobe XD




User Research


User Persona

Competitive Analysis


User Flow




Case Study

The Challenge

The goal of the app is to retain as many users after the onboarding stage. The purpose is to engage the audience with features that people love. In order to accomplish this, I identified features that targets the interests of photographers. The business model is a subscription based yearly service. 

User Research 

I researched several pain points photographers commonly experience. I looked through article sites and forum boards such as Quora. For most self taught photographers, the process can be a slow and hard learning curve.

Finding the right mentor or connections can also be difficult for a self-taught photographer. In the Quora forums, many photographers expressed challenges creating an image that matches with their vision. Along with this, photographers would like to make their hobby into a side hustle. 

I began to brainstorm some of the main features that will address some of these common problems.  I targeted their main three competitors and compared various features. For the MVP, the following main features were selected: dashboard, contest, ranking, learning, camera specs and forums.


I’ve narrowed down the users’ responses by creating a rewarding mechanism of their work. Some features that was considered were forums, gamification or video tutorials. For the MVP, the client planned to implement one feature at a time. This is to ensure that the MVP can be completed within a time frame. Ultimately, as the app progresses, the goal is to include all the features. 

To determine which feature appealed to photographers the most, I’ve surveyed photographers both online and in-person. After 2 rounds of interview, I’ve discovered that most photographers are interested in winning prizes from their work. This is compounded on the reward mechanism that attracts users to return to the app. After doing research about the reward cycle, I discovered that users also enjoys being recognized for their wins. 


Contest Reward


Video Tutorial


Forum Boards


Along with the contests, I’ve also asked the users the camera settings, location and chat features.  Based from the survey, the users expressed that the camera setting info isn’t as highly needed, but it would be nice feature to have. From the response, I categorized this as a moderate priority.

The result also showed that users find knowing the location of the photo to be very important to them. To further understand the reason why, users expressed in the in-person interview that they want to replicate the original photo. So knowing the location of the photo was more of an importance compared to the camera settings.

Photographers have difficulty replicating the exact camera settings, because it requires them to purchase another DSLR camera. Meanwhile, going to the physical location is a feasible solution to replicate the photo. Compounded on this, another key important feature that users highly sought out for was a chat room to converse with other photographers. 


The key main problems that need to be addressed is how to connect the users in the Hook Model. According to research, 1 to 4 users will abandon the app after one use. The Hooked Model is to create a habit forming behavior that consists of trigger, an action, a variable reward, and continued investment.


From the responses, the users expressed interest in the contest rewards. The survey and in person interview indicate that the users will continue to use the app if they can win prizes and receive recognition for their work. A user persona was created to  list down the goals and motivation of the people who will be using the application. Understanding the users, their motivations, their requirements helps in building user-centric product.


Jonathan is a 26 year old part time freelance photographer. He graduated from college with a degree in economics. He currently works in finance as a consultant but freelances part time as a photographer.

He is seeking to improve his photography skills and also share his works for more exposure. He also wants to connect with professional photographers and see other people’s work so that he can draw in inspiration.


Jonathan enjoys hiking in the mountains in his free time. When he goes outside, he takes his Canon camera with him to take photos. He mostly take nature and city photos. He also enjoys going to photography club meetups and meeting with other photographers. Jonathan taught himself how to use photo editing softwares such as Adobe Photoshop.

Since Jonathan works full-time as a finance consultant, he doesn’t always have the time to go to the club meetups. He want more convenient way to interact with photographers, share his photography, and win prizes.


I proceeded to designing the main feed and it’s counterparts. This is to map out how each interaction will transition from page to page. I’ve organized the main features of the app through sections:  Home, Explore, Upload Photo, Notification, Contest and User Profile.


For convenience, users will continuously be logged in unless they logged out manually. Google login authentication was also implemented so that users can easily login with one click and don’t have to go through the hassle of verifying their account. 


I proceeded to design the main feed and its counterparts. This is to map out how each interaction will transition from page to page. I’ve organized the main features of the app through sections:  Home, Explore, Upload Photo, Notification, Contest and User Profile.


The gamification system was divided further into three features: Contest, Winner and Votes. The subscription feature was placed in the private contests with bigger rewards. The open contests are free and intended to draw users to participate in the contest. Every month, a minimum of 10 contests will be published on the app. 


A sketch was produced with pen and paper to brainstorm ideas of how the design should appear based on the data gathered. 

A low fidelity wireframe was quickly designed to organize the information architecture. Once the low fidelity wireframe was approved by the client, I moved unto developing the high fidelity wireframe.

Color Palatte

After thorough comparison between light interface versus dark interface, I went with the dark interface because dark UIs are known to project an immersive experience with photography. Dark interfaces can also give visual elements a stylish and dramatic feel. With accessibility in mind, I’ve interviewed several users  on their thoughts about dark UIs. A good majority of users shared they use dark mode on other social media apps. The reason is that it reduces the eye strain associated with long social media usage. The images displayed on the app was taken from Unsplash, which the photos are permitted for commercial use. 


Current design trends is to select only 2 types of font styles. For a crisp and classic feel, I chose Helvetica for the main body text and headlines. For tutorials and contest announcements, I went with Quicksand.

Mockup Video

Taking note that the IPhone X doesn’t have the home button. Many of the navigation features will be initiated by gestures and motion of the hand.  For the voting section, users are permitted to swipe using hand motion. During the usability testing trial, I took note that users want to have the option to interact with the buttons. The hand swipes and buttons were both included into the voting mechanism.


Honing in the gamification system was a challenging experience. I designed the app with the Hook model in mind. The goal of the MVP is to retain 80% of users who download the app in one try. Therefore, it was critical to implement a reward mechanism during the users’ activity.  Users will also receive notification moderately to return to the app.

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