InkTank

Tattooing can be painful. InkTank is here to help.

I created a mobile application that encourages people to discover tattoo artists, assuage concerns about tattoos, and easily connect them to favorites with a direct appointment booking system.

a hero image showing final mock ups of various inktank screens.
person

My Role

UI Designer

handyman

Tools

timelapse

Duration

UX Designer

UX Researcher

Adobe XD

Adobe Illustrator

Usability Hub

Zoom

3 Months

The Process

search

Discovery

science

Analysis

Competitive Analysis

User Journey Maps

User Personas

Interviews with Customers

Card Sort

lightbulb

Ideation

Site Map

User Flows

Low Fidelity Prototype

Interviews with Artists

Usability Testing

brush

Final Touches

Accessibility Design

Design System

High Fidelity Prototype

More Usability Testing

Getting a tattoo can be a daunting experience. From conceiving your idea to acquainting with the idea of voluntarily being pricked by needles, lots of stress and doubt can quickly add up.

While InkTank can’t help with the actual tattoo application (that’s going to hurt no matter what), it can inspire hopeful tattoo-getters, vet artists, showcase various styles, and connect via direct appointments. Equally importantly, InkTank aims to promote artists and their work to prospective clients, provide an appointment management system, and gather customer testimonials in a centralized platform

How can we help artists grow their business while simulataneously educating and reassuring clients?

In my own personal experience, booking an appointment required 5 steps:

-Emailing the shop

-coming into the shop

-making a deposit

-giving the artist my idea

-coming back to see the final design and get inked.

I loved the design, but what happens when customers want to make a change? Appointments get delayed, customers second-guess themselves, and artists lose money and time. As a result, I decided to conceive an application that benefits both artists and users, while still being viable.

Artists need a simpler and more scalable way to manage their appointments. Customers want to dive curiously into the intimidating and deep world of tattooing.

Research Insights

Artists are not happy with the status quo.

Before the internet, tattoo artists had to create a name for themselves the old-fashioned way. Now, artists have numerous options to promote their work.

Tattoodo is an application in the tattoo space that offers artists a way to promote themselves to potential customers and book appointments. This service has multiple pricing tiers, offering more referrals and being on the front page of results depending on the subscription tier.

I decided to take a look at Tattoodo and speak to a tattoo artist who’s used it before. Throughout our conversation, we covered other pain points in his process.

Paying for Nothing

The artist I spoke with said they paid to be promoted, and received zero clients or leads. They felt like it was an app to make money off artists because they were in a huge city and should be getting leads according to the business model.

Booking is Still a Nightmare

Artist's need specific information from clients. Getting this information and figuring out exactly what they want can be a nightmare, and then nailing down an appointment is another battle. Emailing back and forth is a waste of time; artists need help with the logistical side of tattooing.

No tattoo specific solutions

Tattoo artists do not have a reliable and affordable platform for managing their appointments and promoting their brands. Instagram is popular for promotion at the moment, but artists are tired of the bots and changing algorithms.

Artists Know What They Want

Artists want to work with customers that are familiar with their work. They want to work on pieces that excite them. They also want people to enjoy the experience, so good artists will help guide new customers through the experience.

Customers have unique needs and pain points.

I spoke to 3 different people who have multiple tattoos. The 3 of them were very unique, from how they planned their tattoos, to their pain points and regrets.

a graphic image showing the various pain points associated with getting a tattoo, and how users find their tattoo artists. It is color coded to show how the 3 different subjects approach this differently.

Proximity Matters

One of the only overlaps between our 3 research participants revealed that artists need to be local for almost all tattoo customers. Most end up settling for local tattoo shops.

Browsing is Different for Everyone

Some use Google, others follow artists on Instagram, some have tattoo books. This indicates that people don’t know where to look when they want to be inspired.

Searching is Murky

One interview subject revealed that they had no idea where to start searching for an artist to do more complex pieces. Googling local artists leaves some customers wishing their cities had more to offer and can be difficult if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.

Hindsight is 20-20

2 out of the 3 participants had expressed some sort of regret over one piece. In both cases, having access to customer testimonials could have helped them avoid unprofessional shops and artists.

Card Sorting

After analyzing my initial research, I created a rough sitemap to help facilitate the organization of content and information. Card sorting helped revise this sitemap and ensure I was on the right track.

Most users associated artist and shop profiles would be grouped with booking and reviews. This backed up my assumption.

in a perfect world, I would have the budget to conduct another closed sort, with more participants. This would be a huge help in refining the site further and understanding how users understand our content and structure.

a graphic showing a similarity matrix, demonstrating how users organized certain content similarly to each other.

Bringing Solutions to Life

Designing the familiar

InkTank needed to be able to display a wide range of content without being confusing or overwhelming. I examined a variety of comparative experiences: photo blogs, business review sites, and online booking platforms.

InkTank needed to be able to display a wide range of content without being confusing or overwhelming. I examined a variety of comparative experiences: photo blogs, business review sites, and online booking platforms.

Tattoodo is a competitor offering artists paid membership levels to increase exposure to companies.

A quick glance at the features a competitor, tattoodo, has on their app. We see 3 images demonstrating the various search screens, an artist profile screen, and a form you can fill out to share your idea with local tattoo artists.

Users can search for specific tattoo ideas using keywords and style search filter.

View artists page, book, and follow.

Fill out a form about your tattoo idea and get responses from artists in that location.

InkTank needed to be able to display a wide range of content without being confusing or overwhelming. I examined a variety of comparative experiences: photo blogs, business review sites, and online booking platforms.

InkTank needed to be able to display a wide range of content without being confusing or overwhelming. I examined a variety of comparative experiences: photo blogs, business review sites, and online booking platforms.

An image showing the various stages of low and mid fidelity prototypes.

Based on external inspirations, I quickly brainstormed and ideated the initial wireframes for InkTanks components.

The 3 tab controller was simplified in the higher fidelity prototype.

Reviews can be viewed on artists’ profiles.

The booking process was revised so that users can lock in a date. Then users are prompted to fill out the tattoo idea form, which will be sent to artists.

an image showing the home, artist profile, and booking artist screens in high fidelity.

Permanent ink. Reusable components.

Tattoos are forever, features and content are not.  Keeping this in mind, I created a design system that will be visually pleasing to users, and technically pleasing to developers.

A design system was made to streamline and standardize all components across InkTank. This will help ensure a smooth handoff to developers and engineers.

Following iOS Design Guidelines, components were reused throughout to establish familiarity for users.

a snapshot of the design system, showcasing buttons, common components, tabs and navigation bars.
the typography guidelines for inktank

Where are we now?

Find and Vet Local Artists

My goal was to create a place for tattoo artists and customers to connect, book, and get inspired. Here’s a look at the experience of finding and booking an artist. I updated the screen with a more simple color scheme to minimize distractions and let the components breathe a little

a demonstration of finding an artist flow.

Powerful Search

Customers aren’t experts. Some don’t know many styles or where to look. Users can search using keywords, or use a suggested search button. This allows for browsing and more specific searching.

Here we can see the various screens where users can search for tattoos artists or style, find artists, and see their reviews.

Submit a Tattoo Idea

Some users have an idea, but still need help fleshing out their designs. Users can submit an idea to all local artists. Artists can then reach out and discuss the idea, and promote their work.

a preview of submitting a tattoo idea. theres a screen with the form on it, a successful submission confirmation screen, and a screen where the artist reaches out about the idea.

Looking Ahead

All in One

Everything outside of the drawing and needlework can be a pain point for an artist. By creating a space for artists to manage their portfolio, messages, and booking, the workload just became a little lighter.

See anything you like?

As a customer, booking with a busy artist can be difficult and time-consuming. From an artist's profile, users can see artist availability and message them about details before booking.

A preview of the next ui update, showing a less cluttered version of the app that still looks like inktank.

I would like to simplify the design and reduce visual noise. These screens above are mockups that will serve as the basis for the design system update and all future added components.

Next Steps

Closed Card Sorts

Meta-Tags

Further refining of content organization and sitemap

Work with developers to create a system of meta-tags for content to improve search functionality

Style Quiz

create a detailed style list + work with developers to suggest tattoos, artists, and styles based on feedback users provided during this quiz

Reflections

Without a launch, it’s difficult to determine what improvements and fixes to make. That said, I am interested in observing a few key metrics:

- Time on pages

- Retention rates

- Messaging rates

- Booking rates

Additionally, I need to hear from my users to determine if the design proposal is heading in the right direction.

- User interviews will be extremely helpful for qualitative feedback.

- Conducting usability tests will be imperative for new features that will be added.

- Lastly, an A/B test once live would be useful for refining the search function. Additional filters will be experimented with, as well as the content structure on the search page.

As a whole, I am thrilled with this project. By examining competitors’ business plans, I feel like InkTank has a unique opportunity to bring real value to Artists without making them pay. I’m looking forward to the challenge of creating a meta-tag system to improve the search feature.

Got an idea in mind? Talk to me.

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