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ATOLYE DEGIRMEN

A user-friendly website for a newly established acting school in Istanbul.

My Role:

UX & UI Designer, Researcher,

Content Designer.

URL:

OVERVIEW

Atölye Degirmen is an acting school in İstanbul that was initiated by Gamze Bayraktaroglu. She has been working as an instructor for conservatory exam preparations and recently established her own business. The client used to reach her potential students in traditional ways i.e. word of mouth, being referred to. She contacted me for assistance in building a user-friendly website to reach her potential students and increase the number of students. I had limited time and resources for this project; however, I aimed to keep my design user-centered. I followed a design process starting from conducting an online survey followed by 3 semi-structured user interviews to ideation and prototyping.

atolyedegirmen.com” was born as a product of this process, it aims to help students to determine their path in their acting career. The website provides various information on the syllabus of the courses that Atölye Degirmen offers, its instructor team, its mentorship program, and important dates.

PROJECT PLAN

As a first step, I conducted interviews with the client in order to understand their business, needs, and expectations. These interviews contributed to the identification of “business objectives” and the path that I followed throughout the shipping process of “atolyedegirmen.com”.

Business Objectives

 

  • Create a recognisable identity for the company.

  • Build a strong reputation in offering education to succeed to enroll in the most prestigious Conservatories around Turkey.

  • Expand the existing student base by creating an online presence for the business.

  • Offer outstanding learning and practicing opportunities based on what the target audience wants.


Research Objectives
 

  • Identify the needs of the students regarding the process of preparation for the exams.

  • Determine the areas which should be improved in the business to create a strong brand identity.

  • Find an area in which Atölye Degirmen should invest more.

RESEARCH

The project was on a tight schedule. It needed to be completed as soon as possible due to the entrance exam dates. Therefore, I prepared a quick and time-efficient research plan. I interviewed Gamze to diagnose her needs. I carried on with a competitive analysis.

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I conducted an online survey with which I reached 18 users and 3 short user interviews with former students of Gamze Bayraktaroglu. They gave me some significant insights into their behaviour and preferences when using a website for exploring educational services for conservatory exam preparation.

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Competitive Analysis

To identify the areas to invest in and improve, I conducted comprehensive market research on similar businesses. This research induced me to suggest to the client that the “establishment of a mentorship program” would be a key factor to differentiate Gamze’s business from the rest of the market especially in Istanbul. Thanks to her existing network of previous students, Gamze and I managed to create additional mentoring services which enable the students in the preparation process to establish networks with Gamze’s previous students who are currently studying at various conservatories.

Embodiment of the Findings

Based on the findings from the survey and interviews, I identified 3 different personas to articulate their goals and pain points clearly. My personas were as follows: Elit (21, Student wanting to become an actress), Ece (17, Student in a high school, wants to pass the entrance exam of the musical department of a conservatory), Enver (35, Engineer wants to change his career by gaining MA degree in a conservatory).

Personas Atölye Değirmen (1).png

Furthermore, I also created a user journey map for Ece, where I pointed out her experiences throughout the journey that she would take together with Atölye Değirmen.

User Journey Map Atölye Değirmen (1).png

IDEATION

Content Design

The most challenging and time-consuming stage of the design process was to create appropriate content based on the findings I gathered from the previous stages. My role as a content designer required me to write various texts explaining the services that the business offers, its approach to the field, and to create visuals for segments of the product, such as the syllabus of the courses in Atölye Degirmen.

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Information Architecture

With the help of my knowledge on Information Architecture and my research, I managed to determine which content and visuals should be included, how they should appear, and in what order these contents should be organised. Information architecture is a powerful tool shedding light on my next steps in the ideation process. As an example, the site map of atolyedegirmen.com indicates the importance of the order in the navigation of the website.

Site Map Atolye Değirmen.png

Wireframes

Atölye Değirmen Mobil.png
Wireframe - Anasayfa.png

UI Design Elements

Colour Palette

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Fonts

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Prototype

Anasayfa (2).png

TOWARDS 
THE FINAL

Launching

Now, it was time to establish a team to launch the website. After doing some research, I reached frontend and backend developers who offer affordable budgets to the client. I introduced them to Gamze Bayraktaroglu and delivered my design to the hands of the developers.
 

Promotion Campaign

In order to promote the product, I designed a sticker with a QR code navigating to atolyedegirmen.com on it and asked the Client to stick them on walls and various places mostly populated by our target groups, such as theatres, cinemas, and arty cafes around Kadıköy and Beyoglu districts. Furthermore, these visuals can also be used for online sharing. Through these Ads, I aimed to get more traffic for the website.

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TITLE OF THE CALLOUT BLOCK

CONCLUSION

Atölye Degirmen is an acting school specializing in conservatory preparation, and it was established in 2022 by an experienced acting mentor, Gamze Bayraktaroglu. This newly established business deserves to have a user-friendly website in order to expand its student base and reach more students effectively. I managed this project from the beginning, I did various research and uncovered the needs of both the business and the users of the product.

Now, Atölye Degirmen offers a “mentorship program” which differentiates it from its competitors, and it also has a responsive website where people can easily reach all the necessary information about the school and its services.​

Lessons Learnt

  • The “content-first” approach sheds light on my design path. Even though it is time-consuming, it is definitely worth it. Without a business strategy
    and proper content, it would be difficult to find a driving force for progress.

  • Being flexible and resilient is so important to stay motivated, especially during the recruitment process of participants to the research.

I'm eager to talk more about the project in an interview!

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