What is crafting?


Before interviewing my user I had no idea what crafting was, other than being used in the phrase “arts & crafts.” Crafting is a popular hobby with a long history and variety of activities that essentially is making decorative, useful things with your hands. There are a wide variety of projects a crafter can undertake that includes but is not limited to, knitted garments, lampshades, jewelry, felting, carpentry and pottery.

I conducted a 20 min interview with my assigned user and secondary research of popular craft related companies, apps and other digital offerings.

My crafters frustrations:


My user also mentioned upcycling during our interview. Upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful, creative and often beautiful. With my users frustrations being unable to discard their old materials a connection and possible opportunities weren't hard to see.


Takeaways & crafter challenges

Retailer apps and crafting tutorial apps are plentiful but there main goals are to sell or teach. There's nothing to connect the community as a whole other than websites and forums (like craftster.org, getcrafty.com and craftforum.com). Also, DIY Apps don't solve my crafter's main frustrations of clutter and organization problems.

There are item swapping apps, however none targeted to crafters. I believe that an exchange system for crafters might solve my user's frustrations. Organizing, getting rid of unwanted materials and receiving materials from others could work as a digital product/system.


Designing for convenience

Sorting, organizing and getting rid of things are somethings we all put off. Complexity would be the enemy in the design of this product. I wanted to make sure the navigation had no more 4 buttons or less and adding to the collection would be as simple as taking a picture and adding a label. Minimalism was key in design because a complex system with too many tasks would be ignored.

Upcycles main function is to exchange materials. Therefore people would want to see what they're receiving, or show what they're giving away and organize what they have. I made menu item for each function. Upcycle symbol for items you want to upcycle, a banana peel for materials you want to scrap and up arrow to upload photos you'd like to add to your overall inventory or to scrap.


Users are asked whether they want to scrap their material as soon as they take a picture to prevent having to label things later. They are then asked to label thier photographed materials. The far right screen shows the screen of someone browsing materials to upcycle.


No more clutter

To illustrate my user's pain-points I drew a user story showing how Upcycle might work if it were a real digital offering. The backend would take a lot of work, but with the many swapping apps out there, I believe this app is possible. Crafters not only want to be creative but efficient and not wasteful, unfortunately avoiding wastefulness can lead to clutter like the story below.

Gina loves crafting, however with every new project there are scraps and left over materials.

Thanks to Upcycle Gina can give her left over materials for items she needs for current projects. She can snap it, tag it and exchange her discarded materials.

She ships her excess materials. Now she can focus on crafting and not stress about where to put her left over materials.

Next Steps

  1. More user testing
  2. Follow up interview with assigned user and other crafters
  3. Service design
  4. Look into product combining with social media platforms