Telling a Story – A Glimpse at ShareDesk’s Design and UX

Enrico Cassinelli —  October 31, 2012

When you surf a website or use an online application, you should take a moment to think about your interaction with the application and imagine how it is brought to life. Most platforms we use today are the result of careful crafting and meticulous design and development processes. A simple elegant UX design is one of the most important criteria we look at; it defines how we interact with our users.

We think it may be interesting to give you a quick look behind the scene on ShareDesk’s user experience.

dario “Everyday dynamics are the main inspiration for user experience design. ShareDesk lets you virtually enter workspaces and interact with people that you can approach and meet in person. It’s more than an interface, it’s visual storytelling, a landscape, an architecture of information built by the users.”

- Dario Aschero, ShareDesk’s Design Lead

Entering conversation with our Design Lead, Dario.

Define what it means for everyday dynamics to be an inspiration for UX design?

Before giving an answer, we wanted to make something that directly talks to our users, something based on their everyday experiences. For example, think about the search process. I’ve tried to emulate a normal walk: you get out on the streets, you find a coworking space and you like the feel that you get by looking into the front window.

So you walk in, and you see the people working there. If you find someone interesting, you might just want to ask him some questions about the workspace, he or she could be the manager of the workspace, or maybe some other member. It doesn’t really matter, you need a human contact to perceive the real atmosphere.

I’ve been inspired by this kind of behaviour. You can search a city coworking offer, and if you are interested, you can just walk in and see who’s there, and make a contact if you feel like. Also the choice to not to have a single big picture with small thumbnails, but to have bigger images, was made to give our users a panoramic view of the space, to make him feel more “absorbed“.

 

What inspired you most while designing Sharedesk’s pages?

I personally think that the problem with directories is that every single listing ends up looking the same.

My purpose was to try to preserve the identity and uniqueness of each space: we as a team didn’t want to limit the decision-making process of the users, to force their choices into a comparison between prices and amenities. We wanted them to feel the place and the people.

That’s why, again, we opted for big pictures instead of a classic gallery, and that’s the reason behind some odd-looking choices, such as forcing hosts to write down a “space motto”.

space1

What helped you most in the process?

My previous experiences in editorial design played a big role in the whole process. Most of my design decision were made based on that.

For example, I wasn’t really focused on putting buttons all over the screen and, at the same time, I was not afraid of using very big typographic elements, such as big fonts, which basically became one of the core elements in our design.

Above all, I think that my previous experience with paper magazines and publications freed me from the temptation of using as little space as possible. To say it in technical terms, I didn’t care about “staying above the fold“.

Instead, I’ve tried to create “reading patterns” which drive the user down deep into long pages. The concept of “reading patterns” is also closely tied to my idea of the way a webpage should work: it needs to tell a story. And storytelling has been another pillar for my inspiration.

The coworking space profile page has been built with that in mind. The position of the pictures, the recently added “People” tab, everything tries to tell the users something before they even read the content. I wanted our users to be virtually present, and get an intimate feel our workspaces around the world and to portray the space through the people that work there.

There’s still much work to do, but we are only getting started, slowly transforming this vision into a reality.

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Enrico Cassinelli

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