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Extended Audience Engagement Recommendations for Behance, An Adobe Creative Community


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These slides were submitted as my Audience Engagement final for Fielding Graduate University's Audience Engagement grad school course, MSC-568-18SU1 (part of their Media Psychology program).

The slides encompass my real-world thinking in terms of persona development and audience approach strategies as they apply to Adobe's creative community, Behance.

While entirely hypothetical in so far as my recommendations here are for the purposes of a grad school assignment, they do address the current environment of Adobe's Behance (at the time of this writing) as I see it and/or have personally experienced.

If you like my ideas, please share your comments with me at

Last but not least, here were my instructor's comments regarding my slide deck: "As if often the case with the best work, there is little to say. Your final project “Behance: Extended Audience Engagement Recommendations” is excellent. It was comprehensive, aesthetically stimulating, and an effective persuasive communication piece. You have done a great job in laying out the strategy and using the persona is a way that both makes sense and is effective. The personas, in particular, were incredibly well done. Appreciate the drilling down in genre first and this specific person second. Your statistics are also well placed and meaningful. Your entire project is excellent from executive summary through the before/after website shots. Nice clear design and very good navigation to take people to explore the experience of others to the lessons learned from the storyboards."

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Extended Audience Engagement Recommendations for Behance, An Adobe Creative Community

  1. 1. 1 EXTENDED AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS Mayra Ruiz-McPherson For Fielding Graduate University | 18/SU Audience Engagement (MSC-568-18SU1) | Final Assignment | 703.798.2619 | July 24, 2018
  2. 2. 2 Behance is the leading online platform to showcase & discover creative work and is part of the Adobe Family. Behance’s team of curators feature new work every day from top portfolios in the fields of design, fashion, illustration, industrial design, architecture, photography, fine art, advertising, typography, motion graphics, sound design, and many more. Leading creative companies find talent on Behance, and millions of visitors use Behance to track the latest and greatest creative talent. Source: Apple’s App Store Preview of Behance App
  4. 4. 1.1 | EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 4 While Adobe’s Behance platform seeks to “remove the barriers between talent & opportunity (Behance, n.d.)” there are a number of considerations available for the brand to further refine its existing audience engagement efforts. Presently, Behance’s current audience engagement approach appears to be centered on the following three user groups: ● Creatives, design-centric individuals seeking to showcase and distribute their best work; ● Employers, would-be hiring organizations searching for exciting and top creative talent; and ● Schools & Organizations, whose student populations upload design work that reflects the quality of instruction (and talent available) at their academic institutions. THE “ “ Behance seems to bucket its Creatives user segment into a generic mass of “Showcasers.” While “showcasers” is our own label; yet we derive such a term directly from Behance’s own marketing content and descriptions of its platform. One can clearly see the following welcoming message placed above the home page fold and under the primary navigation: “Showcase & Discover Creative Work.”
  5. 5. 1.2 | EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 5 The word “Showcase” spotlighted on the Behance home page has the primary emphasis (it’s clearly first in the prominent phrase and comes before “Discover”) and would naturally speak to designers seeking to showcase and share their works. The actual word “showcase” is very specific; the verb itself means “display” or “exhibit.” Therefore, only Creatives who have ample, quality samples of work (and the confidence to showcase their work) would feel confident enough to exhibit their portfolios openly to the creative world. Moreover, the positioning language of these Showcasers -- according to Behance -- tends to suffer from a superiority complex of sorts. For example, Creatives on the platform are described by Behance as “the greatest creative talent” (or “top talent”) with “the top portfolios” (Behance, n.d.). THE OF USERS Such elite-sounding marketing lingo is relevant if Behance seeks to attract and maintain elite-only Creatives in its community. But if the platform’s mission truly is “TO EMPOWER THE CREATIVE WORLD TO MAKE IDEAS HAPPEN (Behance, n.d.),” then Behance must recognize that the creative world also includes the non-elite, everyday designers as well.
  6. 6. 1.3 | EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 6 OUR We propose that Behance UX teams consider our recommendations to tailor platform-specific content and supporting features towards two brand new user personas that branch out from the existing, one-size-doesn’t-fit-all Creatives user group. Specifically, please reference the following for additional supporting documentation: ● SECTION 2: APPROACH | Involves the creation of subgroup breakouts ● SECTION 3: NEW PERSONAS | Introduced as extensions to main Creatives user group ● SECTION 4: STORYBOARDS | Serve as the experience blueprints of a user’s journey ● SECTION 5: EXPERIENCE MAP | Details how new personas find their way to Behance ● SECTION 6: DESIGN MOCKUPS | Cater to new personas’ needs and wants once on Behance THE While Behance’s value proposition is strengthened because of its backing by Adobe, new creative communities rising, it’s important for Behance to continuously differentiate its platform from its contenders. Additionally, the Behance mission is aspirational but not currently as aligned with the platform’s elitist state of affairs. Our new personas recommendations help to mitigate the practice of design elitism by repositioning the platform as one that openly welcomes Creatives from any level of experience.
  7. 7. 7 2. APPROACH
  8. 8. 2.1 | BEHANCE’S BROAD USER GROUPS 8 AT THIS TIME, Behance caters its platform to three broad user groups: THE Design-centric individuals seeking to showcase and distribute their best work. Primarily positioned by Behance as “top talent” with having the “best portfolios.” THE Behance considers “millions of visitors who come to discover top talent” as potential employers. Behance encourages this group to “discover” by way of filtered searches which allow for niched exploration of talent. THE Behance says it powers creative networks for top schools and organizations in the creative world, including AIGA, The Art Directors Club (ADC), AdWeek, LinkedIn, and many more.
  9. 9. 2.2 | PROPOSED APPROACH 9 We propose segmenting the primary group of Behance members, the Creatives, into three subgroups, two of which are new and whose personas are outlined in the following slides. This sub-group represents the Behance design elite. These are the “top talent” with “top portfolios” and are already established. THE (B1) The new emergent designer persona is hardly elite, but aspires to be dubbed “top designer” someday. For now, they are still growing, still learning, but are much farther along than their entry-level counterparts. (B2) Like the emergent designer persona, the diamonds in the rough personas are (very) far from being considered anything close to “top talent.” But they are talent just the same, even if their talent is raw and in need of refinement. Existing sub-group New sub-group (B) RISING(A) ESTABLISHED
  10. 10. 10 3. NEW PERSONAS
  11. 11. 3.1 | (B1) EMERGING DESIGNER 11 Yadir Santaliz Age: 46 Location:: Washington, DC Occupation: Marketing Consultant Archetype: The Contender Professional Situation While Yadir has many years of design expertise under her belt, she does not consider herself an elite or high end designer. She’s also never held an official design-related title such as “Art Director” and the like. Yet she has extensive and practical design skills and is actively working on building her portfolio. Currently, Yadir seeks to not only immerse further into the creative world but also pivot her freelancing towards design-centric projects. Needs & Wants As part of her career transition goals, Yadir seeks to join a creative community for networking, professional development, and design work exposure. Pain Points & Concerns Yadir has visited Behance and is considering joining. Despite her design background, Yadir recognizes she’s hardly a “top designer” and feels unsure to join what appears to be a creative community catering more towards premium design talent. To Yadir, Behance means: SHAREABLE PORTFOLIOS FOR CREATIVES BEHANCE SHOULD MEAN: A place where creatives connect, support & mentor each other.
  12. 12. 3.1 | (B2) DIAMOND-IN-THE-CREATIVE-ROUGH 12 James Cole Age: 27 Location:: Tampa, Florida Occupation: Aspiring UX Designer Archetype: The Enlightened Rebel Professional Situation James has been studying UX design and digital marketing for some time. He’s taken a few courses, completed a handful of tutorials, and obtained a professional certificate from an online, accredited university which was rather costly. Since then, he’s been busy applying for UX design entry level jobs but no bites as of yet. Still, landing a starting UX job is all he thinks about and wonders how to get hired for this line of work even though he doesn’t have much experience or tons of work samples to upload.. Needs & Wants James recognizes he needs a portfolio to attract and impress employers. He also wants to keep learning more about UX design while job hunting and building his portfolio. Pain Points & Concerns James learned of the Behance community while attempting to learn more about Adobe’s XD prototyping tool via a tutorial. Once on Behance, James instantly decided he was nowhere near ready to join because his impression was that Behance is mostly for highly experienced vs junior designers. To James, Behance means: ELITIST CREATIVES BEHANCE SHOULD MEAN: A creative community for all!
  13. 13. 13 4. STORYBOARDS
  15. 15. 4.2 | STORYBOARDED EXPERIENCE (continued) 15 This outbound email provides Adobe (Behance’s parent company) a fantastic, post-transactional opportunity to not only build rapport with an emergent persona AFTER he or she has signed up with Behance, but also to cross-pollinate onboarding messages with Adobe products. For example, training and tutorial emails from Behance can be organized by experience level, product categories (such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, etc.) and so on.
  16. 16. 4.3 | “LESSONS LEARNED” FROM STORYBOARDS 16 The experiences storyboarded in Slides 14-15 may showcase Yadir’s persona but the visual journey lends itself equally as well to James’s persona experience. For example, while James may learn of Behance in a different way than Yadir, and may feel intimidated (rather than curious) upon finding the platform, he may feel less discomfort if he saw that Behance had a dedicated section for beginners, or for “creative diamonds in the rough,” like him. Such designated profiles would display a small diamond icon next to a mini palette (instead of a rising sun) to indicate their raw talent and junior status. Storyboarding a persona’s experience reveals not just the situation the persona may face but also the persona’s emotional state during the experience. Storyboards also offer an opportunity to learn what motivates a user to progress in their journey as well as to discover what opportunities may exist to improve or enhance their experience (Solis, 2015). Additionally, storyboards pictorially communicate how motivation occurs when a need is aroused and as well as how the user attempts to satisfy those needs (Jansson-Boyd, 2012). By visually experiencing the logical progress and emotional impact Yadir and/or James have as they discover and consider interacting with the Behance platform, the Behance team can draw inspiration for ideas and further vet those considerations through additional testing of personas.
  17. 17. 17 5. EXPERIENCE MAP
  18. 18. 19 6. DESIGN MOCKUPS
  19. 19. 6.1 | BEHANCE HOME PAGE → BEFORE ALTERATIONS 20 The Behance home page does not actively speak to mid-level or junior designers.
  20. 20. 6.1 | BEHANCE HOME PAGE → AFTER ALTERATIONS 21 (1) Top navigation includes new “Emerge” content section, (2) prominent messaging now reinforces a more inclusive “from All Levels” positioning, (3) and filtered discovery text links under the featured image area include a new “Professional Level” sort capability, indicating various levels of creative work can be found.
  21. 21. 22 7. REFERENCES
  22. 22. 7 | REFERENCES 23 Apple App Store (n.d.) App store preview: Behance. Retrieved from Behance (n.d.) About Behance. Retrieved from Behance (n.d.) Behance Careers. Retrieved from Jansson-Boyd, C. (2012). Consumer psychology. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Open University Press. Mulder, S., & Yaar, Z. (2007). The user is always right: A practical guide to creating and using personas for the web. Berkeley, CA: New Riders. Solis, B. (2015). X: The experience when business meets design. Hoboken: Wiley. Hand-crafted, digital Illustrations by Ruiz McPherson Media, LLC.
  23. 23. 24 8. ABOUT THESE SLIDES
  24. 24. About this slidedeck These slides were assembled and written by Media Psychology graduate student Mayra Ruiz-McPherson. Background Mayra has 20+ years digital marketing, advertising, creative direction, and communications experience. As a Sr. Digital Strategist and marketing consultant. Mayra works with clients, brands, agencies, and organizations to transform their digital business initiatives. Academic Journey Mayra is concurrently pursuing an Illustration MFA through the Academy of Arts University as well as a second master’s degree in Media Psychology via Fielding Graduate University. Mayra Ruiz-McPherson Sr. Digital & Creative Strategist
  25. 25. Digital Transformation Search | Social | Mobile Transmedia Storytelling Pictorial Strategy Ideation & Theming Digital Illustration Visual Essays Interface Design Branding & Identity 703.798.2619 | @mayrarmcpherson &