Engage a community through storytelling

December 2017 • View Site

Bluprint (formerly Craftsy) is a platform to watch classes for a variety of crafts. Users can engage with the community while they watch and post pictures of the projects they are working on, from cooking to sewing to woodworking.


Our mission was to increase our daily active users by becoming the inspirational first stop where users could engage with content, find their next project, and connect with others along the way.

My role

I led the design of the experience and worked alongside our project team and mobile team. I also collaborated with the UX team on design system additions and changes.

Mocks of the activity feed and journeys


During the alpha phase of our subscription product, we set up third party forums for our test users to provide feedback.

What we discovered was that the forums themselves were serving many jobs from our users:

A whiteboard showing all the JTBD A look at all of the Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) from the forums.


With these jobs in mind, we created the goals of our project:

  • Give users a way to see what people are making, doing, watching, and asking.
  • Fuel inspiration constantly by always having fresh content to interact with.
  • Give users a feeling of community so that they want to give back to others as well as receive.

When users participate in supporting one another, learning from one another, and having fun together, a real connection is formed. And when that happens, they achieve a sense of belonging, which is the whole point. They're making an impact on other people in a positive way.

— Notes from Ligaya Tichy's Ted Talk: Rethinking Startup Communities

Whiteboard sessions

Ryan, our Product Manager, and I started as we usually do, on the whiteboard coming up with possible solutions. We claimed a wall space and iterated and brainstormed every afternoon. One of our favorite frameworks was the Opportunity Tree. It kind of forces you to think of as many different possibilities as you can all leading to the same outcome.


Once we had the idea for an activity feed + journeys, we pulled in our engineers to discuss the MVP and how to simplify it. It's important to pull them in early for many reasons, but especially to help you decide the quickest way to deliver the outcome you're after.

User stories & mindmapping

I like to spend some time really getting to know the ins-and-outs of the project, so I'll write user stories with my product person. I'll also use my mindmapping tool to lay out whatever is on my mind. Sometimes it's the flow for a user, or different options, or information really depends on the project. It helps me to understand the project more, because I feel like I've thought of all the user scenarios.


Wireframes & user testing

I built a quick prototype using Balsamiq and we started user testing. There were usability issues for sure, but we iterated and re-tested a few more times. Having a working prototype also gave us a chance to walk it around the building. So we showed it to stakeholders and they got really excited about where it could go.


Next, I put together the mocks, collaborating with the UX team on components in and soon to be in our design system.

After the design felt final, we ran another round of user testing to check that the designs translated through. The feedback was encouraging.

Some way too fancy wireframes I did after the project was complete, but hey they look nice.
Mocks of the activity feed and journeys


User flows

Another technique I like to use early on and especially later in the project are user flows. I use a variety of tools depending on the stage of the project. It helps me think through all the paths a user takes to navigate the project. It also helps communicate with the developers, otherwise they'll continue to ask, "Where does this go?"

Developer collaboration

I love seeing everything come to life in the development phase and also love getting into the code. I usually take care of the details that are nit-picky to developers but make the design shine.

One last thing I did was put together a quick onboarding demo for users to see when experiencing journeys for the first time. I tried a bunch of different tools that I hadn't learned yet (Origami, Framer, and InVision Studio, which had just been released) to try them out and get the interaction just right.

The mocks and user flow


After launch, sessions including Activity Feed went deeper and for longer than those without. And those who browsed the Activity Feed found content and watched it for longer periods of time.

I can speak personally to the passion and ability this team brings to the table every single day. Working with Ryan, Neil, and Katie at Craftsy/Bluprint during an extremely pivotal part of the company's history brought on continuous challenges and I was in a unique position to both observe and participate in the user-centered approach that this team used to help move our product and our team forward in meaningful ways.

Bret Hanna