National YoungArts Foundation

A Digital Platform for Connecting Young Artists

User Research, UI/UX Design, Information Architecture, Full Stack Development, Technology Consulting
Hero

The National YoungArts Foundation identifies and nurtures the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts and assists them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development.

Established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison, YoungArts’ signature program is an application-based award for emerging artists ages 15–18 or in grades 10–12 from across the United States.

Their goal was to develop an Alumni Portal where graduates from the program could communicate with each other about events, collaborations, classes, and other opportunities.

Building a Private Alumni Network

With an alumni network spanning disciplines from writing to dance, the platform needed to be as inclusive and robust as it was expressive. With the primary goal of the platform being to help launch new artists’ careers, we collaborated with the YoungArts team to clearly define the functionality required to meet their needs, and develop a strategy for meeting their timeline. To that end, we split up the platform into four primary buckets: Opportunities for finding jobs and internships, Connect for finding alumni to reach out to, Learn for engaging with classes and other resources, and Events for finding galleries, concerts, and other artist’s gatherings.

Buckets

Home Base

When users sign in to the YoungArts Post platform, they are greeted with a curated Home Feed that surfaces content relevant to their interests. In this section of the portal, users can follow other alums on the platform, receiving content published by the people they follow. The Home Feed also surfaces events, classes, and opportunities related to a user’s interests, or happening close to them. With so many platforms competing for user attention, we made sure that with minimal effort, users could discover new content and make connections.

Home Single

Getting Specific

The four core categories of the YoungArts Post platform (Opportunities, Connect, Learn, and Events) need to have the ability to scale with large amounts of content. To make this happen, we created a robust filtering experience in which users have the ability to narrow down the content to exactly what they are searching for.

Filter Components

Content Creation

Because this platform consists primarily of user generated content, the content creation process needed careful attention. We created a custom content builder in which the user is able to add content blocks in a flexible manner to build out a variety of pages. For example, an alum can use the content builder to set up their profile page to their taste. They can add text blocks, image blocks, a project block, or other forms of media. In this way, the platform can work for artists of any discipline, but still remain simple because it doesn’t need separate profiles for every type of user.

Content Creation Mobile

On the Go

We always ensure that we’re designing and implementing experiences that work as well on mobile as they do on desktop. This project was no different, especially considering that a large majority of our user base is teens and young adults. Filtering and content creation are as robust on mobile as they are on the desktop counterpart.

Mobile 3 Screens