MOBILE WEB DESIGN
Providing a hyper-personalized experience for film enthusiasts through a website that recommends movies based on their astrological birth chart
Aug - Sept 2022 (4 weeks)
Josh Winters (Client)
Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Zoom, Google Forms, Whimsical
Josh Winters is a Bay Area musician and songwriter. He obviously cares about music but he also cares about film and astrology.
Josh believes that although the experience of watching a film can be a communal one, at the same time, it is a connection that a viewer is creating between themselves and the screen.
He's fascinated by the way people resonate so deeply with a piece of art, and how that generates a shift in themselves.
Josh Winters, Stelluloid Founder
There's not enough personalization when it comes to film and streaming suggestions
Sites like Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB recommend content predicated, for the most part, on the overall userbase’s engagement with it, leaving very little room for a truly personalized experience.
The same applies to streaming services. They take user watching, rating, and search history to curate options on what they could stream next. It's a move that creates surprise and disconcerting responses from viewers who feel those algorithms barely “get” them.
How might we?
...encourage film enthusiasts to embrace a sense of continuous discovery and exploration of their cinema experience?
A gateway to the best of both worlds
Stelluloid takes users' birth chart information into account to provide personalized film suggestions that would be akin to their character traits and stir hidden desires.
Josh Winters hopes the platform will let the user be more aligned with their inner knowing and gut intuition.
Check film compatibility
The algorithm matches users' birth chart information with an extensive database of movies and filmmakers.
A tailor made film guide
Users can enjoy a curated selection of films based on their character traits, and find the one that sparks their interest.
Browse through curated suggestions
Users will learn how astrology plays a part in the movies Stelluloid recommends to them, and enjoy all kinds of social features.
Film enthusiasts feel intrigued by a proposed new kind of experience
I developed an online survey, and the results from its 15 participants gave me great insight as far as how relatable their movie experience has been, their level of interest in astrology, and their first impressions of what this website is trying to achieve.
12 out of 15
participants say they're between moderately interested to highly interested in astrology
believe astrology is a helpful tool and conversation starter about our relationship with the world
10 out of 15
think the proposition of using astrological data to generate film recommendations is intriguing
12 out of 15
Furthering this knowledge, I conducted remote user interviews with six participants between 23-31 years old who consider themselves to be film and/or astrology enthusiasts, and frequent users of film recommendation platforms and streaming services to understand how they resonate with movies and filmmakers, as well as their gains and pains.
I get film recommendations through friends and what’s been shown at my local theatre, social media and streaming platforms
I always watched old movies as a kid, as a way to engage with narratives, and find ways to look at the world
The recommendations the platforms give me are very obvious or they are things I’ve already seen
Few steps towards discovery
Because it’s a novel concept, and a new website launched to an unsuspected public, I felt it was important to draw attention to how the platform would gather astrological birth charts in order to provide these personalized film recommendations.
I kept in mind all of my interviewees’ frustrations that disrupt their online user experience (lag in responses, UI inconsistency, lack of variety in suggestions or too many options, etc.) to envision a comprehensive yet simplified and easy-to-follow navigation process.
Success with this design is measured by the percentage of users who open up an account after utilizing the onboarding steps to submit their birth chart data.
BRANDING & UI
People of the moon
Josh named his website "Stelluloid," interpreted as the marriage between what the stars can say about us (“Stellar”) and the fascinating world of motion pictures (“Celluloid”).
We discussed more than three dozen keywords and adjectives that would best describe Stelluloid, from “portal,” “cosmic,” and “inspiring” to “pleasurable,” “inclusive” and “expansive.”
I sketched some rough logos that fit those descriptions, and that road led me to create a logo mark replacing elements of the movie reel with the different moon phases, which have a relation to astrological shifts.
From our initial conversations, we were set on a purple base color that evoked feelings of creativity, mysticism, enlightenment, inspiration, and spiritualism associated with Stelluloid.
More visual and zodiac-related components were needed
Four participants between 24-31 years old were given the tasks of examining Stelluloid’s homepage, sharing first impressions, interacting with the birth chart submission feature, browsing through a suggested list of content, and saving one of the films into their “watchlist.”
Although users appreciated the intuitiveness, their comfort level in submitting birth chart data, and exciting features like "Where to Watch" and "Shuffle Recommendations," I identified points of improvement based on their comments.
Users noted potential obstacles with being asked to state an exact time of birth during their onboarding process.
We want to give them the opportunity to still continue to have a personalized experience with an "I Don't Know" checkmark option which will set 12 PM as a default time, according to the client's specifications.
There were questions about the lack of visual components when onboarding, a pattern that recalls their way of consuming content through streaming platforms.
Film theme selection was changed from buttons to image cards, each representing a specific genre or theme.
Users also felt the zodiac element is not intrinsically clear in the suggested movies and filmmakers, and that there wasn't enough variety in film categories.
Not only were more categories added but there is extended information regarding a user sign's compatibility with Earth signs, and a feature to follow users that share their film taste.
Never let my bias get in the way of inclusion: one of my original thoughts for my online survey was to avoid the opinion of people who didn’t strictly consider themselves to be “film enthusiasts.” I realized early that preventing diverse and potentially helpful commentary on the gains and pain points users have regarding film recommendations was a problem.
It does take two to make a thing go right: There were challenges in trying to properly explain certain design choices to my friend/client Josh. I understand he comes to this process with lots of ideas, and I knew all of these ideas needed to be condensed and always abide by what our users would want.
More often than not, he and I were able to find common ground on what we both wanted for the Stelluloid website with open communication at the forefront.