Project Info

Feature design
8 weeks


Learning to use digital art apps is not easy.

The sheer amounts of options and features makes them overwhelming to learn. The Procreate app is a wonderful example of a graphic design app that is designed to be intuitive enough.

However, it doesn't support learning beyond reading documentation, especially for the digital drawing layman.

People want to learn digital drawing via trial and error

Novice digital artists and hobbyists were interviewed to provide insight.
Insight # 1 :

People want to learn via trial and error
Users don’t want to read documentation in order to learn - what works best is trying it out themselves.
Insight # 2:

Signage is difficult
Signage isn’t intuitive for non-graphic artists - the systems and layouts have been developed off of existing graphic art platforms and hence is difficult for beginners to grasp off the bat.

The steep learning curve and the lack of centralized learning resources makes Procreate intimidating to learn.

How might we address this?
After brainstorming, three main solution spaces were considered:

1. Scaled Signage System

This will allow users to indicate their signage familiarity, and the signage will adjust accordingly. Labels and more in-depth descriptions will help users understand which symbols do what.

2. Social System

A feature to help users learn and get inspired from other users, using Pinterest and Deviantart as precedents. Co-learning via tool history paths and chatting will speed up learning.

3. Interactive Tutorial

Interactive, "coloring book" templates which will allow users to get familiar with workflows, gestures and tools so that Procreate will be learned in full, via "trial-and-error". Attached documentation.
I decided that the social system was not relevant to the learning problem I had identified, and would not necessarily lead to effective learning.

I pursued the Tutorial Templates and Signage System solutions - but my approach to designing these experiences would have to be solid, and address accessibility for novices and experts alike.

Designing for accessibility at all experience levels

The base idea was to accommodate learning through repetition and habit-building, through a repeated base flow of base prompt, tool prompt, and a use prompt. And throughout, the scaled signage system would facilitate this mode of learning.

The base idea for it is below, in GIF form (wait for it)
Explore the initial prototype user flow below:
User testing revealed that the prototype was missing in its approach to entry points and accessibility.

Users must be able to find information whenever, wherever they are in their use of Procreate. In lieu of this, the following changes were made:

Visual Design System

In order to create a new feature to the existing product, the visual design system was studied and reproduced.
After many redesigns, the latest onboarding process focuses on making the interactive tutorial accessible, and the learning experience facilitated through repetition.
Explore the latest prototype below:
Signage Difficulty Feature
Interactive Tutorial Walkthrough
Tutorial Entry Points