Gilded frames to wireframes: a conversation with Smartify UX designer Ting-Yu Chen.

Ting is a UX designer based in Amsterdam. Here, she talks to Smartify cofounder Anna Lowe about collaborative design and a love of Kpop.

Ting-Yu ChenGilded frames to wireframes: a conversation with Smartify UX designer Ting-Yu Chen.

AL: Ting, next time I promise we will do a text message interview.

TYC: Yeah it is pretty busy right now! But I’m excited about this interview. :)

AL: We launched a beta version of Smartify back in March this year. At that point it was only available at three museums but from the start there was a lot of excitement from the public wanting to use the app. Why do think there is interest?

TYC: There are many reasons. For those of us who enjoy museums and galleries, you start to realize that a lot of the interesting things you see and learn are easily forgotten after visiting. People want to remember their personal experiences and to share that with friends. Plus, having an audio guide hanging round your neck or following the highlights from a book does not really fit the new generation’s behaviour. They want to have those background stories about an artwork in a light-weight, instant, easy-accessible way. Smartify simply answers to those voices.

AL: So what other features are you working on?

TYC: We are constantly improving our service by making the platform a lot more stable and fixing bugs. We did not foresee 100,000 people would immediately download the app so that uncovered a few things! (Thank you!) The big news is the ‘Venues’ feature. It shows where the app can be used and some of the highlights from each collection. Next month we will be releasing another new feature which allows people to upload art onto the platform. Our team is always come up with lots of amazing ideas.


AL: Can you tell me a bit more about how you build and test the new features?

TYC: Yeah, Smartify started as a proof of concept project and it still has this free-minded blood, now in a bit more of a well-structured body. We work with partner art venues who share their expert knowledge and ideas — some of them like the Royal Academy of Arts have already carried out user-research on site. We also talk to outside groups — for example those who are experts in disability access to arts.

Each new idea then forms a free-minded sketch. It will go through the discovery, scoping and shaping stages. The final selected ideas will then be polished by the UX/UI design team and aligned consistently with the developers. The developed outcome then go through a QA test and/or user testing before launching.

AL: What is the space like where you work?

TYC: Apart from a lot of gadgets to play with and good times with very international colleagues, the most important thing for me is that we have two dogs hopping around the office. They always energize me.

AL: What are you listening to or watching at the moment?

TYC: Recently I am learning Korean so now mostly listen to Kpop. Some podcast about design and languages. I don’t really watch TV (not even Netflix!) But I do follow Benedict Cumberbatch’s movies.

AL: And finally, favourite museum?

TYC: There are many. I like mechanical systems so I am fan of Deutsches Museum in Munich. Also I recently visited the newly renovated Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I absolutely love their interpretation between the old and new.

AL: Cheers Ting.

TYC: Thank You!

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