CraftDB: Online portfolio sites for artisans, via Whatsapp

Product: Product Prototype
Role: User Research, UX

CraftDB is a simple way for artisans to develop online records of their work to share with future generations and current buyers.

The project began with several months of user research and needfinding. Traveling to remote villages, I learned that artisans found it important to document their work for archival purposes, but also for sales. Smartphones were common even in the most far-flung places, and artisans often communicated with their buyers via Whatsapp. Though most artisans had a desire to put their work online, they also had concerns about protecting their IP.

Working with Payam Azadi, a US-based software engineer, I designed and prototyped CraftDB, a tool allowing artisans to upload photos and descriptions of their work to their own online portfolio directly via Whatsapp. Each artisan's portfolio page is password protected. Before leaving India, I conducted training sessions in the community to user test the tool. After a warm reception, it is currently in development.

User research with local artisans:

So many people have photos of my products and they claim it is their own work…I had so many photos, but people took them away with them
— Ranabhai, Hodka village
With the help of the internet, the young people send photos across to clients and buyers
— Trilokbhai, village of Pragpar

Early prototypes:

We have taken photos and I have a small collection. I have told other artisans that we should carefully store our designs because twenty years from now, someone will find them useful.
— Vasantbhai, Hodka village


User testing with artisans: