The Shoot

Over the course of two years, my partner and I built an open marketplace called The Shoot. Our aim was to help people find and book local photographers in London.

The challenge

Fresh from a round of pre-seed funding, Talobee were keen to start building their marketplace idea. They'd chosen a low code solution called Sharetibe Flex as their underlying technology and asked me to design their MVP.

My challenge was to take a bunch of high-level user stories and turn them into high fidelity design files that development agency, Journey Horizon could use to turn into a fully-functioning marketplace.

The team

  • Fiona MacDougall - Lead UX Designer, UK
  • Enbo Chen - CTO at Talobee, Finland
  • Mikko Hirvonen - COO at Talobee, Finland
  • Tri Nguyen - Developer at Journey Horizon, Vietnam
  • Tam Vu - Developer at Journey Horizon, Vietnam
  • Sandy Mai - Tester at Journey Horizon, Vietnam

The challenge

As Co-Founder and CPO of The Shoot, it was my job to design and continually optimise the user experience of our website. 

The team

Our founding story

My partner (Tristan) and I had the original idea when we were struggling to find a photographer for a charity event. Overwhelmed by the number of Google results in an incredibly fragmented market and not knowing who we could trust, we realised there could be a business opportunity.

Desk research

With this in mind, we searched for photographer booking marketplaces to see what else was out there and were upset by what we found. There are three ways these kinds of websites make money:

Finally, the closed marketplaces we found paid all their photographers a set price regardless of their skills, experience and shoot style. We didn’t think this was fair.

User research interviews

Next, we wanted to speak to freelance photographers and people who had previously hired a photographer. These discussions proved to be incredibly insightful.

Freelance photographers:

  • Struggle to reach new customers
  • Waste too much time and money on marketing efforts that haven’t paid off
  • Have had several bad experiences where new customers have not paid their final invoice

Customers:

  • Struggle to reach new customers
  • Waste too much time and money on marketing efforts that haven’t paid off
  • Have had several bad experiences where new customers have not paid their final invoice
Customer, Marisa, feeling overwhelmed when searching for a photographer

Prototype

Armed with this information, we set off to build a basic website which could try to address these problems. We started off with a Shopify template as it was quick and very inexpensive to set up. Within a weekend we were live! We generated 10 successful bookings and although we received great feedback from customers and photographers, we realised it was not a scalable solution as it required a HUGE amount of manual work for Tristan and I. We, therefore, looked for an alternative solution.

MVP

As a champion of low and no-code solutions, I wanted to find a services marketplace template website builder. After a bit of googling, I stumbled across a company called Sharetribe. We were initially interested in their “Go” product however, we felt the template was somewhat lacking in the functionality we required. We therefore decided to go with their more technical “Flex” product. It required a lot of dev work to customise it, but with my (very limited) knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript I was able to make significant headway. Once I reached my limits, we contracted a small team of developers in Vietnam to finish off the more complex features, and went live with our MVP on 24th June 2019! 

The Shoot homepage page

Optimisations

I love to combine quantitative data with qualitative insights. So my next job was to set up the analytics. We use a mix of Segment, Google Analytics and Full Story to better understand how our customers interact with our website. The data identified points where customers were getting stuck in their journey or dropping off the website completely. Along with feedback from users, I was able to identify which areas we needed to improve. 

Key optimisations

A range of wireframes I designed for The Shoot

All good things come to an end

Unfortunately, the outbreak of COVID-19 hit us hard. Whilst this was only a side-project for us, we were unable to dedicate the resources the business needed to keep it going and so we made the hard decision to close The Shoot in November 2020. However, it's not all sad. We look back at the time we spent on The Shoot very fondly and we're  proud of how far we managed to take our side-hustle. The experience of being a first-time founder has taught me so much and I am already applying the learnings I gained to my new work projects.

I provide UX/UI services for Sharetribe Flex clients, helping them to turn their business idea in to a fully-fledged marketplace.

Time

📅   2 years
🕐   Countless evenings and weekends

It's important to note that the initial build of the MVP took three weeks (roughly 30 hours) to design.

Tools used

  • Sketch
  • Zeplin
  • Trello
  • Zoom
  • Slack
Sharetribe Logo

Let's work together

If you're interested in working with me on your Sharetribe Flex marketplace, book an intro call with me now!

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latest work

Case studies

Talobee wireframes - case study cover

sharetribe flex

Talobee

Remote UX, UI and branding project for a Finnish marketplace using Sharetribe Flex.

Read case study
Talobee wireframes - case study cover

custom project

Fy!

User research project for a European venture-backed marketplace to better understand their conversion rates.

Read case study

testimonials

Some nice words from people I've worked with

Profile picture of Matthew Ryan smiling

My team love working on projects that Fiona is involved in as she has an excellent understanding of Flex and knows how to deliver clear requirements. She has made our development work much easier. Fiona is also great at helping the business owner turn their idea into a working marketplace. In short she is the true definition of a user experience designer.

Matthew Ryan

Co-Founder and CEO at Journey Horizon

Profile photo of Enbo Chen

Fiona has been key to designing and building the Talobee marketplace. We've challenged her with some complex requirements and the results are always excellent. She is very quick to turn the designs around and has a great eye for detail. Fiona also demonstrates a respect for UX and customer centred design. She is always passionate to solve the problem and be open-minded for changes and feedback. Fiona not only focuses on solving problems but also likes to discover the root reason behind to make the right design decision.

Enbo Chen

Co-Founder and CTO at Talobee

Profile photo of Rich Serunjogi

Fiona helped my team and I to develop the initial wireframes for Business Score. She ran user research sessions to better understand user behaviours, motivations and frustrations with current market solutions. Fiona also facilitated design workshops to help us synthesise the research and provide clarity on what we needed for the MVP.

Rich Serunjogi

Founder and CEO at Business Score