NICK ALECK

SENIOR USER EXPERIENCE DESIGNER | PHOTOGRAPHER

Over ten years of experience designing usability solutions for brands like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Groupon, Allstate, DePaul University, Sony,  Vitamin Water, Atlantic Records and Northwestern University

Master of Science degree from DePaul University's Human-Computer Interaction program

 


Makeshift Prodigy Street Team Social Network

Makeshift Prodigy is a Chicago based alternative rock band that has a respected history of selling out the House of Blues, Metro and other iconic Chicago music venues. In 2011, they were signed to Atlantic Records and subsequently made their first appearance at Lollapalooza in 2012.

The band’s fan-base propelled their live performances to new heights thanks to the crowd’s overall enthusiasm and excitement. The band wanted to create a space online where their fans could have direct contact to the musicians, collaborate with other fans to create their own social media campaigns and offer a unique merchandise shop specific to this group.

The first thought was to create a space on Facebook or MySpace, but many of the fans didn’t use one or the other network. After doing research for different approaches, I came across a tool called Ning that allowed users to create a social network all of their own with complete creative freedom.

In order to introduce this idea to the band and their management, I needed to be able to conceptualize what this could be as a UI. In order to do this, I began working with the system to show how events like upcoming concerts, a music video premiere or a new item in the merchandise shop could be displayed. I actually created these as working click-through prototypes to take them through the actual experience tied to different user personas. Branding like logos, certain font usage, HTML and CSS stylesheets allowed the UI to represent exactly the aesthetic the band worked very hard to create. Having worked as the photographer for the band, I had a solid understanding of the image they strived for and was able to make it come to life in the social network.

The Makeshift Prodigy Street Team site, as it became known, housed hundreds of fans and allowed them to get first access to media created by members of the band, purchase merchandise unique to the street team community, follow the band’s official Twitter and Instagram accounts and be notified about special events. The fans were vocal about their appreciation for the site and how unique it was compared to other bands they followed. They wrote their appreciation in discussion boards on the site and mentioned it to those associated with the band’s team at concert events.