An Introduction

Carbonmade is an online portfolio space. Artists, photographers, writers, architects or anyone who wants to showcase their work can do so with a Carbonmade theme. They have gorgeous themes and nearly a million portfolios. Currently their website is very difficult to use on a mobile device.

The Problem

The Carbonmade website is frustratingly difficult to use on mobile devices. Users are finding it challenging to navigate through the signup process which is causing a negative effect on user acquisition.

The Solution

Design responsive versions of the Carbonmade website. Allow users to perform the most important functions of the site on all mobile devices. In particular, focus on the functions of the site that encourage user acquisition.

The Scenario

Daphne lives in Brooklyn, NYC. She works part time in a gin bar but her passion is illustration.
Daphne really wants to get work as a freelance illustrator, but she need an online portfolio and some advice. The only time that Daphne has to research portfolio sites is on the train, coming home from a late shift at the bar.

Persona – Daphne Dangerfield

Character Designer – 27 years old

Daphne lives in Brooklyn, NYC. She works part time in a gin bar but her passion is illustration and character design. She studied visual arts for 3 years but is yet to work professionally, aside from a couple of small side projects.

Daphne is looking for freelance work, she is particularly interested in illustrating children’s picture books. She needs an online portfolio and doesn’t want to pay a developer to build one. She is happy to pay a reasonable monthly fee. Daphne does all of her internet research using her phone on the train.


  • Drinking gin.
  • Hiding away for an entire week and doing nothing else except for illustrating.
  • Reading anything she can get her hands on.
  • Going to art galleries and exhibitions around NYC.
  • Volunteering once a fortnight at a local elementary school as an art teacher.

Pain Points:

  • Wants to work as an illustrator, but can’t find any consistent work.
  • Her current ‘physical’ portfolio is great, but no-one stumbles across it, she doesn’t have an online presence.
  • Only has time to research on the train.

Competitive Analysis

This was a very simple competitive analysis, based on the user task of finding a template and signing up. Every major competitor has a responsive process – some have native apps, however, I was concentrating on the responsive nature of the competitors.

Current User Journey.

This customer journey is based on the persona ‘Daphne’ looking for online portfolio options on her phone. Number 8 is the critical point in the journey; on the current site, she leaves frustrated and finds another option in Squarespace.

Proposed User Journey

In the responsive version of the site; she finds a template that she likes, and registers with Carbonmade.


Sketching and Ideation

The ideation for this piece was based on simplifying the user task. It consisted mostly of sketching and slightly refining the user flows. Once I had sketches, and had tested the concept with several users, I moved on to a clickable prototype.

Clickable Prototype

I built the prototype in Axure and created two user flows. I was not trying to rebrand the current site, so I used colors and images from the current site.

Responsive Clickable Prototype

User Testing

The user testing was successful in that it eliminated the vast majority of the current issues from the Carbonmade site. There were some minor issues that needed to be fixed in the next iteration.

Example: arrow buttons too small for male users.


Short Term: Implement the responsive designs on the following pages:

Home Page – Select Theme Page – Sign Up Page

Long Term: Redesign the entire site from a ‘mobile first’ perspective. In particular the aspects of the site which contribute to user acquisition.