Photographers are an important part of the Victorian creative arts and small business community. They support themselves by providing services to individuals and families, such as wedding and portrait photography. However, they are time-poor and under-resourced, and lack the tools to run financially viable businesses.
Studio Ninja, a web and mobile app, was created by two Victorians to help photographers streamline their operations and improve cash flow.
As Studio Ninja is a startup with no external funding, Yump’s challenge was to devise a lean, iterative and design-led strategy to the development of new features, while working to a tiny budget.
Yump interviewed over 100 photographers and discovered that lack of time and poor cash flow are their biggest roadblocks.
Yump reviewed existing products and found them to be hard-to-use, expensive, and better suited to bigger businesses.
Yump worked closely with Studio Ninja’s founders to create rapid prototypes that could be easily tested with photographers.
Inexpensive research methods were used, such as recruiting volunteers via Facebook groups and conducting interviews remotely using online tools.
This resulted in an easy-to-use and affordable product that helps photographers save time and increase profits by automating tasks, streamlining client interactions and converting enquiries into sales.
Over the last year, the number of photographers subscribed to Studio Ninja has more than doubled as a result of improvements.
Their mobile app was launched in February 2018 to universal acclaim. It received extremely positive customer feedback and is rated 5-stars in the App Store.
Studio Ninja’s rapid growth has seen it become the leading photography business software in Australia, helping 1,740 photographers run their businesses.
$1 per subscription is donated to YGAP, a not-for-profit with an innovative approach to poverty alleviation, contributing a total of $15,134 over the last two years.
Yump applied a continuous, iterative and user-centred strategy to the development of new features for Studio Ninja. This includes reviewing industry-wide trends to identify new opportunities;
Collaborating with their customer support team to consolidate user complaints, feedback and suggestions related to a particular business problem;
Regularly interviewing photographers to uncover pain points;
Prioritising features that would deliver the highest impact and answer the most important needs for photographers;
Testing prototypes with photographers, and producing final designs based on feedback and co-design principles;
And adopting a lean UX approach that constantly produces new features in the least amount of time.
Yump’s design strategy for Studio Ninja has led to the creation of innovative features.
“Leads” is a feature which automatically triggers a series of pre-written replies upon receiving an enquiry via a photographer’s website. It helps photographers convert enquiries into sales quickly.
“Workflows” is a powerful to-do list that automatically sends contracts and questionnaires to clients on behalf of the photographer. It helps photographers do more in less time.
The “Client Portal” allows clients to accept quotes, sign contracts and pay invoices online. Clients are automatically reminded about overdue invoices, which helps photographers get paid on time and improve cash flow.
Other notable features include:
“Jobs”, an elegantly designed list of current jobs that alerts photographers to overdue tasks and any sessions that are accidentally scheduled at the same time;
Google Calendar integration so all sessions and appointments appear in a consolidated calendar, helping photographers stay organised;
Integrations with accounting software such as Xero and Quickbooks, so photographers can reconcile payments easily and track their annual income;
And the mobile app, with all of Studio Ninja’s features at their fingertips. Photographers can access critical information and send invoices while working outdoors, giving them the freedom to run their businesses from anywhere.