Shoot for the Moon, Markedshot

UXDI Client Project

Markedshot started as a digital platform for businesses and brands to crowdsource photos through “Photo Challenges.” There is also a “Marketplace” feature for micro stock images, where photographers from all around the world can put their photographs up for sale.

A chicken and egg situation

When our team first came on board, the founders of Markedshot were at a crossroads: Should they continue to woo business clients for Photo Challenges, or should they allocate their resources to attract photo contributors and increase their user base?

Business clients would bring in quick revenue, but without a large and active user base, it is difficult to convince businesses that Markedshot's Photo Challenges would be able to help them reach out to potential leads.

Our Process

"Double Diamond" strategy

We divided the 3-week long project into two phases — Research and Ideation.

In the Research phase, we would conduct user interviews and marketplace research in order to define the key problems.

During Ideation, an iterative process of prototyping and usability testing would lead to our proposed design solution and recommendations.

Research Phase

What do Users want?

We started by asking ourselves which group of users should we focus on — the business clients or the photo contributors?

We spoke with a previous UX team who had worked on the project. They had conducted extensive interviews with businesses and unearthed the following insights:

  • When conducting photo challenges, businesses are not as interested in the quality of photos, as they are in getting brand engagement and potential lead generation.
  • Businesses who had conducted Markedshot photo challenges were disappointed that they were not able to leverage the platform and continue to engage participants even after a challenge had ended.
  • Businesses find the Markedshot tools (e.g. automated filtering) for managing photo challenges unnecessary, and are happy to continue using platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

The needs of business clients are clear, but those of the photo contributors/ participants of photo challenges still remained a mystery. Hence, we set forth to find out more about the latter group of users.

The Bowling Pin Strategy

"…find a niche where the chicken-and-egg problem is more easily overcome and then find ways to hop from that niche to other niches and eventually to the broader market." — cdixon blog

Taking inspiration from Facebook's strategy of conquering Harvard before spreading out to other colleges, we decided to zero in on a one of Markedshot’s core, high-growth markets — the 18–25 year olds in Singapore who are avid shoppers or diners.

We recruited a total of 9 interviewees, including one current Markedshot photo contributor. They were selected based on age, inclination towards sharing of photos, and experience with rewards and giveaways.

The interviews centred on a few broad topics, namely Brands, Money, Contests, and Social habits.

We were particularly keen to find out how and why users engage with retail and F&B brands, participate in contests, and share information on social media platforms.

Topic map
Affinity Mapping on Realtime Board
Key findings from user interviews

Jobs To Be Done

After distilling all the data we collected from the interviews down to their essences, we formulated "job stories" based on the Jobs To Be Done framework (read more about this in "Replacing The User Story With The Job Story" by Alan Clement).


We came up with a "job persona", Jamie, who has the following jobs to accomplish:

  • When doing something, I want to do it quickly and easily so I don’t waste my time and effort
  • When participating in an activity, I want to be well-rewarded so I don’t waste my time and effort
  • When discovering new shops and restaurants, I want to get recommendations I trust so I can spend my time and money wisely
  • When shopping, I want to get discounts so I can save money
  • When dining with friends and family, I want to enjoy our time together so I can maintain good relationships with them
  • When completing a task, I don’t want to trouble my friends and family so I can maintain good relationships with them
Job persona and the forces at play in the job stories

With the jobs to be done clearly in mind, we then created a Customer Journey Map to convey an overall picture of how these jobs came together:

Customer Journey Map (image courtesy of team member Nabihah Kassim)

Having defined the problems to be solved (or the jobs to get done), we looked at our findings from the marketplace research which had been done concurrently, to see how Markedshot could possibly pivot their business.

Heading for the Blue Ocean

Markedshot currently straddles the intersection between “Photo marketplace” and “Rewards” (image courtesy of team member Cher Han)

A competitive analysis of businesses that offer similar products, i.e. Photo marketplaces and Rewards, revealed that both these market spaces are “red oceans”, where competition is fierce and growth is limited.

However, in the Rewards sphere there is a relatively untapped market with few Singapore-based competitors —rewards based on tasks-based challenges.

How can we connect consumers and businesses and make both happy through challenges?

With the above question in mind, we began forming ideas on how we could help users to discover, connect with and shop their favourite brands through fun and rewarding challenges.

Ideation Phase

Goals Prioritisation

The ideation phase began with prioritising the goals of both Markedshot and Jamie by mapping them on a Business Impact x User Need matrix. This helped us focus on the goals which would bring the most benefits to both the business and the user:

Business goals

  • Establish partnerships with businesses
  • Retain users and build a community of active, frequent users

User goals

  • Shop and dine with ease and convenience
  • Socialise and connect with family and friends
  • Win attractive rewards
Goals falling within the purple (top-right) quadrant have the most impact for both Markedshot and Jamie

Solutions in the form of Features

Potential features that would help achieve the goals of business and user

Of the features that my team and I came up with, we decide to incorporate these into our MVP:

  • Sharing of contests with others
  • Location-based contests
  • Tasks that can be completed within 15 minutes
  • Tasks requiring minimal skills
  • Instant rewards
Story board courtesy of team member Nabihah Kassim

Prototyping & Usability Testing

With each iteration of the prototype, we conducted usability testing with 3–4 users. Here is a summary of the improvements we made based on our findings:

1) Improving learnability

“I feel very lost when looking at the Map, and I don’t know what to do.”
  • Screen tips are needed for first-time users to understand what the icons on the map represent, and how they can interact with the map.
  • Navigation tabs have to be more distinctive, so that users would notice there is a "List" view for challenges.

2) Allowing flexibility

“I do not know how to save a Challenge.”
  • A bookmarking function has been added to enable users to easily save challenges that they can return to later.

3) Reducing anxiety

“If I accept a challenge and but did not complete it, would I be penalised?”
  • By taking the "Accept Challenge" step away, users can now participate in challenges as and when they are ready to, without having to commit to any challenges in advance.
  • To reduce confusion, deadline for challenges has been changed from "time due from the moment user accepts challenge", to a hard deadline for all submissions.
  • To reduce anxiety, the "Active" tab has been changed to a "Current" tab to make it clear that users do not necessarily have to complete bookmarked challenges.

4) Providing (near-)instant gratification

“I have to wait 15 minutes!
What if I want to redeem my reward now?”
  • Review of a submitted image could be completed within a split second with powerful technology, such as geolocation tracking and computer vision.
  • Adding a "see reward" link to the notification message creates a seamless redemption process.
  • Copywriting has also been refined to convey a fun and happy vibe.

5) Streamlining user flow

“I do not understand what the Redeem button is for.
Is this an E-voucher?”
  • Tabs under Rewards page have been simplified from four different tabs indicating types of rewards, to "Current" and "Past", which are consistent with the tabs under My Challenges.
  • The "Redeem" button has been removed to eliminate confusion — upon tapping on any reward, user will be able to view an electronic document (e.g. voucher with a bar code), with which they can use to redeem their rewards when they are at the participating merchant's store.

The latest version of our interactive prototype can be viewed at .

Next Steps

Features that we would like to explore in the next version include:

  • Notifications based on GPS location
  • Curated collections of challenges, based on user preferences
  • Gamification in the form of tiered challenges, bonuses for active participation, and incentives for sharing
  • Group challenges

What's next for Markedshot?

A simple roadmap for future success might look like this:

  1. Achieving a large and active user base in a niche segment, while incentivising brands and businesses to come on board
  2. Monetising through business subscriptions, promoted challenges, etc
  3. Expanding to other niches, and to regional and global markets.

However, with their current 10,000-strong user base, Markedshot has to move deftly, making incremental changes to their business model.

We hope they would gain traction from more visionary investors like the ones who had advised them to focus on user growth rather than revenue, following in the steps of mega successful businesses like Snapchat.

Shoot for the moon, Markedshot.

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