Sarah Walters | User Experience Designer
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Thirdspace Design

The Guild Hall is a collection of startups and brick-and-mortar businesses strung along the same block in downtown Savannah that function as a cool hangout spot for people with geeky and nerdy interests. Members paid a monthly fee, one of three tiers, to get access to different areas of the The Guild Hall, depending on where their interests fell. Video games, tabletop games, roleplaying games, DIY projects, programming, performing arts, and more—there was no limit! You could do it at The Guild Hall and be a part of the community.

Another way to describe the campus was “thirdspace”—a place that’s not home, not school or work—a third place where you could relax and practice some escapism.

Originally hired at The Guild Hall to work on app designs, I found myself working on all kinds of projects once I settled in and saw how quickly the “campus” was growing. Below, I show highlights of what I worked on during my time there.

 Right away, one of my first tasks was to re-design and create new websites for the campus—it was a huge mess with little thought for information architecture and way too much content that was outdated. The Chromatic Dragon restaurant was still in the planning phases, so I was able to create that website from from scratch, using a template for a speedy launch, writing website copy, and taking my own photos and videos.  At the time, the campus had 6 “guilds” that members could choose to identify themselves: gamers, makers, designers, coders, performers, and storytellers.  My first concept would be to take each of the guilds and create different landing pages under the main Guild Hall domain. Some of the landing pages would have overlapping content, like a map and link to the events calendar, while some would have unique content, such as a game directory for the gamers guild, and a work order and safety rules page for the makers guild.

Right away, one of my first tasks was to re-design and create new websites for the campus—it was a huge mess with little thought for information architecture and way too much content that was outdated. The Chromatic Dragon restaurant was still in the planning phases, so I was able to create that website from from scratch, using a template for a speedy launch, writing website copy, and taking my own photos and videos.

At the time, the campus had 6 “guilds” that members could choose to identify themselves: gamers, makers, designers, coders, performers, and storytellers.

My first concept would be to take each of the guilds and create different landing pages under the main Guild Hall domain. Some of the landing pages would have overlapping content, like a map and link to the events calendar, while some would have unique content, such as a game directory for the gamers guild, and a work order and safety rules page for the makers guild.

 I drafted wireframes for each of the pages of the Guild Hall domain, and included a custom Google Map of campus that I designed to look like an old treasure map.  Previously, there were numerous pages and it was easy to get lost—now the main landing page featured sections on the page answering a specific question, following the hero section highlighting awesome photos of people having fun.   What  What is The Guild Hall? At the time, if you asked anyone off the street to explain the campus…everyone had a different answer. Because of the overload of content on the old website, there was a confusing message being broadcast.   Who  Who is The Guild Hall for? This section explained each of the guilds.  For example:  Makers love to craft physical objects, building things with their hands .  DIY-ers who create by soldering, sawing, welding, laser-cutting, 3d printing, or even programming arduinos and robotics .  Makers are garage inventors, tinkerers, craftsmen, or artisans .   The Makers Guild at the Guild Hall is for anyone interested in maker culture and building things.   Anyone who wants to know how stuff works .  Anyone who enjoys taking stuff apart and putting it back together again .   Where  Hopefully we’ve hooked the user with the what and who sections—now we show them where we’re located and should start to persuade the user to coming out, or become a member.   The Guild Hall is more than just a single shop .  It's an entire creative campus .  We have several buildings, as well as outdoor spaces where members and guests get together to work, play, or just hang out .   When & Why  When can prospective members come by? When do the cool things happen? This section should highlight events happening by giving a calendar teaser, hopefully causing the user to act by clicking to learn more. There is also a grid featuring a live camera feed—to give the user a touch of FoMo—why they should be on campus right then.   How  The How section gives users the opportunity to convert into a member, by providing a handy chart of membership levels, a link to the signup form, and a link to an FAQ if they have more questions. There’s also a contact form at the very bottom of the page if they have specific questions.

I drafted wireframes for each of the pages of the Guild Hall domain, and included a custom Google Map of campus that I designed to look like an old treasure map.

Previously, there were numerous pages and it was easy to get lost—now the main landing page featured sections on the page answering a specific question, following the hero section highlighting awesome photos of people having fun.

What
What is The Guild Hall? At the time, if you asked anyone off the street to explain the campus…everyone had a different answer. Because of the overload of content on the old website, there was a confusing message being broadcast.

Who
Who is The Guild Hall for? This section explained each of the guilds.

For example: Makers love to craft physical objects, building things with their hands. DIY-ers who create by soldering, sawing, welding, laser-cutting, 3d printing, or even programming arduinos and robotics. Makers are garage inventors, tinkerers, craftsmen, or artisans.

The Makers Guild at the Guild Hall is for anyone interested in maker culture and building things. Anyone who wants to know how stuff works. Anyone who enjoys taking stuff apart and putting it back together again.

Where
Hopefully we’ve hooked the user with the what and who sections—now we show them where we’re located and should start to persuade the user to coming out, or become a member.

The Guild Hall is more than just a single shop. It's an entire creative campus. We have several buildings, as well as outdoor spaces where members and guests get together to work, play, or just hang out.

When & Why
When can prospective members come by? When do the cool things happen? This section should highlight events happening by giving a calendar teaser, hopefully causing the user to act by clicking to learn more. There is also a grid featuring a live camera feed—to give the user a touch of FoMo—why they should be on campus right then.

How
The How section gives users the opportunity to convert into a member, by providing a handy chart of membership levels, a link to the signup form, and a link to an FAQ if they have more questions. There’s also a contact form at the very bottom of the page if they have specific questions.

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 My office space fluctuated frequently, since there was always something new happening, everyday. It wasn’t uncommon to share my desk space with others, or to find a free table to set up my laptop to work—or sometimes even work from the bar next door, when our restaurant opened. Even though most of the time I worked on campus, everyone was spread out, and worked their own schedules. Most communication happened via Trello, Slack, and Dropbox. To keep myself organized, I also used whiteboards and sticky notes on the wall.

My office space fluctuated frequently, since there was always something new happening, everyday. It wasn’t uncommon to share my desk space with others, or to find a free table to set up my laptop to work—or sometimes even work from the bar next door, when our restaurant opened. Even though most of the time I worked on campus, everyone was spread out, and worked their own schedules. Most communication happened via Trello, Slack, and Dropbox. To keep myself organized, I also used whiteboards and sticky notes on the wall.

 In addition to designing the website for The Chromatic Dragon website, I also designed the first few iterations of the menus, and took photos for marketing purposes. I also had the opportunity to add my input on small details like the decor, drink menu, POS system, and geeky trivia nights.  Since the restaurant was a new type of experience for Savannahians—a bar where you could play video games—the customer experience had to be handled slightly different than a regular restaurant, where tables are turned over as quickly as possible. We had to encourage customers to play as much as they’d like and have fun, but also be conscious of new customers walking in. There’s also the endless struggle of being unable to eat a cheeseburger and hold a controller at the same time!

In addition to designing the website for The Chromatic Dragon website, I also designed the first few iterations of the menus, and took photos for marketing purposes. I also had the opportunity to add my input on small details like the decor, drink menu, POS system, and geeky trivia nights.

Since the restaurant was a new type of experience for Savannahians—a bar where you could play video games—the customer experience had to be handled slightly different than a regular restaurant, where tables are turned over as quickly as possible. We had to encourage customers to play as much as they’d like and have fun, but also be conscious of new customers walking in. There’s also the endless struggle of being unable to eat a cheeseburger and hold a controller at the same time!

 With the opening of The Chromatic Dragon came a slew of new business ideas. That Fall would be GuildCon, an event-packed weekend where the campus would stay open the entire time! And also the time where we would re-design and launch a new membership model.  Due to a lot of physical rearranging on campus, we would lose The Forge, home to the makers guild and where performances could be held, to an apartment complex. The co-working space where startups could rent office space under Forge(x) would be transformed into Miskatonic Labs—a new makerspace focusing on 3D printing and targeting digitally-inclined makers. The idea that memberships would depend on which guild you belonged to changed, and turned into how much or whether or not a member could access certain facilities. The game-ification stayed—each member could accrue “GP” or points to use for food and items at the store.

With the opening of The Chromatic Dragon came a slew of new business ideas. That Fall would be GuildCon, an event-packed weekend where the campus would stay open the entire time! And also the time where we would re-design and launch a new membership model.

Due to a lot of physical rearranging on campus, we would lose The Forge, home to the makers guild and where performances could be held, to an apartment complex. The co-working space where startups could rent office space under Forge(x) would be transformed into Miskatonic Labs—a new makerspace focusing on 3D printing and targeting digitally-inclined makers. The idea that memberships would depend on which guild you belonged to changed, and turned into how much or whether or not a member could access certain facilities. The game-ification stayed—each member could accrue “GP” or points to use for food and items at the store.

 Because the campus changed so quickly—my first redesign project was re-iterated upon multiple times until the idea morphed into a single landing page with slides for each of the businesses associated with The Guild Hall. It was tricky to create a cohesive look, since each business was branded differently, so I chose to go colorful and bright, with one spot color for each brand. Each section of the website had links to each individual company website and social media profiles.  Check out the final version below!

Because the campus changed so quickly—my first redesign project was re-iterated upon multiple times until the idea morphed into a single landing page with slides for each of the businesses associated with The Guild Hall. It was tricky to create a cohesive look, since each business was branded differently, so I chose to go colorful and bright, with one spot color for each brand. Each section of the website had links to each individual company website and social media profiles.

Check out the final version below!

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 While the above summarizes the highlights of my time at The Guild Hall, I also worked on several other projects. If you’d like to see more of my work, like any of the other web designs I mention above,  shoot me an email !

While the above summarizes the highlights of my time at The Guild Hall, I also worked on several other projects. If you’d like to see more of my work, like any of the other web designs I mention above, shoot me an email!