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Airbrush Usability Test


What is Airbrush

Airbrush is a fast and powerful photo editing app. It specializes in natural-style face retouching and enhancing, enables users to produce artworks like a pro, and helps users share selfies on social media. The main functions of the app is taking, editing and sharing photos. It has xx million users across the world.

The Project

In an UX bootcamp, I got the chance to work with an Airbrush product manager to improve its usability.

I teamed up with 3 UX researchers/designers. We started with usability testing of the current version of the app. Based on our research findings, we proposed several solutions and validated them with further usability tests. As a small team, each member participated in every part of the project. I personally iterated our team proposal after the bootcamp.

Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with Airbrush in any capacity. This is only an exercise project.

Screenshots of the app to be tested





Save & Share

Usability Testing


After getting a long list of objectives from our client, we analyzed their real needs and summarized 3 main objectives of this research:

  • Collect general feedback about the app 

  • Identify usability issues (inconsistency, unclear message, failure to perform task) 

  • Extract product insights (validating user needs and desires)


To test the app’s user experience, we surveyed 7 people in a Shopping Center in Palo Alto. The participants are chosen based on the app’s target audience: young people who follow trends and enjoy recording life.

Age: 15-35 years old

Gender: 80/20

Ethnicity: Mix

Experience: First time user

Participants Copy.png


Each participant was asked to perform a few predefined tasks in the iOS app as we recorded his/her actions and took notes. And then a short interview was conducted.

Methodology Copy.png

The main tasks and questions included:

  • Open the camera and take a selfie with any filter you like.

  • Make some changes like crop the image and apply a makeup style of the selfie you just took.

  • Save the selfie and share it on social media.

  • Open a photo in the camera roll, then whiten the teeth and apply a makeup style.

  • What do you think the buttons on the tab bar mean?

  • What’s your favorite part of this app?

  • How would you compare our app to your favorite app?


Affinity Diagram

After reviewing all the videos and notes of the testing sessions, we grouped similar observations together to help us get an overall picture of the problem.

06_image_affinity diagram.jpg

Identifying the Problem

Based on the affinity diagram, the following issues that stood out the most:

  • 3/7 were not sure where the photo was after taken.

“Where to find the picture I just took? Is it saved or not?”

  • 3/7 were not able to make edits after a photo was taken.

“Is filter the only thing I can do with this app?”

“I don’t know there are ‘beautify’ and ‘makeup’ functions.”

  • 2/7 were annoyed that they have to save the photo before making further edits besides applying a filter.

“Once I took a photo, I wish I could edit it right away. It’s annoying that I have to go to the library and find the photo.”

“Can I easily access the photo I just took?

  • 2/7 were hesitant to click the “upload” button.

“Will my photo be directly sent out?"

  • 4/7 had difficulty in finding the “crop” function.

“Will my photo be directly sent out?"

Further advices for a friendlier experience:

  • Adding group editing and sharing features.

  • Icon buttons: Refine the icons, i.e. front/rear camera, filter shuffle, and stretch, etc. 

  • Feature description: Improve the readability of each feature in addition to the icon.

  • Tutorials: One-click skip/resume tutorials/demos when needed ...

Overall Themes and Opportunities

#1 Improve the transparency of saving a photo.

#2 Increase the exposure of key features.

#3 Provide easy access to the photo album within the flow.

#3 Provide easy transition between taking a new photo and editing a photo from album.

#4 Enhance the progress to encourage photo sharing.

#5 Refine icons and explore ways to reduce ambiguity.

#6 Explore the necessity and possibility to incorporate the group editing feature.



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