User Research

Research we did

The research we did focused on the target group "professional creatives". We asked them about knowing and if yes, using Creative Commons licensed material for their work. We especially focused on their problems regarding the use of CC-licenses. Having commercial licenses in mind, most of the interviewed people remarked the quality of the work covered by Creative Commons licenses. They expressed their doubts about using those for their clients.

Problems we identified

In comparison with stock-agencies for pictures or the Google picture-search people criticized the unclear and difficult research for such as commercial licenses. This research takes too much time for professionals, time they do not get payed for. The creatives recommended a faster, filter-based research.

We identified the following Motiavtions and Goals of users

Professionals would use CC-licensed material if it was easy and quick to find. They were eagerly interested in using those licenses especially for low-budget-projects.

We identified the following important acitvities

Professionals use stock-agencies or Google picture-search for their research, they rarely use sites like, where they could find some CC-licensed works.

Our Ideas

Online CC-Archive

What is the essence of this solution?

Short explanation

Our idea is to build an online archive of CC-licensed work, where the user can use filters like licenses, themes and colors to efficiently search for creations.

In Detail

The essence of our solution is to find an easier way for professional creatives to find material that is covered by CC-licenses. Our idea is to built an online archive with only CC-licensed stock. Furthermore, a specialized filter-function would provide an easier and faster search. We had research-filters like licenses, themes and colors in mind. An important new function should be a specialized tagging and labeling method for the CC-licenses material. It should be easy, clear and not attract too much attention when in use. Therefore we would like to find a way to hide the labeling of the work, for example by the use of a meta level.

Wireframe for possible cc-archive: File:WireframeCCArchive MyFile.pdf

  • Finding CC-Licenced content is a very important topic. As well it is a quite broad one – if you review your user research again, is there anything that helps you to focus the topic to a certain aspect of searching and finding that needs attention? (e.g. is the licence filter of e.g. Flickr's advanced search understandable for the users? What about saving files once they are found? You could as well compare "professional" image databases with their open "amateur" counterparts. What is different?)
  • What do you mean by tagging and labeling? Can you please provide some sketches, a scenario or the like to make it easier to grasp (and to save you the work to write a looong text about it)

Why are current solutions unable to support users in this?

Current solutions are unable to support professional creatives with their work because there is no quick and easy way to filter CC-licensed work. There is nothing such as a fast review.

Another Idea title

work in progress...

What is the essence of this solution?

Why are current solutions unable to support users in this?


How could be your solution(s) implemented?

Our solution could be implemented in form of a platform with specialized filter-functions, tagging and different folder menus where the users can find quick information about the specific licenses.

Mentor's comments

Larissa's comments (Mozilla)

User Research

  • I like the very clear, concrete focus on creative professionals who are or may be an audience for CC licenses.
  • I'd like to hear more about the user needs you found from the research. In particular, it sounds like you found an interesting insight where professionals doubted the quality of CC work. I'd like to know more about why they thought there was a quality issue compared to other stock art.
  • I'd like to know more about the other issues professionals had with stock art that they may be convinced to use more CC images in their work. You mentioned that they were thinking of using CC images for low-budget projects. Besides cost, are there any other needs that CC can develop products for?

Project Ideas

  • You have a well-described solution for making CC images easier to discover, thus reducing the time for professionals to find them. But based on your research, this seems like only one of the needs your creative professionals have. For example, how would you solve the "low quality" insight?
  • If you want to focus on the CC archive idea: Are there any unique needs around CC licenses compared to commercial art that you would need to account for in the design or features?
  • How would CC images get placed in the central repository?
  • If a CC archive did exist, how would you encourage professionals to make use of it, based on your research?

Zhenshuo Fang's comments (Mozilla)


  • I like that you focused on a very specific user type and a user scenario. I'd like to see more detail on your research process: who you talked to, what are some questions you asked, etc.
  • I'm curious to see more reasoning behind users' motivations, goals and activities. For example why users are only interested in using CC for low-budget projects? Why they prefer stock-agencies or google search vs. something like


  • The idea is quite interesting, and it can be more specific and practical.
  • For example you can explain in detail how this site can make the searching process "quick and easy"?
  • Also where do you get the creative materials? how would you promote and convince users to use this site? What are some other advantages/disadvantages of using this site?

Tony's Comments (Mozilla)


  • I like the idea to focus on creative professionals, this is an interesting audience.
  • how did you screen your research participants, what were the criteria used to define a "creative professional"?
  • was find-ability the only issue keeping creatives from using this material? What specifically made findability so difficult?


  • This is an interesting idea, but I'm having a hard time imagining how exactly this would work, is it a search engine like google, or an image service like Corbis, or something else?
  • how can this improve upon the kinds of CC searches that sites like Flickr have for these creative professionals?

Bram Pitoyo's comments (Mozilla)

Your research unearthed a conundrum. On one hand, most creative professionals like the idea of using CC. On the other, what seems to prevent CC from being adopted widely is the difficulty of finding high quality materials to work with. Whether the lack of quality is real or merely perception, this is a problem to solve.

Your solution was to build an online CC archive. How do you make sure that it’s a place professionals will love to use? How do you solve the ‘CC is low-quality’ mindset? How do you make sure that the quality of your archive stays high, but without stifling creator’s access?