Canting is a design exploration to create a batik-drawing application for tablets with stylus. It is not a common form factor that is explored when presenting UX/UI design.
Canting is awarded as the winner in 2020 International Design Challenge hosted by Binus University and sponsored by CHIuXiD.
An award-winning design exploration
Shout out to my friend that joined me in this competition, Laksamana Kusuma!
He is really hard-working and resourceful. Without his help, there’s no way our team won the 2020 International Design Challenge.
But sadly, not a lot of batik motifs are known. In fact,
9 out of 10
most popular batik motifs are from Java.2
We’re starting to search for ideas on how to make young people want to learn the traditional batik drawing process.
But, we need to remember that we can’t just create a product then try to match it to our user’s needs. It should be the other way around: user needs drives us to create a solution.
After some brainstorming and user interviews, turns out that most young people are interested in batik. They just don’t know where to learn and how to preserve batik as an important Indonesian culture.
After creating our persona, it is important to see the problems from their view. Here are several problems that we found:
First: What about finding the closest batik painting class? We searched around in Jakarta and only found 1 location: Textile Museum. We also found out the schedule of batik painting class doesn’t fit our persona’s busy and mobile lifestyle.
Second: Where could we find some batik inspiration? As far as we know, there’s no dedicated platform to share batik creations online.
Third: What about people’s appreciation to the art of batik drawing process? The rise of printed batik pattern makes batik affordable. But, commercialization of batik is a threat to the art of creating batik. People who bought those mass-produced batik may not know what those batik represent.
Lastly: What about government support? While there are some support of wearing batik4,5, but it is mostly formality. The government doesn’t have a solid program to educate people about the diversity and artistic values of batik.
With all the problems defined, it is time to create our solution.
And an idea came to mind: Why not combine the best of both worlds? Why don’t we make batik drawing process digital yet respects traditional processes?
We chose Canting as the name of our product. The name came from canting, which is an instrument used to transfer wax in batik drawing process.
It turns out that tablets with stylus can replicate fabric and canting intuitively. Plus, it is also one of the tools that our target users usually have.
We also want Canting to be the place to find inspiration to share batik creations online. Plus, we wanted to add some education about batik patterns and its meaning.
Being a digital product, Canting is far more flexible than traditional batik drawing process. It allows us to draw anytime and anywhere we want, share our creations to the world, easy layering and correct drawing mistakes.
We used 1920×1440px (4:3) Android device as the canvas for our prototype and uses Google’s Material Design for layouting.
For the logo font, we use Upakarti by Adien Gunarta.
For other elements, we use Roboto. It is chosen because it is the standard font in Android; we want our app to blend in and as non-distracting as possible.
Our main color is deep brown. It is inspired from the wax used when drawing batik. The rest of the application is pure white to help you focus on the canvas.
We mostly used Google’s Material Icons and some handmade ones. There are slightly rounded icons with some angular ones. We did that because some icons can be hard to see if it’s rounded. (For example, pencil and canting icon’s difference is subtle.)
We used Adobe Photoshop to create all user interfaces, Axure RP to create user interface flow, and Inkscape to create custom icons.
Due to limited time and COVID-19 pandemic, we only did basic usability testing and user testing to 1 person, Vivian.
Before testing it to our users, we did some user flow checking for all use cases. All of them can the most important use cases: create new drawing and explore batik inspirations.
She is very satisfied with Canting. This is what she said:
“I think this application is great…It’s also easy to use, you can even see a diverse unpopular Batik motifs. I think it is very important to have a platform for people to learn how to paint Batik, even if it’s not real like using canting and real fabric. You can see your drawings and discover others too.”
She suggests us to add tutorial videos on drawing batik and more detailed information about the selected batik patterns.
Canting is well-received and would want to see this application be made for real.
In conclusion, Canting helps:
Postscript: In Retrospective
This case study is one of the project that lit a spark for me to pursue UX further.
With such a limited time to conceive a solution that can be presented for the international competition, I learned how to brainstorm, ideate, and delegate tasks with my team.
Finding inspiration to preserve batik as a cultural heritage is not easy. It took a few trips to the Batik Museum and art galleries to find inspiration for creating Canting. I learned that sometimes, to think out of the box, you need to find the right environment and some downtime to get new perspectives of the problem.