Immersive True Crime Experience

Case Overview

The Concept

The project's primary goal was to craft an MVP prototype for a discussion forum centered around the True Crime genre.

The Challenge

The challenge was to provide users with a platform that felt both familiar and slightly novel as they engage the site.


I was tasked with generating feature concepts tailored to potential subscribers, aiming to create an appealing and engaging environment for them.


Conducted comprehensive competitive and target audience analyses to inform strategic decision-making.

UX Design

Created user flows and wireframes to optimize the website's structure and user experience.

UI Design

Created user flows and wireframes to optimize the website's structure and user experience.

Let’s get started

What is True Crime? Why do we need Robust?

Around 2020, I stumbled upon a random video on YouTube from a channel that was unknown to me at that time. The video documented the "work" of Bob, a man who awfully murdered several others in a horrifying way. I'm not easily scared, but let's say the experience was... unsettling.

Unsettling enough to lead me to delve deeper into the world of True Crime. This morbid curiosity is commonly shared among fans of this genre.

So, let’s define it:

“True crime is a genre that focuses on real criminal cases, often with a particular emphasis on the details of the crimes, the lives of the criminals, and the subsequent investigations.

True crime works aim to provide an accurate and often detailed account of these events, sometimes delving into the psychological aspects of both the perpetrators and the victims.”

Challenge and Solution

One Site for Thousands of Cases

As I delved deeper, I discovered the extensive array of online databases, content creators and sources available to gain better understanding of this grim yet absolutely real topic.

However, the number of dedicated platforms where True Crime enthusiasts can come together to explore, share, and interact with each other on a whole new level is lacking.

The work was at hand to fill this gap and create a community-driven website for this purpose. A platform where the users have all the necessary features to find new or old, unsolved cases.

A site where the enthusiasts are curate their own case colletions and able actively contribute to existing ones. Where they can discuss, share their knowlege and experiences.

Investigating the True Crime Community

Bunch of weirdos? Careful individuals?

I had to step back to see the full picture of the potential users for whom I am designing. At the end of the day, TCC, like any other online community, gathers around one specific topic, sharing knowledge and delving deeper into the details. But still...

The severity of this genre, which I worked on through Robust, on some parts may required a different approach in terms of user needs.

But before delving into the deep psychological background of why True Crime has gained such popularity in the last decade, let's first explore some of the key characteristics of our primary audience and overall situation around True Crime.

Gender Breakdown

Women are 2.5 times more likely than men to consume true crime content to prepare unsafe situations.

Rate of Interests

People searched “true crime” 738.510 times since January 2022; Atlanta, Cleveland, and Minneapolis had the most searches per 100.000 residents.

User Goals

TCC members aim to gather true crime informations, contribute their insights, explore a variety of cases, ensure a respectful and secure environment.

Form of Engagement

34% of Americans who listened to a podcast in the past year say they regularly listen to podcasts about true crime.

Motivational Factors

People are drawn to true crime content due to a combination of curiosity, a desire for justice, fascination with human behavior, and a sense of empowerment through knowledge.

Existing Community

The r/TrueCrime subreddit has a steadily growing community, with more than 2.6 million members.

Preliminary User Research

In the early project stages, I learned several things about the potential users from already conducted researches, although those informations were basic, surface data.

Sure, I managed to quickly get my hands on several studies, statistics and datas through searches but these results does not supported the genuine vision of Robust*.

At this juncture, I faced a decision: whether to delve deeper into extensive user research or to place a stronger emphasis on shaping the platform and its features.

The Purpose

From the project's start, the goal was clear. Robust was meant to be a community-driven platform for True Crime fans. While there was no need to reinvent the wheel, the aspiration was to make Robust unique in its own right.

My focus rested on crafting a space that fosters community engagement, facilitates content sharing, and encourages interaction among True Crime fans.

With this goal in mind, I shifted my approach to focus more on finding solutions that Robust could provide to the community, creating a valuable online hub for this genre.








Research, Reason, Decision

The Foundation of Robust

What should Robust offer to the TCC to achieve a successful starting phase and facilitate its evolution in the right direction?

Building on the Foundation

The following clarified insights were the cornerstones to follow and build upon a suitable platform for the community and for future enhancements.

Let me illustrate how these pillars collaboratively create a space that offers extensive opportunities for the TCC and for the growth of Robust.

Information Gathering

True Crime enthusiasts seek a platform where they can access in-depth, well-researched information about various criminal cases. They aim to stay informed about the latest developments, facts, and stories within the world of true crime.

Content Contribution

Many True Crime aficionados are not merely consumers of content; they also aspire to be contributors. They want a space where they can share their insights, research, and knowledge with the community, enhancing collective understanding.

Case Exploration

Users intend to explore a vast array of true crime cases. Whether famous or obscure, they aim to delve deep into the details, follow investigations, and analyze case facts.

Community Engagement

These users are motivated by a strong desire to connect with like-minded individuals who share their passion for the genre. They hope to engage in meaningful discussions, share their perspectives, and build a sense of community.

Design and Explanation


Immersive True Crime Experience

A community-driven website provides a centralized hub for the True Crime Community, grants fast access to contents in different categories with easy engagement and contribution solutions.

First, please review the Robust prototype by exploring the pages. Afterward, I'll explain what you see and the reasons behind them.

- clicking on the screen opens the Figma protoype -


Safety First

As a user visiting Robust, you will immediately encounter a warning notice.

This notice is here to ensure the user understands that the content on this site is intense and intended exclusively for adult audiences.

Creating this warning was a vital yet routine task, ensuring user protection and preventing unintended disturbance.


Quick and Convenient Access

After logging into Robust, users arrive at the main page, where their exploration begins, and most of the essential features are available to use.

The top section's carousel, labeled as 'Featured Cases’ showcases content that has received exceptional engagement within the last X time frame.

Content creation and searching have their own, dedicated button for quick and convenient access.

Users can easily switch between categories directly within the page, ensuring seamless transitions.

The initial list is limited to six items, preventing information overload and fostering the feeling of a thoughtfully curated collection of cases.


When a case is opened, users can immerse themselves in its details and engage in discussions with fellow readers.

The sidebar, which remains visible by default, offers multiple interactive features without disrupting the reading flow.

This means users don't need to scroll to the bottom of the page to interact with others, to contribute their informations to the story, or to save and share the case.

The "Like" button is intentionally labeled as "Appreciate" to maintain a respectful tone and prevent the use of inappropriate language, given the sensitive nature of the stories.


Searching for The Five

Finding cases with specific details can be a lengthy process. At Robust, this problem is simplified with the detailed case finder.

This feature allows users to efficiently narrow down their search by selecting specific categories, attributes, circumstances, and other fine points, reducing the time and effort required for this task.

Additionally, an informational sidebar has been created to provide instant definitions, preventing confusion and reinforcing the meaning of the selected options for users.


Creating Together

Sharing a case on Robust should be a straightforward process.

Crafting an article in this genre might be confusing for first-time writers in terms of where to begin, how to structure their narrative, and how to conclude it.

Providing structured sections for story development with helpful prompts can assist writers in creating and sharing their cases effectively.

Additionally, the side dropdowns offer hints for essential details, and these options are also integrated into the search and case-finding process based on the selected details


Additional Tools and Functions

Robust is the platform that cuts through the red tape, offering straightforward and efficient solutions for True Crime enthusiasts.

To achieve an immersive experience several other features nested in the sytem of Robust.

Members can explore the Wanted and Missing page, where various databases are monitored and synchronized to share information about criminals and missing individuals.


Knowlege and Information

Leveraging publicly available knowledge, a Definition and Legal Term page has been created to broaden the community's understanding and support content creators in the use of precise terms and descriptions.

Learning new definitions can strengthen users' feelings of preparation, which can be valuable not only on the platform but also in real-world scenarios.


Visual Approach

The Global Case Tracker* can be a powerful and engaging tool for users to search and visualize uploaded cases from around the world.

Beginning with a global map view, members can access overall statistics and then drill down to specific countries and towns.

As the number of uploaded cases continues to grow and the feature develops further, it will provide valuable support for content creators and analysts by offering quick and precise location-based search capabilities.

*at the time of writing the Global Case Tracker still in creation


Protect the Circle

The Discussion section on Robust offers more than just a basic chat.

It provides a platform where people can engage in discussions, share their thoughts and experiences related to the cases. Given the sensitive nature of these topics, some level of privacy and protection is essential.

By keeping this section hidden from random passersby, it's more likely that members will feel comfortable and secure when joining the conversation.

However, it was a challenging task to avoid building impenetrable walls; instead, I aimed to pique the curiosity of the user.

Fans of this genre are not too distant from those who enjoy mystery, so a potential solution came to mind: keeping the discussion visible, yet the messages remain encoded.


All in one Panel

To ensure convenient usage, the interaction side panel offers users a variety of functions without overwhelming them with a single exhaustive list.

Robust members can contribute additional information to cases, enhancing the accuracy of the case and reinforcing the sense of making valuable contributions.

Furthermore, saving cases to personal libraries and sharing them is easily accessible.


Bridging Language Gaps

While many publicly available true crime cases have occurred in the US and the UK, this phenomenon is closely linked to the well-known language barrier issue.

While Robust's main audience undoubtedly hails from these countries, considering the broader community, implementing such a feature could potentially increase the number of users and subscribers.

With this approach, users can create and read cases in their preferred language, eliminating the previously mentioned problem.


Connecting People

Before creating the user profile, my direction was clear: it had to be minimalistic yet informative.

With the profile page, users can effortlessly send messages and follow others. When visiting another user's profile, you're met with a snapshot of their activity, from their level of engagement to their latest shared cases, contributions, and comments.

Providing a swift overview of their engagement within the community.

Highlight members also have a publicly available badge on their profile page, symbolizing their dedication to the genre.


Results and Conclusion

The future of Robust

Robust is a website that must continually evolve to become a versatile tool for the community.

User testing will play a central role in making necessary changes and implementing new features, potentially prompting reconsideration of its appearance, functionality, and user experience.

Nevertheless, I think it’s safe to say that Robust stands on solid grounds to to embrace the challenge as a new central hub of information and social interaction for the True Crime Community.

Personal Takeaway

The journey of creating Robust has been a dynamic process filled with both moments of clarity and instances where question marks seemed to dominate.

Sticking to the originally defined goals and principles proved immense value. It allowed me to craft a website where traditional values seamlessly blended with innovative solutions, all while staying true to the core purpose.

One personal takeaway from this experience is the importance of simplicity. At times, I found myself overthinking and striving for complexity when simpler solutions often had a more significant impact.

The resolution of a True Crime story, where the perpetrator is caught and justice is served, can provide a sense of closure and justice that is often lacking in real life.