Designing a Product From The Ground Up
Active Audience is a web app that matches brands with qualified brand ambassadors.
Designing a Product From the Ground Up
Product DesignER/ Founder
Active Audience is a web app that matches brands with qualified brand ambassadors. Partnering with genuinely passionate brand ambassadors can help brands tell authentic stories about their products.
Reduce the time spent finding and qualifying brand ambassadors.
In my process, I start with people and their needs.
For a more holistic understanding of the problem, and the wider challenges faced by both brands and brand ambassadors, I conducted individual interviews, and user research to drive the planning phase. This helped me to understand the user's mental model, the problem they're facing in their current journey, and the customer segments thoroughly and quickly.
Through careful analysis of my research and interviews, I identified that Mark’s needs are a common dominator among 80% of the 20 people I’ve interviewed, about their current process on how they partner with brand ambassadors.
Visualizing the End to End Journey
To better capture Mark’s end‐to‐end experience across various touch‐points when searching and partnering with ambassadors, I mapped Mark's current journey. This allowed me not only to structure and analyze all the data I gathered through interviews, but also to identify key gaps into his complex interactions that occur across his experience of discovering, and qualifying brand ambassadors.
Understanding the Job to be Done
Following the “jobs to be done” approach inspired by Clayton Christensen, helped me to quickly translate the needs into design jobs. I came up with a number of Job Stories to understand different situational contexts that users might need when using Active Audience, and understand their motivations to do so.
This approach enabled me to deconstruct the job that the user is trying to get done, and to systematically uncover, prioritize, and translate customer's needs into design jobs. Further, job stories helped us focus on the context, causality, and motivations of the users.
Setting the Design Direction
While narrowing down and prioritizing the needs, we discovered that the most important story to Mark is having one place where he can easily find all qualified ambassadors and contact them.
To plan an efficient system for how the prototype will work I used task flows. This was a very important step for me, since it helped me describe the entire scope of the system making sure that I keep the problem and the context of each feature in mind all the time. It also helps me stay on track and make sure that I don't spend my time designing features that are not focused to solve the problem.
The ultimate goal for the home page design was to provide more value for marketers by showcasing actionable information at-a-glance. Before sketching, I first formed several hypotheses to guide us towards creating informed user-centered solutions that address existing pain points in the app. Some of the hypothesis I had:
- The use and placement of a filter on the home page will allow marketers to quickly search through a curated list of brand ambassadors and find the best fit.
- Highlighting metrics about a brand ambassador will greatly reduce the cognitive load on marketers by eliminating their need to browse the names of the ambassadors on Google or on social channels to learn more about them.
- Displaying "other campaigns" an ambassador did in the past adds trust and helps marketers understand if an ambassador is qualified to work with them.
While wireframing I considered design patterns and heuristics, generating stacks of ideas about the arrangement of UI, interactive behaviours and functional elements. I pieced the designs together into a prototype using Sketch and InVision.
Testing the prototype was the most effective way to gain meaningful feedback from the users, and iterating towards a final solution that solves the problem.
To validate the design, and test how people respond to the experience, or if there is any confusion with regards to the flow, information architecture, or the user interface, I conducted usability tests with 10 marketers. My goal was to assess if the design had addressed the pain points that arose from initial UI testing.
Iterations and Improvements
After numerous iterations and testing with users I gathered all the pain points from prototype validation tests and synthesized them together.
- 9/10 considered filter placement on homepage extremely useful allowing them to quickly see the quality of ambassadors inside the platform.
- 8/10 considered metrics of engagement and reach on ambassador page as being very useful, especially when qualifying an ambassador
- 8/10 would like to see graphs showcasing the audience growth of the ambassador.
- 7/10 users wanted more clarity, and better understanding of the ambassador story and personality to better empathize and gain trust in them before contacting.
- 7/10 users weren't sure what type of campaigns they can to with an ambassador, and wanted more clarity in what each ambassador has to offer.
Prototype iteration after feedback
Reflecting back, there were tons of lessons I've learned while working on solving this problem, but I wanted to write down a few insights I've had while building Active Audience.
Start with the people and their problems, and then work backwards to the product. This was essential in my entire process since it helped me to stay focused on designing a product that solves a real problem people have.
Narrow the scope of your design iteration. A narrower scope helped me to closely validate each subsequent step of my design process to a shorter, and more specific checklist of needs.
- Be counter intuitive. Get an understanding of how the user thinks about the problem, and identifying if there is a mismatch between how you thought about solving the problem, and how they are thinking about the problem.
Updates to come soon.