Increasing retention by redesigning content discovery and bookmarking platform
The goal of myWebRoom has always been to allow users to discover and curate content on the platform. As the product gets developed over the years, the approach changed according to market and user needs.
Although there were some active users on the site who appreciate the value they get from using the product, we wanted to expand our user base. User tests were conducted.
The general feedback received was that the site was overall not intuitive, some features were redundant and excessive, and visual design could use an overhaul. Most importantly that myWebRoom was trying to behave like a browser and what would the value be there if we could already use our own browsers?
Re-examining user needs
We wanted to target heavy internet users who get bombarded by information every time they go online and would like a way to save and manage content to access later. I started by conducting user surveys.
Then, I mapped user journeys with possible scenarios focusing on emotions through the flow of using the product in order to create the most delightful path for users to take.
Next, I started to find out what kinds of content and what specific features would be valuable to our users. I recruited users for testing by bringing them into our office.
mapping a User Flow
I begun to map out a typical user's journey in detail by meeting his basic expectations and adding value to him. I also listed out possible challenges in each step along the way. These challenges could be design issues, technical back-end issues or simply user hypotheses that we needed to validate.
By the end of the exercise, there were a million things we wanted to do and that we "thought" would be best for the user. It was time to trim the fat. Meetings were held with co-founders, the marketing team and the engineering team to plan out the product timeline and prioritize the base structure of the product.
WIREFRAMES - Low-fi deliverables
Tools: Keynote, Photoshop, Balsamiq, Invision
I started with quick wireframes using keynote. This process went on as I met with my co-founders regularly to iterate.
With every iteration, we tested internally with the team for feedback. We also went to cafes and asked strangers for feedback in exchange for a cup of coffee :)
Working with engineers
I worked on the documentation for the engineers to start working on developing the platform before I started to crack down on the visual layer. As both can proceed concurrently, we were able to save time.
Refining design - visual layer
Tools: Sketch, Invision
Once the user flow and features were locked down, I worked on the UI and the specifications to hand over to the engineers. With the visual layer, testing was done to make sure that things were holistic and intuitive.
challenges & LESSONS LEARNT
- One of the main challenges I faced was getting everyone comfortable with low-fi deliverables when I was presenting my designs to the team. I learnt that it helps to involve team members in the design process as early as possible to achieve a better understanding of details.
- Ironically, the next challenge I faced was the team asking me why they were involved in the design process when they are not designers. Well, we are all in it together.
- The engineers were always going to be my nemesis by telling me to forgo some of the stuff I wanted for something that is easier to build. Early communication of what can be managed by the team creates a better level of understanding and helps me know my limitations when designing.
- Still, there were times when we fall a little behind time and things were released without fine-tuning the UI. That caused some frustration but I've learnt to just pause and make a cup of tea.
- There are still areas where I would love to improve on but other business priorities triumph and these have to wait in the backlog. I make more tea.
myWebRoom was re-designed and released June 2015 and within 2 months, we saw 112% growth in active users. It is always important to keep in mind that this is an ongoing process and while these changes to myWebRoom’s platform bring it in line with the expectations of the people in the marketplace, the tool is by no means completed. We are excited to watch how users might interact with our product in the future, and continue to improve.
There were certain things that came to my attention after release.
- People weren't really saving content (quantitative feedback).
- Or navigating using left menu (qualitative feedback).
I decided to look into the designs for both these elements.
I gave it social proof and a more standard type button.
I added social proof and clearer visual representation for folders.