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💁 A little background story
Few years ago I was working in a SaaS product company which were into creating products to help businesses with their sourcing, spend and contract management among in the P2P (Procure to Pay) cycle. I was leading the UX team who was put in charge to revamp their entire suite of products as per the latest design paradigms to improve user experience, reduce usability tickets and increase consistency in the product.
When working with different stakeholders (Designers, Product Managers, Engineering and some C level execs as everyone was looking forward to the new designs), it soon became a nightmare when it came to decision making related to subjective aspects of design. There were several hypothesis that came around the approach and it was tough to decide which one should we go for. So instead of using my gut feeling (doing which can be the right thing), I decided to take a data driven approach to this. I went out and searched for tools that can help me to quantify designs so that I can take an informed data driven design decision.
‘In God we trust, for everything else we have Data’
All designers would have certainly faced this problem of taking design decisions. Design is something wherein everyone has an opinion and just the opinion of someone with a higher designation than the designer can dictate the design direction of the product in some organizations.
After exploring several available tools for user testing, I felt that there is a need for a tool that can help designers make quick design decisions using data. And I chose ‘Data’ as I had found out in my initial research with the stakeholders that it’s much easier to turn tables around and convince any C level executive about a certain design approach when a designer speaks to them in their own language which is ‘Numbers’ (or data). And no wonders, it had worked out every time for me in the past when I was prepared with the metrics my design would change during any design pitch.
💻 A bit of Research in the subject matter
Now, before jumping into the water I wanted to measure the depth of the water. I started talking to different individuals in my network which includes CTOs, CFOs, Designers, PMs, Engineers etc to get an idea of what they think about how design decisions can be taken at scale and pace with the highest confidence level. There were 2 approaches that came out:
Identified Opportunity Areas
- Low cost usability testing tool
- A combination of quantitative and qualitative testing
- Contextual to Indian market?
- One stop solution for design research
- Integrations with project management tools like JIRA, Asana, Trello etc
- Integrations with design tools like Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD, Invision etc
- Comparison of product UX with that of industry standards or with competitive industry/brand.
Competitive WoW Analysis
Looking at the WoW analysis, one thing that became clear is that there is a clear need gap as per the opportunity areas identified and there can be a possibility of capturing the market, live the passion and become rich 😉
👬 User Persona
Since this is a product I was conceptualising for designers, and me being a designer myself it was easier to understand things from a user’s point of view. Here I was trying create a business by solving my own problem 😊
But there were other stakeholders as well – PMs, Engineers, and Executives. Here is what their contextual personas were:
🎯 Product Specifications for MVP
With a lot of features in mind I started jotting down the features to build. I used the below prioritisation matrix to understand what were the first set of features to be built in the minimum viable product.
🎢 Information Architecture
Once I decided a set of features for the MVP, it was now important to create an information architecture of the product. I wanted to keep it simple and easy to develop (as I was the developer myself 😌)
🔆 Product Design
Now I know what one would expect in a portfolio, under the section ‘Product Design’. One would expect a fancy color pallette with the fancy name of the colors, a big picture for logo design and brand principles, a design system, a low fidelity prototype, high fidelity prototypes with user testing plan, and user testing results.
Now, I am not saying that it’s wrong, infact you can find these processes in my other projects as well but here things were different as I was trying to be an entrepreneur. I was the sole developer, sole designer, sole marketer and sole everything. Hence I decided to take a short cut where I started developing things directly without doing designs. I am not saying that I did not designed at all, here are a few of the screens I designed for the product, following the full process.
After designing few screens, I thought this way it would take forever to make the product without a team. This is where I decided that I would start developing the product and my inbuilt designer instincts would kick in to make a ‘good enough’ user experience if not the best. So, here I am putting in a few of the screens and flows of the developed product.
A quick glimpse of how to get started with UXaudit.io:
UXaudit.io widget which a user can integrate with their existing website or product. The reason to develop this was to target the closest possible persona which are the users of the product.
💥 Launch & Marketing
Without any external funding, it was tough to do any PR or paid campaigns to win that first customer. This is where I decided to go ‘old-school’ and wore the cap of a salesman and tried to pitch the product through LinkedIn (coz that’s where we can network professionally)
Apart from this I opted to go for ‘Inbound Marketing’ to attract organic traffic to my blog and strengthen product’s SEO. I then hired a few interns to write blog articles for UXaudit.io. I used SEM rush and Google Adwords to identify keywords and create a blog structure and get some external links pointed to our website. I myself wrote quite a few blogs with them. In this process, I fell in love with ‘Inbound Marketing’ as it’s hard to start with but pays off well in the later future. The stats below will tell you about how powerful this mode of marketing is, in the long run. As long as the content medium is concerned I opted Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing theory to grab the user’s eye in each stage of his buying process.
🏆 Response from UXaudit.io users
Since the launch of the product, I have received a very positive response from the users. Initially, I had invited for few beta users of the product but after we starting writing and publishing blogs and educating the users about the essence of user testing and data-driven design decisions, I started to organic traffic to the website. Soon thereafter I started receiving multiple signups every week. I then started doing a Voice of Customer (VOC) board for the product and realized that soon after a user signs up into the product they had no idea about how to use the product and what are the different features of the product. To overcome this, we introduced onboarding screens and added a sample project to the landing screen so that the user can emulate the testing and see the test results of some pre-set tests. Doing this I was able to drastically increase product adoption.
🎩 Hats I wore for this project:
- Product Strategy
- Product Designer
- Digital marketing – inbound
- Content Manager/ SEO
- Product Management
- Design Researcher
- Front End Development
- Back end development – using Node, Mongo and Express
- Pre-Prod/Prod deployment – using Heroku