Good things happening here...

nate

designing a new discovery feature in-app that educates users and increases engagement

company: nate // role: Product Designer // team: 2 product managers, 5 engineers, Director of marketing, director of growth

nate touts itself as "the first universal shopping app", offering users many features such as creating lists of products across merchants, sending and receiving gifts via text, and shopping faster and more seamlessly without selling users' data. Although part of what makes the app special is the myriad of offerings, new users come from many entry-points and aren't aware of everything nate has to offer. In this project, I acted as the primary Product Designer and worked with multiple cross-functional teams including 2 PMs, 5 engineers, and the Directors of Marketing and Growth.

the problem

How might we aid in user discovery of new features to increase engagement?

Our first step was to do an audit of the app and discover better ways to reach users. As we went through this process, we uncovered some pain points for the business as well.

User Pain Points

Users often don't realize how many features nate has to offer, or don't understand how to use the app

Users desert the app or do not engage with it very often because they don't know what to do

Business Pain Points

Lower engagement from users leads to less time spent in the app, fewer purchases

No way in-app for Marketing or Growth teams to reach users, and no way to segment users into different audiences by entrypoint

After coming together again, the team aligned on project goals:

Project Goals

Educate and empower users to utilize all of nate's features and gain full value from their experience
Design way to tailor content to different audiences of users

research and strategy

My primary research methods for this project were competitor research and ad-hoc interviews with fellow employees and friends outside of nate. From these findings, in my strategy sessions with the PMs, we decided upon building a new feature with content that would guide users in their discovery of the app. As we set out to design the feature, we kept the following principles in mind:

Dynamic

Design feature whose content can easily update and change as the user moves in their journey in-app

Informative

Educate the user in a simple and fun manner on nate's different features

Engaging

Create content that is unique and visually interesting to hold users' attention

primary user story

As a user that *[discovered nate via an influencer’s list], I want to learn more about what nate has to offer.
*[discovered nate via a gift from a friend]
*[discovered nate on Instagram]
*[discovered nate via the Creator program]

our solutions

Our team wanted to design implement two solutions for our user story: the first, an improved and re-tooled onboarding experience. However, that didn't solve the Marketing and Growth teams' desire to be able to feed content to our users. Therefore, my squad worked on developing a new discovery feature that echoed the concept of a "story", which users would be familiar with.

designing the story carousel

I created multiple options for how the story carousel could look. I added some color and sample images in earlier on, so we could get a better idea of readability and how the modules would actually look.

After asking for feedback from my fellow product designers and design lead, I went forward with our favorite design that prioritized discoverability and engagement.

A home for Updates

My first choice for where the feature should live was the "Home" tab, but the PMs felt this placement would require a re-design of the whole tab, which would drastically increase scope. Instead, we compromised and put it in the next best place for v1 - on the "You" tab, where users visit frequently to check their nate Cash balance.

choosing a dynamic platform

An end goal for this project was for Marketing or Growth to be able to update the content of the feature without the help of Product Design or Engineering. To do that, the Product squad investigated different platforms to enable dynamic content. They uncovered a couple of options: one that was lower effort for Engineering, but limiting for Design and Marketing for customizing content; the other was a higher effort for Engineering, and allowed us the customization we desired.

I had to advocate for a platform that would enable the most flexibility for design so that the modules would be as customizable as possible to keep them exciting and engaging. In our first iteration of the MVP, the team thought the modules could open up to a static full-screen of content, which was not ideal for holding users' attention.

After some push and pull, we decided to use Contentful to power our dynamic content, with the modules being uploaded via CMS.

developing the content for mvp

An excerpt of one of the modules we storyboarded

The Design Lead and I brainstormed a lot of ideas of how we wanted the full-screen content to look, feel, and behave. We decided the full-screen modules should be as exciting and engaging as possible, so we brought in our Motion Graphics Artist to animate short informational videos about nate's features. We went through several iterations and storyboard sessions to figure out the best way to get users excited.

While we were enthusiastic about taking some extra time and effort to produce the videos, the switch in direction extended our timeline for the project. We needed to defend this decision to the larger squad.

The decision turned into a good lesson for our squad on defining the MVP earlier on, and aligning on what was a "Need to Have" vs. "Nice to Have" feature.

establishing the style guide

With the end goal in mind of someone in Marketing or Growth being able to upload new content via CMS on Contentful on their own, I gave extra thorough specifications to Engineering on guidelines for how the modules should behave and look across different ioS screen sizes, and guidelines for title and subtitle length.

the finished look

Horizontal swiping to browse the carousel
Unread dot in line with brand guidelines for notifications to grab users' attention
Order and content of carousel fully customizable by user audience through Contentful

Screengrabs of the full-screen modules

an agile release

We ran some ad-hoc usability testing with employees outside of Product to gain some feedback on the look and feel of the carousel, and the content of the videos for speed and readability. After making some adjustments, we released the feature to users. We worked closely with the Business Intelligence Team on how each module was performing, looking at metrics such as how many users viewed and tapped through all of the modules, how many performed the action prompted by the module, tapped the CTA, watched the videos multiple times.

Our early data showed that the feature was performing strongly, with users following through with the CTAs and watching the modules at high rates.

plans for v2, v3, v4...

As the project went on, we kept a running list of adjustments/additions to make for future releases of the feature, such as moving the feature to the home tab, adding a progress bar at the top of the module video, the ability to pause the video and more interactive elements.