Overview

A helpful professional network


BrightCrowd was developed to fill a need for a friendlier and less intimidating professional network. Their goal is to help people realize the full potential of their professional network by revealing the smart, helpful, and well-connected people they already know in their personal and alumni networks.


My role

From usability research to pixel-perfect design 


I was brought onboard as the first and only UX designer to help with the overall user experience from research to design. When I joined BrightCrowd they were a six-person startup with over 85,000 users. Every week I worked with at least 5 users, aggregated the data and used research insights to influence and inform the design.  

The team:
I worked closely with the product manager, CEO, and developers.  

My many hats:

 

In the time I was with the company I researched and designed a new onboarding flow, redesigned the search bar and filter interaction, redesigned the post flow, added an offer to help feature, and more. Each of these projects were based off of user pain-points discovered during the research process. 

This case study includes my discovery process including a heuristic evaluation, a site map, personas, and a user journey which I use as a starting point for each project. 

Want to see the work? 

Click the project you want to skip to:

Onboarding:
Homepage and S
ign-up

Post Flow
Redesign

Search/Filter
Design


My process

A lean UX approach enables a rapid process

 
 
 

A breakdown of the sprint cycle

Below is my one-week sprint cycle. I had to organize my week in order to keep myself moving forward. Two-week sprints are generally focused on strategy and concept the first week and wireframes the following week. The two-week sprint allows for more time to update previous designs based on usability feedback from the previous week.  

One-week sprint schedule


Discover

Understanding user pain-points

When I came onboard I mapped out the current sitemap, conducted a heuristic evaluation, and interviewed users to understand the product and discover user pain-points within the site.  

Site map

Heuristic evaluation

The heuristic evaluation surfaced inconsistencies, broken links, error messages, and other points of confusion. The CEO and I rated the issues as high, medium, or low, both in terms of priority and perceived impact. Issues that were high priority and fast to implement were updated first.

(click images to enlarge)

Preliminary usability testing

Alongside the heuristic evaluation I conducted usability testing through the primary site flows. The testing helped confirm heuristic issues and revealed other issues I had overlooked. I gained insights into usability blockers and it helped us prioritize our work flow. The main blockers that surfaced were the search functionality and post flow.

Personas

I took past personas and revised them to reflect the different user types using the platform. The personas and interviews helped us prioritize the users we would be focusing on in the early stages of the product.

These four different archetypes are used to guide design decisions, feature priorities, and help increase empathy within the team. The early stage of the product is focused on supporting the goals of our Primary Personas, John and Rush. Behaviors varied amongst users based off of their concept of networking. Research revealed that networking meant different things to different users and elicited emotional responses that ranged from fear to excitement. This response and other variable such as introversion and extroversion change how users use the platform and are vital to understanding the different user types. These personas are regularly revised as we continue to delve deeper and more fully understand user goals and behaviors.


Onboarding Redesign

Explaining the what, why, how, and who

As part of the onboarding overhaul, I redesigned the homepage and sign-up process. This was done in a two-week sprint. I talked to users and tested my designs at different iterations to discover ways to simplify the onboarding process and solve for confusion.

Problem

Homepage: The goal of a homepage is for users to have a concrete understanding of the product, what it is, how it works, who it is for, and how it can benefit them. The "smarter professional network" was confusing to users they didn't understand how this network was smarter than other sites or if they had to be smart to sign on.

Sign-up flow: The sign-up process was a 8-step process with a low completion rate. 

 

Solution

Homepage: Redesign the homepage to clarify BrightCrowd's value propositions and educate the users about how the site works and how it can benefit them to encourage users to sign-up.

Sign-up flow: Eliminate or combine steps to simplify the sign-up process and rewrite the copy to educate the users about BrightCrowd. Specifically who we are, what we offer the user, and how we differentiate ourselves from our competitors. 


Usability testing

I conducted usability testing with 5 users. Users were of varied ages and professions and were in line with our persona identities.

During usability testing the main issues that surfaced were:

  • Why would they sign up? Users weren't sure what the product and how it was different than other Social Networks
  • What is the purpose? Users did not understand the purpose of the site and what made the network "smarter." They were unsure of what they could do on the site.
  • How does it work? Users were unsure of how BrightCrowd worked.
  • Who is it for? Users were unsure of the target audience.
     

A preview of the usability feedback notes:
(Click image to enlarge)


Homepage

Click through the slideshow to see my process from sketches through wireframes and the final design

Sign-up Process

Click images to enlarge


Results

  • Simplified the sign-up flow from an eight-step process down to four-steps. 
  • Usability testing revealed users had a greater understanding of how the site worked, what made us different, and why they should sign up.
  • Increased sign-up conversion rates by just over 100%
  • The step with the highest drop off (gmail permissions) had a higher follow through rate. 

Next Steps

To complete our onboarding we need to focus on the FTUE. Currently users are put right into the feed page on the site and are confused as to how it works and what differentiates us from our competitors. We've started to brainstorm ideas but need to prioritize the larger internal site blockers for current users. 
Additionally, we are working with a freelance copywriter who is helping us simplify our language to clarify our identity, explain how the site works, and add a touch of spunky personality.  


Post flow

Redesign to clarify post confusion

The ability to post is a part of one of the main flows of the site which is for users to ask for help. When I came onboard and did the initial heuristic evaluation and usability tests one this was one of the larger points of confusion for users. It was a priority to fix this for both the business and users needs. 

Problem

Users did not understand that the post was actually a post but thought it was an introduction.
Additionally, Users assumed the tabs at the top would open different layouts for different actions as is standard with other sites so some assumed the post was broken or were slightly confused 

 

Solution

  • Redesign the post to reflect standard post UI (facebook, linkedin) with a clear heading and CTA button 
  • Solve for confusion around tabs and redesign so users understand that their are different types of posts.
  • Fix small issues for easier flow and user delight

 

Design process: 

Click through the slideshow to see my process from sketches through wireframes and the final design

Prototype

Screens were uploaded to Zeplin to work with the developers. Check out the video to see the full prototype: