When I first joined the KnowMe team in January of 2015, the app was still in its early stages. Outside vendors were developing an MVP that was due to launch in a few months. However, we were presented with a series of obstacles: slow turnarounds, top-driven product decisions, opaque communication, lack of definition & understanding of potential users and minimal testing. Features were added without any qualitative or quantitative data to backup resource investment.
We brought those processes--as well as everything that goes into making a user-centric product--back in-house.
Before Release: It's not you, it's us
Upon testing our MVP, we discovered several pain points for the user: the Creation screen was overloaded with icons and unintuitive interactions; users felt overwhelmed and confused about what to do once they landed on the Create screen. Ultimately, there was very little clarity as to what the value of the product was to the user.
Difficult discussions took place within our small team: why were users not understanding the product? What was the source of confusion? Stakeholders blamed users for not understanding the introduction of new gestures, ignoring the obvious cognitive overload. In the end, we all agreed: It was us, not the user.
Post MVP Release (v1)
After its release in January of 2016, our team continued to explore, refine, and test the existing product as well as new features in an attempt to create the best user experience possible. We challenged expectations, assumptions, and negotiated between stakeholder and user requirements.
We iterated on several versions of Onboarding, which entailed trying to find the right balance and pace of feature reveal. Should it be a forced onboarding? An animation or video? A progressive tutorial? What about Permissions? All of these factors were taken into consideration. In the end, we wanted to make sure we weren't trying to rely solely on user onboarding to educate users; we wanted the interface to be intuitive enough that they could figure out its value on their own.
Iterations & UI Refinements (v2)
Our internal team worked on improving the user experience via exploration, prototyping and testing. Based on data collected during internal and user testing, we simplified the Creation screen to allow users to focus on the creation experience. We addressed confusing UX and clunky UI. User feedback was positive and metrics showed signs of increased user engagement.
Screens shown: Edit, Talk over Media (Create), Web Search, User Profile
Post Launch Re-evaluation (v3)
After releasing v2 to users, we found that even though the overall usability was improving, our user base was decreasing. We found ourselves asking:
- What is the core value of the product?
- What do users need to be able to do, foremost and without any obstruction?
- Are we meeting those needs? How?
- Are there opportunities for improvement?
The Creation Experience
By simplifying our interface and restructuring the visual hiearchy to reflect user needs, we made a product that we believe meets those objectives. We also made the difficult decision to, instead of focusing on feature expansion, dedicating our energy to the main Creation screen.
Creation Screen rough prototype
Adding Music rough prototype