Easier content creation for users

Overview

Dynamic Signal's products enable professional communicators to create and post content that reaches their company's employees from all over.
 
However, creating content on the platform was very hard for users as it required extensive training and had limited functionality on mobile apps.
 
Since 2018's last quarter, I've been helping my team with a redesign which focuses on our mobile users' needs and an easier, jargon-free content-creation flow.
ROLE
PRODUCT DESIGNER
MISSION
IMPROVE CONTENT CREATION FOR MOBILE-FIRST USERS
TIMELINE
SEP 2018 - ONGOING

Initial Product

Dynamic Signal has two main products - Manager App and Voicestorm.
Manager App is a web-based platform, used primarily by professional communicators and executives in a company. Some of the tasks 'managers' can do include creating different types of content, broadcasting content to targeted users and viewing analytics of their posts.
Voicestorm is the user-facing product on web, iOS and Android where employees can view and interact with posts created by communicators, categorized based on the post's content. Users can also submit posts, share content to their social channels and chat with other users.

Manager App Post Creation

Member Post Submission 

User Research

The product team noticed that customers brought up content creation as an issue frequently. To understand the problem further, in-depth user research calls were set up with our biggest clients' professional communicators who create content on the Manager App regularly.
"We'd love for managers in Seattle or LA to post team-related news for their employees - but it's hard enough for us!"
"I tried posting content on the Member Apps - but I can only submit posts for approval, even if I'm a manager.!"
"I have to create a post or a survey in one website and it shows up somewhere else."

Research Analysis and Ideation

To explore what the product team learned during customer calls, I held a brainstorming and ideation session with stakeholders.
 
We wrote down insights and quotes from the interviews on post-its and grouped similar post-its together. This led to four clusters that gave us an understanding of the most common issues regarding content creation. 

Ideation Notes

Research Findings

Older and Unintuitive UX

  • Users find it strange that content was created on the manager app, and posted to member apps.
  • Too many fields and settings on the manager app.
  • Large learning curve to understand and use the product.
  • Unintuitive post creation - What a user creates isn't what it ends up looking like.
  • Many local managers weren't desk employees and found functionality on the mobile apps limiting.
  • There was no way for a manager to create content on mobile. They had to submit posts for approval.
  • Users wanted the ability to post articles, links, surveys etc. from their phones.

Limited mobile functionality

Required and long training to use platform

  • Regular training required to use the manager app and create top-down company-wide content.
  • Communicators want local team managers to post relevant content for smaller groups of people. However, they're hesitant to do so due to training.
  • Regular employees weren't engaged because they only saw top-down company related posts that weren't relevant to them or their job.
  • Team managers preferred other ways to communicate with their team due to the high amount of training required.

Lack of relevant content

Competitive Analysis

While the research findings allowed me to narrow down the problem, I needed some inspiration before I started wireframing.
 
I took a look at some of our competitors like Facebook Workplace and LinkedIn Elevate to understand how users can engage with content from team members that they found relevant.
 
I also explored the article creation process on Medium. I found that the simple and intuitive UX that Medium employs could potentially solve a lot of our platform's content creation issues.

Medium Article Creation

Facebook Workplace

Low Fidelity Wireframing

While wireframing, I focused on a mobile-first content-creation experience that would allow any manager to seamlessly create any type of content on our platform.

In addition to the overall content creation issue, I wanted to additionally explore how a manager could communicate and post relevant articles for
 their team members.
 
After multiple iterations and brainstorming sessions, the product team and I came up with the concept of 'Team Spaces'. Managers could create a space for small teams where everyone would be encouraged to post and communicate freely, with minimal supervision.

Creating Articles

To create an article, a manager would traditionally be required to fill 5 separate text fields at once, each with a different purpose and displayed in different views when the article is published.  The new flow separates these fields into their respective views by showing title, subtitle and body for detailed article view and description for feed card view.

Feed Card and Settings

It was challenging for managers to define where their post will live (category) and who will see their post (targets). This was due to the large amount of settings they had to go through before publishing a post. The refined flow gave clarity and control to the user by providing defaults for other settings and surfacing the ones that matter, specifically categories and targets.

Manager Settings

To give managers more power in the member apps, I added functionality for managers to view and approve posts from users posting to categories (similar to groups on Facebook).

Team Spaces

Viewing content relevant to a user's job is a prominent issue on our product. This is because carrying out simple tasks like posting content require approval. The new concept of team spaces allows managers and their teams to self-organize and freely post or chat with team members in a 'closed group' setting.

MVP Designs

For the MVP, the product team decided to tackle content creation first - specifically allowing managers to create a post or article easily in the member apps.
While the high-fidelity mocks were heavily based on the low-fidelity designs, I kept these points in mind while designing:
  • Zero training 
  • Jargon-free help text
  • What you see is what you get
  • Show only what is necessary to the user at each stage

UI Design

Colors

Graphic Elements

Fonts

Iconography

Easier and Intuitive Post Creation

By adding a floating action button (a novel concept for iOS!), the creation process became more intuitive and smooth. Simple, jargon-free help text aided the process.

Manage the who and where without any jargon

Jargon and bad UX writing was a frequently brought up issue. Since categories and targets were essential for post creation, we simply refined them as 'where your post lives' and 'who will see your post'. This alleviated any training concerns.

Upload Images, Videos and Documents!

Users could upload either one image or one video in the old design. To make the post creation process more useful, we brought in functionality from the manager apps to allow multi-image and document uploading,

Preview your final post and manage your settings

During post creation, managers see how their post looks like in the detailed post view. However, managers may also need to tweak the post description in the feed card. The preview screen allows manager to do just that, along with some post settings like notifying members and enabling sharing.

Product Release and Next Steps

The MVP flow was first released in a beta test with some of our biggest customers. The feedback we got was extremely positive, with more customers asking to be a part of the beta. Low-level managers could create posts easily which led to an increase in the number of posts created on our platform. This further led to higher rate of clicks, likes and comments on our posts, as regular members were seeing content relevant to them.
Our next steps include:
  • Refining the preview to give importance to settings.
  • Introducing the feature through a 'tutorial' for existing managers to understand what 'where' and 'who' means.
  • Enabling survey, poll and livestream creation through this flow.
  • Refining the view of post submission by members to match manager post creation.
  •  Start high fidelity designs for Manager Settings and Team Spaces.

Conclusion

I'm personally extremely proud of the work I've done, and continuing to do, on this project. This work is turning the direction of the product towards the end-user, a regular employee who wants to communicate easily and effectively with other employees. It's been user-focused since the beginning, and changed the way we do design at Dynamic Signal.
If I could change anything, I'd want more access to more analytics and data to confirm the user research and feedback we heard after we launched Manager Post Creation. I would have also loved to speak to regular employees regarding their issues with Post Submission. 
I'm taking these learnings to the next big project of Team Spaces! Onwards and Upwards!