Problem: Gust.com, a web app helping over 500,000 founders raise early-stage capital, has a core application that acquires thousands of new users per month, but only a small percentage stick around or convert to paid services.
Solution: Redesign the experience to be more guided, from entry to exit, providing personalized advice along the way.
Step 1: User Definition and Exploratory
To simplify, I focused our first tests on US-acquired companies in pre-defined industries. To get substantive feedback, I designed a website describing the value proposition, and directly asked open questions.
Step 2: "Pretotype," Preliminary Validation, and Early Usability
With early feedback, I built a “pretotype” in Typeform based on an algorithm developed by one of our SMEs. I used the pretotype to further test user value, as well as get feedback on usability.
Step 3: UX Design and Wireframes
With insights from the pretotype interviews in hand, I designed a full set of annotated wireframes. The goal: simplicity.
Step 4: Algorithm Refinement and Detailed Specs
Since our initial algorithm was built for a different purpose, I worked closely with an SME to revise it based on the new experience. Additionally, I created detailed specifications to further facilitate the development process.
Step 5: Build
Together with a team of two developers we built a minimal version for early alpha tests. The following is a screenshot of the backlog in Pivotal Tracker.
Step 6: Usability Research and Refinement
Before release, I showed the earliest functioning prototypes to targeted users to perform proper usability testing. This process informed short-term iterations and longer-term roadmap planning.
Step 7: Release, Measure, Analyze, Iterate
Our first releases were a series of limited, private tests designed around a strict learning agenda. Quantitative and qualitative data was methodically gathered and analyzed to inform further iterations.