Role: Product Design, UX 

Client: Alignable


“Bring small businesses together and help grow connections to show the power of connecting local businesses”

Project Description

Craft experience for social media platforms for small business owners to help grow their business.  The network + main street profile projects were to improve the experience & add new value to customers.  The goal was to bring returning value and excitement in using the networking and profile areas and take the heavy lifting out of maintaining online presence/websites, promoting events, digital & local networking into one central place.

Section 1

Early team wireframes of the new Main Street profile page

Section 2

Iterations and wireframes on concepts for the intergrated Network & Profile pages 

UX Challenges

I worked on a team of three designers - and we took on a few projects aimed at increasing connections sand increasing the value of a users network. That took a few forms such as the user having a robust profile (new profile page), connecting to fellow users early (new onboarding flows) and continuing to find meaningful interactions with connections (Networking Page).

How do we improve the network available to users? And how do we keep that network engaged?  We want the potential network base to grow and keep increasing by customer sign-ups. Once they sign up how do we get them to stay active and continue to network and find value?  While a user would easily sign-up, some users would drop off with inactivity quickly. From user interviews we found that while they saw the value of “joining a small business network”  they were uncertain of how to make connections (known or unknown) or how to replicate the face to face/local interaction they were used to.

An example of the process we took was to follow-up with users from our A/B testing the onboarding process where we learned that while it was great to show connections as part of onboarding if it didn’t seem specific - value diminished quickly.  The user wanted to feel that sense of connection within the first few interactions after signing up. A couple of approaches we tried were, locality by distance, the problem was that didn’t always show the most relevant connections. We also tested applying contacts they already knew and integrating that into their first connection list, that worked but didn’t have the "ah ha" moment of finding the undiscovered connection. We found a combination of having locality and connecting to someone you already know was most powerful as an experience. Other  specific set of “interests” or categories as a quick selection before showing the connection list was also successful and fun for the user. We ultamiltey decided to move category selection to another area of the platform as it was more meaningful as a return visitor experience.   Limiting the total number of connections in the potential connection list proved more focused and felt more user specific and unique versus, everyone you might know.  The new onboarding kept the user time to a few minutes which was about where users started to feel like it was too much effort.

 From our research it became clear that it was a multi-faceted problem of poor profile setup (less interesting to their fellow SMB users) and diminished value once signed up due to the decreased connection growth and initial excitement waned.  Our team sought out to brainstorm on the following: How can we replicate the feeling of main street or local on a digital platform? How might we design a fun & easy way to connect and keep those connections active & engage? How can we utilize the initial excitement of signing up to improve the user profile and connections early - where they are most likely to succeed?


New onboarding screens to help build connections

Sec 4

User flow for onboarding & connecting ACF

Section 5

Iteration on matching contacts based on categories

UX Solution 

We designed an integrated approach to improving “your profile” and designing around the concept of your “Main Street” in a digital form. From here you could have your website, business information and upcoming events in one streamlined area.  We improved onboarding to get as much info early so the user would be more successful and have a more networkable profile to fellow users. Once added we wanted to add a level of continued engagement where you could continue fostering your new connections and utilize the platform to effectively become your “Main Street”.

We iterated on a new profile page for users. Users would have a profile and “page” but it was nested in your main street and network page. We decided on the approach of locality and brought that language to the overall design. We allowed for standard networking with a twist - we wanted the final outcome to be more conversational where you were engaging in conversation not messaging.  And we added suggested interactions like “grab a coffee” to have more customized feel. Our new onboarding approach saw increased activity and successful connection growth. We also set UI interactions to suggest and cater the experience to achieve a continued successful profile and suggestions for growth. Such as tips on how to grow your network and “nurture” your network. You could also have more visibility into what a “good” profile looks like as well as introducing those with highly visible profiles as “mentors, connecting those who might be less visible to more active users.  We were also aware that this needed to integrate more seamlessly across the responsive web platform and our mobile apps. The newly created design system was mindful of the multiple platforms and created to have the flexibility to grow and appear as one “app” to the user.

As the platform progresses I’d like to see us tackle separating the typical network style page into a more fluid experience and solve for the continued challenge of keeping the experience fresh and valuable to mature users.

Section 6

UX for Network App with connection finder and recommendation engine

Section 7

UX exploration for Onboarding the network page and the early user experience

Other Works