Hey, nice to see you here.
Today We're talking about the Quickstart Profile redesign for Wefunder.
Ah, and Wefunder?
Wefunder is the leading crowdfunding platform for startups currently on the market. It's a two-sided product: investors (average Joes) go on to find startups to invest in; startup founders go on to raise funding for their companies.
As they describe it, it's like a "Kickstarter for startups."
So, what's this?
During my interview process, I was asked to finish a design challenge. How better to understand how we work together than simply working together?
Since Wefunder is a complex product, we had to sandbox the challenge to something rather constrained and specific: the Quickstart profile.
You catch on quick.
Here's what's coming up:
- Problem Statement
- Goal Setting
- Explain Constraints
- Competitive Review
- Users & Guerrilla Usability Test
- Set Requirements
- Design & Iterate
- Present Final Deliverables
- Closing thoughts & Retrospective
Here we go.
1. Let's set some context
When startup founders come to Wefunder to fundraise, they first need to set up a comprehensive company profile. Currently, this process is so lengthy, the UX so confusing, that Wefunder actually does the work themselves.
This is simply not scalable.
To create a quickstart profile that is easy to set up but attractive enough to prompt the founders to finish the setup process flying solo. Key actions on this page are finishing setup, share/tweet, and follow.
Since we only had two weeks to tackle this seemingly impossible problem, we wanted to sandbox it in order to limit the explosion of edge cases, paths, etc. Here are a few assumptions to make life easier:
- I, Chia, will be the primary user. I will be recruiting other users for more casual testing.
- I, Chia, will be the perfect user. I'll do everything right and in a timely manner, because I'm awesome like that. This means we will not consider edge cases or worry too much about the resilience of the designs to differing types of inputs.
- We are disregarding the current product in terms of UI, but considering the user flow.
- We are only designing the Quickstart version of the profile, not the fully built out version.
Awesome, you ready for the details?
2. I did some Competitive Review
Who I looked at: SeedInvest, StartEngine, and MicroVentures.
While there were many commonalities, there were some key differences in the UX and info architecture between Wefunder and the competitors. I compiled a list of these differences through some guerrilla user testing. This will serve as a diving board for ideating design improvements.
- Information Hierarchy
- The other platforms tended to push sections like "investor perks" and "term sheets" to lower sections of the page.
- A notable difference with MicroVentures is a "Competitors" section not present on any of the other sites.
- Competitor sites included very specific "Historical Finances" category to house documentation that provide further context to the potential investor.
- Vertical Secondary Navigation
- While Wefunder employed a sticked top navigation bar, all three of the other site all opted for a side navigation.
- This allowed for more extensive and specific menu options in comparison.
- Look and Feel
- Stylistically the other sites can be categorized as minimalistic. One issue that I quickly noticed is how text heavy they tend to be. While Wefunder also houses large portions of text, they are usually broken by sections of photos, videos, or data visualizations.
3. Found some lucky "volunteers"
Here are three of them
(Don't try to guess which one is me).
- Late 20s
- UC Berkeley graduate
- Works in Tech currently
- Prefers to sift through data to analyze on her own
- Likes to complete tasks quickly in one sitting if possible
- Does research to understand full context before making commitments; prudent and thorough
- Often values morality and ethics over pure economic benefits - cares about doing social good
- Mid 20s
- UCSC Graduate
- Has worked in tech for ~5 years
- Experience with investments and comfortable combing through numbers and documents
- Prudent with financial decisions; will not take anything at face value
- Actively sifts through fine print for questionable phrasing or clauses
- Previously worked for small early-stage startup in seed phase; has personal experience with reviewing financial documentations
- Early 30s
- UCSD Graduate
- Previously in real estate
- Generally wary of new investment opportunities
- Previously worked for small-stage startup
- Currently working in eCommerce
- Generally cautious with investments but overall tends to be optimistic
- Highly logical and weighs economic benefits heavily
And finished some guerrilla usability testing
Commonly known as "Chia harrasses friends and strangers".
My goal was to understand:
1. what investors looked for when picking investments and
2. what founders find easy to fill out and what assets are easily accessible to them.
Then, I could compare the two lists and see where there were overlaps and vast differences.
The users also helped illuminated some UX kinks in the existing design.
Some other pain points to address:
- Borderline Infinite Scroll
- "Stickied secondary navigation that is hard to see
- User flow to and from this point confusing and difficult to navigate
- "Share" and "Tweet" not immediately apparent and accessible
- "Follow", a key CTA, is only present in the stickied navigator below the fold
Good Features to Keep:
- Simple, straightforward
- Copy has light and direct tone that exudes a human touch
- Notification Banner highly noticeable
- Clean aesthetic with lots of white negative space
Now that we've got pain points, it's time to ideate possible solutions.
Let's review the design goal
Create a quickstart profile that is easy to set up but attractive enough to prompt the founders to finish the setup process flying solo. Key actions on this page are finishing setup, share/tweet, and follow.
Also handy is a List of Feature Requirements to retain positive attributes from the existing product.
Photos, About the Team, Website Link, Document Upload, Problem Statement, Solution ("Ambition"), Key Facts, Investor Perks (?) - Nice-to-Have, CTA - Stage-dependent: "Publish" and "Edit", <3 Follow Button, Social Media Icons (Facebook, Twitter).
That process involved a lot of paper crumbling. But eventually I was able to finalize the design.
Let's take a look.
Three key things I wanted to achieve were offering context - especially when it comes to the stakes of not finishing this process, instill a sense of investment, and creating a more easily scannable and visually stimulating profile.
Founders are busy people, so it's important to tell them how much time this process takes, how many steps there are, and most importantly, how they stack up against other founders. The simple comparison of "85% of founders don't finish setting up the profile in the first week. Here's your chance at a head start" both gives context and motivates founders by hinting at possible competitive advantage. Progress bar serves similar purpose.
One other key change is the stickied navigation. Since the key Call-to-Action varies depending on the stage in which the profile is in, it made sense to have the stickied CTAs change accordingly. This way, they understand the most important actions we want them to take, and we can direct them in the right course.
Notifications often draw attention to a message, but as I've learned in previous work, it's important to make the notification actionable.
One way I attempted to make the profile easier to fill out, hence increasing the sense of investment, was introducing elements that are particularly easy for founders to complete, like hashtags, about the team, and deck uploads. Short blurbs and about the team should be instantly regurgitated like a reflex for any serious founder seeking funding. Decks are handy assets that most would have that easily makes a profile complete and comprehensive. Hashtags are easy to complete yet offers a lot of context to potential investors to grasp at-a-glance what the company does.
Some last thoughts?
The main challenge of this project was the confines that really limited the scope. I find it easier to grasp underlying patterns of pain points and devise possible solutions if there is an opportunity for testing with the current system. I managed some casual guerrilla style tests that enabled me to see some rough patterns, but disregarding the current product was especially challenging.
Originally the project was sandboxed so I did not even have to consider current product and user flow. But I found it too up-in-the-air in that case, and opted to design according to current architecture.