Verbys 2.0: Case Study

Verbys started as a platform where one can write and share their thoughts.

It was open to the public on January 06, 2019

and so far it has the following stats

800+ Registered users in 5 months, 250+ stories, 7.3K unique users with over 16K sessions.

And it’s impressive because not a single penny was spent on advertising.

I joined Verbys on February 16, 2019, as I wanted to get my hands on a live project. I am helping them in the UX front and since the product is still in its nascent stage, I am also helping them in the product design side of it.

The first thing that we did before joining was giving the stakeholders a high-level heuristic evaluation of Verbys platform.

It gave us the idea of what is wrong and what needs to be done.

The Challenges that were identified are:

  1. Improvement in the current UX.
  2. Giving verbys an identity of its own (aesthetics vise).
  3. User retention, making the platform sticky, reducing drop-offs and bounce rate.
  4. Proper usage of tags.
  5. Making the platform self-guiding and intuitive.
  6. Mobile supported design and responsive nature.
  7. UX copywriting.

In the initial meeting, the first thing we focused on was aligning the vision of the stakeholders with the problem that we are trying to solve.

And since, design thinking is a very iterative process, getting the problem statement right wasn’t easy.

It went on to several iterations and in the meanwhile, we started studying the existing users and the flow of the platform. You can refer to the images down below:

Studying the existing users
Flow

And after several discussions here is the problem statement that we are working on:

But before that, here is the core pain points that we are addressing:

Lack of a platform where freelance content writers can build their portfolio and connect with their prospects directly, thus eliminating the agencies from the picture.

Problem statement it started with:

How might we enable freelance content writers to aggregate their work at one place?

And it has evolved to this:

How might we enable content creators to unfold, express, gain exposure, connect with prospects and aggregate their work at a single place?

The Vision:

To create a content creation ecosystem that caters all side of the spectrum, the one who can create, the one who wants to consume and the businesses looking to hire creators to tell their story.

The solution:

Verbys, a content creation ecosystem which lets you create, express and get opportunities in the content creation space.

Verbys started as a portal where freelance content writers can aggregate their work at one single place.

As a by-product of content aggregation, in a short span of time verbys evolved as a platform for broadcasting the thoughts of writers and giving them exposure.

Target audience:

Freelance content writers, hobbyist content creators, novice writers, businesses looking to hire content writers, any content consumer.

And when it comes to UI design part of the picture, here is how we have proceeded.

Font Changes: During the heuristic evaluation phase, I found that the font of the portal is not on point and few changes here and there resulted in this:

Home Page Mockup

Chronological News Feed: Now, the problem was the chronological feed. To encounter that, here is the screen we settled on. 

The objective was to get rid of the chronological news feed and have a segregated / Categorized view. However, the usability testing of this design is not done.

Sketch

The tags and the collectives page:

Collectives are like columns curated by either Verbys moderators or one single author.

Having a dedicated page for collectives and tags was necessary and here is what the suggested screen for that.

This iteration definitely needs improvement

Editor: 

The editor is super cluttered and in the research phase, we found out that half of the sample space prefers writing on a smartphone. 

Hence, it becomes necessary for us to make an editor which is super mobile friendly and doesn’t give a cognitive load to the user while writing.

Survey Form Result
The current state of the Editor

This is the front we are working on right now.

Since I am in a learning phase and I would want to summarize my learnings so far:

  1. Product design is challenging and fun. You need to justify your thoughts and not every time your intuition is right.
  2. One has to look into the technical feasibility of the design. You might make things beautiful but how feasible they are technically is also equally important.
  3. Don’t assume.
  4. Spend more time in the problem space rather than straight jumping into the solution in the first go.
  5. Study your users. Those are the people you are building it for.

P.S: Due to some issues in the team, the development and design work was halted for a month or so but now we are back in track.

We are constantly researching on the problem space and gathering feedback about the current system. However, we have not yet touched the core pain point as we want to have the current system stable asap.

Poll

Do let me know if you have any questions.

**The work is still in progress.