Designing Exit Intent and what I learned along the way

On my 8th day as an intern with the Urban Clap design team, while going through our website, I suddenly bumped into a modal (shown below) while I tried to close the tab.

Unsure of what it was, I like any other over enthusiastic intern went to the team asking about it. Turns out this is an exit intent modal (something that is used as a last pitch for users who are about to leave the page). I personally felt it was ugly and was sure there could be something better.To give you some context, out of 100 users who land on this page from google search, 14 end up placing a request and 1.5 out of those 14 requests come from users who have seen this exit intent. Sure there’s a lot of juice there to extract.

Our design head happened to overhear the conversation and joined in. He asked, “Do you think you can fix this?” Now, being an intern for just 2 weeks and knowing that something I do may just go live on production was overwhelming. My joy knew no bounds. I readily accepted.

I started by exploring a lot of blogs, sites where such methods were used to retain users. This needed to be an elevator pitch for users who were were placing a request. I started with ‘Yoga Trainers at Home’ category and started calling the professionals to understand how they pitch their services. Turns out, giving a free trial class was very common in the offline world — something that we were not communicating. With that, I started. I needed some visual element in the new modal design to hold the user back and then present a strong pitch, which in this case would be ‘Get a free yoga trial class’.

14 wireframes, 36 possible designs and a lot of mistakes later we shipped this:

It was a great feeling seeing something I made go live in a very short span of time, with minimum development effort and possibly good impact.

We do not have a conclusive answer about its success but early results are promising. So, if you remember the number I shared earlier where 1.5 of 14 people were placing a request after seeing the old exit intent modal, the current number is 3.5. By the end of this project, here are the 4 things that I learned:

1. Don’t try to be a hero

It’s human to seek love and appreciation. People are always trying to impress their co-workers. I was no different. In the race to stand out, I didn’t share my struggles with others in the team thinking I’ll do it all by myself. Basically, I wanted to be the Hero alone. In the process I made things extremely stressful for myself. This brings me to my Second learning

2. Frustration can be deadlier than cigarettes

It’s important to know the gravity of a problem before you jump into it. This I realised a week into my exit intent project when everything I made was either incomplete or plain bad. Days passed and my frustration level kept increasing exponentially. I would constantly find myself cribbing over trivial issues. Another week passed by and I decided to leave the company. Every design I made would be rejected somehow and I couldn’t figure out why. This brings me to my Third learning

3. You must learn to Walk before you Run

Perhaps the most important aspect of product design which interns and many full time designers miss out on is making wireframes. Wireframes help you identify the important information and arrange your layout accordingly. When I was given the Exit Intent work I straightforward jumped to designing on Sketch. In order to finish the work on time, I ended up taking more than required. 3 weeks down the line when the project was near to completion I learnt an important lesson- my Fourth learning of Internland

4. Don’t get attached to your designs

It can be really easy to get attached to our designs when we have shed blood, sweat and tears over them. Justifying our design is good but when we get too attached to our design, we turn a deaf ear to improvements. As an intern, we generally tend to trip over that line( Well, at least I do). Though I haven’t been able to apply this myself, I’ve found work comparatively easy since this realisation dawned upon me.

Application Journey Mapping(AJM), Exit intent, Customer calls, Icons, Banners and a whole lot of bad designs would somehow wrap up my first 2 months of internship at Urban Clap. Lets see how the next two work out.

If you’re working in a Product Design team, I would love to learn more about the processes and design approaches you take by commenting below. How were your initial weeks in a team? What kind of projects did you work on?
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