Material experience for Kickstarter users
Folks from Kickstarter reached out to us saying we are not allowed to publish materials with trademarked names and images. We totally understand their point, that is why we introduce KickMaterial.
I love Kickstarter, it’s become my daily dose of new tech Projects, and some of them are awesome. The world’s great funding platform is a prime presenter of kick-off tech, which is why I’d rather search trending Kickstarter Projects than almost anything, including Twitter and the best tech blogs.
Last year, to keep up with what’s great, I switched from iOS to Android. There were a lot of things I missed though, especially some favorite apps. Where was Kickstarter? It was non-existent! This is why I, together with my friends at OUTLINE, are designing concept app for Android.
When it comes to apps or almost anything else, users want it all and want it now. So we started by asking Kickstarter users online and in person how they were getting along with their iOS app. “What,” we asked, “would be the benefits of an Android Kickstarter app?”
- Would important benefits be of no particular concern?
- Would it be of benefit only occasionally to keep track of what’s trending?
- Would it be of use more for browsing and passing the time?
- Financially backing a Kickstarter Project on a mobile app is or isn’t viable?
The answers we got told us that iOS app-users weren’t particularly interested in backing a Kickstarter Project via smartphone. Their experience with the iOS Kickstarter app proved it wasn’t convenient enough. What was happening was that people tended to use the app to keep track of Kickstarter Projects and discover new ones.
3. Real-life scenarios
Research shows that most people use Kickstarter to discover new Projects and witness the emergence of future Products. We want to make this easier on Android. We’re developing a smart algorithm that will suggest Projects based on what has been previously followed and/or backed.
Once you find a Kickstarter Project you like, you watch it closely. For example, Romain told us;
“It’s exciting when I find a new cool Project and wonder how it’ll grow in time — find out if my hunch was right.”
Following a Project is kind of like saving it ‘til later. It’s much easier to financially back one if it’s already ‘in your collection.’ As we discovered, most users weren’t interested in actually backing Kickstarter Projects through their iOS app. It wasn’t convenient enough. Well, I and my friends at OUTLINE are changing that.
Often, new Kickstarter Projects are ‘in the air’ and get around quickly — you hear about them from friends.
Back a project
Most people don’t use their iOS app to back a Project. Well, we’re making it happen on Android.
4. Visual Design
Kickstarter is well established, the crowdfunding platform really brings Projects to life. Movies, music and theater get financial Pledges, and funding is found for almost anything — be it related to food, publishing, games, or design and technology. The model traces its roots to patronage of the arts, when, throughout history, artists and composers would ask or even beg wealthy patrons to fund their work. Today, Kickstarter asks us to ‘Explore an extraordinary creative universe.’
Designing info architecture for Kickstarter Project Previews is quite a challenge. What information is important for app-users? We’ve tested multiple CardView iterations.
CardView testing proved this to be the preferred order-of-importance:
- Photo preview
- % Pledged
- Pledge goal
- Number of backers
- Days left
Here’s our final Project Preview based on hierarchy test-results. The entire space is filled with the photo to make Project-skimming faster and easier.
It’s crucial that Project-skimming is easy from the Homepage. Interesting Projects must be found quickly.
Next, we formulated a smart hybrid information maximization (HIM) algorithm to present suggestions based on previously followed and/or backed Projects.
Our initial idea was to design a standard CardView with an additional ‘Project Found’ ribbon. Unfortunately, this gave us too few Projects per-page and a poor exploration rate. A small CardView and ribbon improved the exploration rate, but the app-user couldn’t get enough Project information. To find out more, the user had to tap into the Project detail.
Next; we threw out the ribbon and kept the small CardViews. We introduced alternative scales to show levels of visual importance. Small CardViews meant less information, but at least it gave us clean, readable CardViews that could be speedily skimmed.
Search vs Categories
We spent a lot of time discussing which actions should be triggered by the floating ‘All Categories’ button on Homepage/’List View.’ Initially we wanted to incorporate ‘Search’, but after analyzing every scenario we decided not to.
As soon as the user runs the Kickstarter smartphone app, he or she usually scans some Projects, and then does a single-action Category Search. It’s fast and easy to narrow the fields of interest.
For added convenience, we designed our floating ‘All Categories’ button to boldly show the selected Category’s color.
Since it’s the most frequently used button, in ‘List View’ the ‘All Categories’ button is always bold and noticeable.
After we gather user attention on the specific project. Next step is opening promo video. The movie is decisive whether the project is worth attention or not. It was obvious to put play button in promoted action — floating button.
‘Follow’ is going to be of prime importance to our Android app newbies. We’ve positioned all ‘Pledge’ features below ‘Project Review’, and ‘Action’ has its own bar. Given Kickstarter’s strong branding, it was a challenge to give browsing a distinctive look. We think we’ve succeeded by taking the bold Image-color route.
The color-coding makes each Project easily identifiable as being a ‘returning’ or other type of Project.
Persistent search or Expandable search
Persistent searching is when ‘Search’ is the main navigation point. It’s always placed in the ‘Action’ bar.
We went the other way and designed using the discovery model. This is why Expandable ‘Search’ works so well for us. Our ‘Search’ field is hidden below its icon, with the input field focusing automatically. Below this we’re presenting historical suggestions. Tap the keyboard, and the suggestion field becomes an auto-suggestion.
Back a project
A Project can initially be backed with a small financial Pledge — an ‘appreciative gesture.’ Later, the user can invest more in the Project at home or in the office via the Kickstarter website.
An iOS app-user can only access ‘Pay’ on the Project page, which is a bit fiddly. On Android, we’ve put ‘Pay’ in the sidebar — as easy as the website. We will allow our Android user to tap bankcard numbers; make an immediate Pledge, or defer the decision ‘til later.
Each Android Kickstarter app-user will be able to add his or her portraits and favorite category pics to their profile-page.