Redesigning the Advertiser’s Toolbox

Strategizing a new design theory for Boost Media

Kian Lavi
Kian Lavi
Aug 16, 2016 · 6 min read
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What is Boost?

Boost’s platform is a two-sided marketplace, where online advertisers pay to source ad copy and designs for Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook’s Ad Platform, and writers/designers get paid to create the ad collateral (similar to Fiverr or Upwork).


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Boost’s Advertiser Platform, as it looks today.

Summary

Over the course of two months, I redesigned and helped develop an MVP of a new platform for Boost. The redesign was rolled out to a majority of their user base in that time, and is now used exclusively by all customers.

Role

As their only designer, I was effectively responsible for designing the whole platform, and collaborated with their engineering team to develop the front-end, using the Angular framework.

The dream

To move all of their existing clients onto a brand new web application, that could be used without the handholding of Boost’s account executives.

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Greg and I spent many an afternoon mapping out how to restructure the Advertiser Platform, and discussing ways to update the language used throughout.

On research

Boost Classic, as the original platform was named, was built almost a decade earlier, and was showing heavy signs of feature creep.

The interview process

We structured the interviews to have users go through regular tasks: approving or rejecting new ads, managing A/B tests, and generating historical reports. Throughout our interviews, we asked our users to narrate their thoughts and explain any obstacles they faced, as they faced them.

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Being able to prototype ideas in Principle (left) and InVision (right) made it easy to get feedback and test out new ideas with customers early on in the design process.

Findings

One of the biggest things we learned was how much trouble users had specifically with the terminology Boost used. Since Boost’s Customer Success Managers (or CSMs) were the ones most often interfacing with the platform, internal lingo had propagated its way into the application itself.

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As part of an audit on the language used in the platform, Greg and I generated simpler terminology and iconography for Boost’s many products and features.

Building the new platform

Greg and the other project managers would start each sprint by grooming the developers’ backlog, and once prioritized, it was off to me to design individual features and interface elements.

Collaborating with engineers

Trying to be mindful of technical constraints, I mocked up my prototypes in Sketch and InVision, and demoed them to engineers early and often. Once my sketches were in a good state, I exported my artboards to Zeplin, where the engineers could extract design and layout directly, without any guesswork on their part.

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Getting to share my designs in an engineering-friendly way made design handoffs a breeze.

On becoming an engineer

As the MVP came closer to being finished, I switched gears and began building the features I had been designing.

Meeting our KPIs

The target Greg and the PMs originally set was to have 20 users on the new platform one month after the project’s start, with a general release to follow sometime in the following quarter.

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Some higher-fidelity mockups of the MVP just before release, showing an analytical dashboard (left), and a way to manage ongoing A/B tests (right).
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I designed everything from low-fidelity wireframes in Sketch (on the left) to richer animations in Principle (right).

Design leadership

Throughout our process, Greg and I both advocated for more design thinking, and helped educate people internally on how to implement it in their own processes.

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With Sophie’s help, we began researching writer’s and redesigning the writer’s platform, focusing on the needs and wants of the people most responsible for the success of Boost’s services. Above, a mockup we created after getting feedback from a dozen writers.

Looking back

Because I joined the effort after they had began developing the new application, we were unable to affect structural changes in a lot of places that needed it.

On feature creep

Though what we had built was lightyears ahead of Boost Classic, we often fell in the trap of building more to gain parity with it.



Kian Lavi · Design

I’m Kian Lavi, a product designer, documentary…

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