Everfave, Inc. operates a social and mobile referral platform in the United States. Its platform enables users to refer the business to their friends.
I joined the company when it was just an idea. Everfave needed critical design assistance to transition from rough wireframes to marketable product. How would we help Everfave move forward to full-fledged product on limited budget?
Everfave wants to become the largest database of people’s favorite things (like Yelp), a platform for users to get rewards and deals (like Groupon), and a social meadia platform (like Facebook). But how does Everfave encourage users to share their faves?
I made a discovery research that showed that:
- Each person has a database of great places in their heads. Each person has friends with their own sets of unique databases.
People trust friends’ judgements, but exchanging recommendations takes too much effort from both sides.
- Because of this disconnect, people place their trust in review sites like Yelp or Foursquare
- While review sites provide a large quantity of feedback, the demographics and specific tastes of reviewers were unknown. A person looking up reviews doesn’t know if the people who left reviews have different priorities, personalities, or preferences.
Short interviews with people and the survey helped me to understand different needs and build personas for the app.
WE CONDUCTED USABILITY TESTS WITH EXISTING WIREFRAMES
- The iconography confuses people. The faves, bucket list, and filters icons are not easily distinguished.
- The navigation is not intuitive.
- There is no way to set preferences. Places are displayed as an endless, random stream.
The Design Process
I created several different iterations of prototypes, ranging from paper to high-fidelity, for research to assess the use cases for a potential mobile app.
The prototypes acted as talking points in our research for us to understand the users’ goals/constraints/motivation with the options the app provided (a mix of Yelp/Groupon/Facebook).
As a result, we gathered more diverse research via ethnography, interviewing, and usability testing to better understand our users.
- People don’t want to be used or seen as promotional vehicles.
- People like discounts as long as they don’t feel like they have to work for them.
Most people don’t write reviews because it’s too time-consuming.
- Friends’ recommendations are valued over blind reviews.
- Most people validate a friend’s recommendation by checking online reviews afterwards.
ANALYZING THE CURRENT DESIGN FROM THE USER’S PERSPECTIVE.
Based on the new data I started questioning the assumption that all three major functionalities should be equally presented in the app with a main focus on social networking. It was recipe for a bloated, not well thought-out product.
I insisted on taking a step back to see how we could better align business goals and user needs.
The research helped orient the product from Facebook’s social networking model to Groupon’s discount-focused model. The research also green-lit development of iOS and Android mobile apps.
DESIGNING A NEW PRODUCT ITERATION.
With an understanding of the functionality issues of the existing design, I designed a new product framework.
To achieve this, I used an affinity diagram to determine potential architecture that would fulfill users’ primary use cases efficiently.
After building the new architecture, I created a low-fidelity prototype, user flows, and design mockups based off of it.
THE RESULT AND REFLECTION
The design work I accomplished shows itself in the product. By taking a systematic design approach, we aligned user needs and business goals.
The company was named “Top 10 most viewed startups in the U.S.” by Look Sharp and won the Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs Innovation Award.
Everfave secured its first VC funding in 2016.