ThreadLive

ThreadLive is a sales engagement platform that helps sales teams to connect with their customers and close more deals through augmented communication.
As a senior product designer, I was responsible for making strategic product design decisions besides shipping the UX and UI design deliverables.

Intro

My role was to lead the design efforts for the company as a senior product designer.

Some of the activities I did are competition and market research, user research, and UX/UI design of the responsive web app and the landing page. I also defined user stories and specifications for the product and handed the designs off to the development team.

Besides me, the team consisted of the CEO, 3 Developers, and 2 QA Engineers.

“Andrej understands how to build modern-day software and can translate the needs of the users into a well laid out beautiful application.
His love for creating software shines through in his work, he has clearly found his passion in life.”

Patrick D. Holman CEO at ThreadLive

Initial research

As the CEO had extensive knowledge of the product domain (enterprise sales), I communicated with him daily to be able to understand and clarify the business needs and requirements.

I ran user interviews to validate and understand more deeply the user’s problems and how we can help them, and I intensively studied the competition.

Primary “How might we” questions

  1. How might we help salespeople to relate their email communication with relevant opportunities and product orders?
  2. How might we help salespeople gain insight into when exactly are their contacts available?
  3. How might we help salespeople organize their documents and different quote versions?

Research synthesis

Screenshot-2018-08-14-16.08.57

Through user research, I was able to learn more about the domain and make an informed decision on which particular niche of the sales industry to focus on.

Interviewing users from our target audience helped me to identify the three main user personas: account executive, inside sales rep, and commission-only salesperson. For each, I specified their goals, frustrations, and personalities (MBTI personality type).

Prototoyping

We created an initial version of the prototype that focused on helping salespeople with communication and sales quote management. The prototype was then tested with a few select sales teams to challenge and validate the assumptions that we had.

We learned from the feedback that users had a need for communication and messaging aspects of the product, while they didn’t care much about quote management features. This strong early feedback helped us to guide the design process.

Here is an article I wrote about validating product design through remote user research.

Landing page design

After learning about the business domain (account-based enterprise sales) and after careful synthesis of the competition and user research results, I was able to design the initial landing page for the product.

By using the landing page, our early adopters were able to learn more about the product features and the use cases we are targeting, and through it, they were able to sign up for early access to the product while it was being built.

Interaction design

During months of design and development sprints, I worked on creating the user experience of the product. I collaborated with the CEO to find alignment in regard to the business roadmap and with the development team to make sure the designs are technically feasible. By using InVision I synced with the stakeholders to get their feedback and iteratively improve the designs.

I constantly reached out to our target audience for early user feedback.

My typical design deliverables were wireframes, user flows, customer journey maps, mockups, and prototypes. 

User interface design

I created the user interface of the web application and the final design consisted of more than 300 screens. Along with that, I created a style guide that included the components, color palette, and layout/spacing rules.

I handed off the design deliverables by using Zeplin for mockup delivery and communicated regularly with the developers to make sure that the development process goes smoothly.

Specifications

I defined specifications for the product features and collaborated with the CEO to define the feature details and documentation by using Notion.

User stories

Based on the user stories that I defined and added to the Zenhub kanban board, the development team was able to successfully build the product.

Tracking key performance indicators

By defining key performance indicators it was easier to prioritize which actions to track through analytics software. We decided that our primary engagement metric is number of messages per user per week, while tracking all the relevant user actions.

I set up Google Analytics to track visits and get information about demographics, retention and traffic sources. Then Mixpanel for tracking user’s behavior and funnels that they go through to reach their goals. FullStory and Hotjar were used to record videos of real app usage and heatmaps.

Usability testing

To gain insights into how users react to the current version of the designs, I ran 6 remote usability testing sessions.

I communicated the results by providing a test report that included goals, tasks, user feedback, observations, and recommendations.

Some of the actions taken as a result of these usability testing sessions were:

  • clarified which message was viewed in the case that the original message was edited
  • redesigned the message sending flow when the receiver is offline
  • the search flow was completely redesigned

UX improvements

Based on monitoring user behavior through analytics software and by utilizing the information received through direct user feedback and usability testing, I continuously improved the user experience of the application.

Some examples of changes made were the addition of data syncing with Salesforce, integration with email clients, display of a typing indicator, ability to locate a contact that is online, and the ability to track file and message views which all significantly improved the user retention rate and engagement.

Improving onboarding user journey

A great onboarding experience is one of the core factors for the success of many software startups.

Through optimization of the onboarding experience, I helped our users to understand the app on its first use, guided them to adopting the core features, and educated them to gradually explore more advanced features.

Since the application is structured as a platform, it was essential to take into account that each side uses the app for different needs (sellers on one side and buyers & suppliers on the other side).

Results

  1. Money-maker
    The product helped the sales reps to create more than $220 million yearly in revenue across more than 1000 closed deals through the application.
  2. Improved forecasting
    After switching to the application, the sales teams improved their sales forecasting by 50% because the sales reps were updating their data daily instead of monthly.
  3. Time saved
    The app saved 1 hour of sales reps time each week because of more efficient searching for relevant messages and files.