MessageX

MessageX is an email marketing software competing directly with Mailchimp and similar products. My focus was to design an email marketing extension to the company’s SMS marketing product and manage the design and front-end departments of the newly opened company branch.

Intro

The company is one of the world-leaders in the SMS messaging industry. They decided to expand their business into a horizontal market – email messaging. So a new branch of the company was formed to launch this new product.

My role as a lead product designer was to design the user experience of this new service – initially the web application and the landing page. Since I was the first hire of this company branch, my role was a hybrid between a product designer and a UX designer.

I was responsible for leading the design department, along with defining and creating the product specifications as a part of the team which grew from 3 to 10 members during my stay.

Competition analysis

Competition

As this market was ripe with competitors, the first on the schedule was to thoroughly research them and create competitor feature tables.

I determined the strengths and weaknesses of competitor products and decided to position our product for the mainstream market instead of targeting a niche, because of having a large existing customer base and availability of our own sales teams on all continents.

Usability testing

I called in 5 participants to the office and ran usability tests of competitors’ websites to learn about the issues and advantages of the current solutions on the market.

The research has shown that our target audience was looking for simplicity and an easy-to-learn interface. They wanted to see tips on how to improve email campaigns along with seeing a heatmap for emails that are sent. Also, high deliverability of emails was mandatory, so that no emails end up in spam folders.

User research

Since our product was an early stage startup run separately from the company that was backing it with funding, I continuously did customer development and interviewed our target audience. Even though our product was meant for mainstream and not a small niche, we were able to clearly define 4 main user personas.

These user personas included email marketing experts, PR managers, bloggers, and consultants. Each user persona was described with their goals, motivations, and quotes. User persona personality was described through Myer-Briggs traits and psychological functions like sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking.

Landing page design

After getting a detailed view into who exactly our target audience and future customers are I was ready to build the wireframes for the landing page. After several wireframe iterations, I made high fidelity user interface mockups.

I designed the website with the target audience goals in mind and I focused on optimizing the placement of the call-to-action buttons to increase the conversion rate.

Ideation

I ran weekly brainstorming sessions to sync up with other members of the team and to include them during all stages of the design process.

From problem/solution ideation and feature prioritization to minimum viable product sketching, team leads from development, product, and design needed to be on the same side.

We tailored the product to the crowded market through innovation and by focusing on the job for which customers are “hiring” the product for (jobs-to-be-done methodology).

Wireframes

For our MVP we focused on these core components:

  • Managing subscriber lists
  • Premade e-mail templates
  • Drag and drop email creator with desktop/mobile preview
  • Send and manage email campaigns
  • Tracking of emails and email analytics
  • Lead scoring for subscribers
  • Signup forms for embedding on a website

I designed the wireframes for the MVP of the product.

Automation feature

Our other high-priority feature was the ability to create and manage automated campaigns. This feature was more complex from the design and the development standpoint so we considered it as separate from the core package of features.

Defining features

Taking into account the primary goals for the product I defined the user stories and epics.

Through user stories, the initial product was now more refined and it had clear specifications that were needed to create the high-fidelity designs. The user stories were used to describe the user, what they want, and why they want it.

Product specifications

By using Slack for communication and Asana for project management we were quickly up to speed. I set up the product management plan to prepare the team for the iterative user research & testing, product redefinition, and key performance indicators analysis.

I was also responsible for allocating the tasks to designers and front-end developers.

Lessons learned

From the drawing board all the way to the functional prototype I was responsible for designing an innovative UX/UI product. That was a challenging task because we were penetrating a highly competitive market but I was able to successfully define and design the first version of the new product in a short amount of time.