60 million monthly users

$600 million value

60 employees

4 UX designers assigned to shift the brand's current features to prioritize the

user's needs.

This is a case study featuring a team that created a new app feature that re-imagines how users consume content on Medium.

MEDIUM

Timeline

2 weeks

Problem Solved
Created a new app feature that re-imagines how users consume content
Role
Project Manager
Information Architect
Tools 
 

PROBLEM

Users need an efficient way to organize their saved articles on Medium and more structure from the homepage so they can save time

while learning.

This problem statement/scope was used as a common reference point whenever our group's focus was wavering towards new and

additional features.

SOLUTION

We believe that by organizing pages by favored topics, followed writers, and saved articles, we will give users the freedom and control to create their own comprehensive library thus enriching their lifelong

learning experience. 

RESEARCH

 

USER INTERVIEWS

Every problem begins with the audience. We recruited in-person users by setting up a booth in the WeWork space and recruited remote via Slack group channels.

Discovering:

  • How participants use Medium, such as for creating a framework using insights from card sorts or testing and translating it into
    the design.

  • How users are utilizing the current model of the feature we're designing.

USER PERSONA

Personas are an important tool for not losing track of insights gained early on.

PAIN POINTS:

  • Lack of filtering on saved articles

  • No customization/organization for published content, interactions with other users, or saved articles

It's not intuitive in a way I can use it quickly in my life.

"

NEEDS:

  • To save articles in an organized manner

  • To be able to research topics easily

  • Community-focused personalized feed

Medium for me is a way to start a conversation. It's a conversation of diverse topics and ideas. It's where I go to learn about non-authoritative content.

"

CLIENT OVERVIEW

The intention of going into researching our client was not only to gather the history and understanding of who they are but also:

a). What opportunities can we effectively impact?

b). Where does our feature play a part in their present and future?  3). Which metrics do we believe we can make a direct impact on?

Info analyzed and provided by Similarweb.com March 1 2020

When stacked up against the competition, statistics showed that from Nov. 2019 to Jan. 2020, Medium had the lowest:

  • Monthly visits

  • Visit duration

  • Page/visits

 

These stats are worth mentioning because through user interviews and asking how users are currently dealing with the problem, we learned that users were leaving the Medium platform to save their content through third-party applications like Notes or their web browser like Google Chrome. There is a massive disconnect but also an opportunity.

One of the main reasons I've never used Medium on mobile is because I could better access my bookmarks in total (on desktop). Perhaps this would increase my Medium use.

"

When I took a Paid Social & ROI class I learned Instagram became and continues to be the fastest and continually growing social media application because users aren’t leaving the platform. Once Instagram found that they have a market for shopping, they began implementing a 2-click checkout process to minimize disruption in the user's experience, including leaving the application. Medium is a learning platform and can greatly benefit from decreased Bounce Rates.

image provided by TechCrunch

With each problem comes an opportunity to explore the idea.
LITTLE PERSONALIZATION OR MEANINGFUL ORDER TO
THE HOMEPAGE

During a User Interview, we asked "What brought you to Medium?" and the response was:

 

 

 

 

We interpreted this as prioritizing authors aka 'New for you' and moving that section to the top of the home page.

 

A second response was “I don’t have an exact workflow in mind but I would rather have the homepage more personalized rather than an explore page” so we moved 'Your Daily Read' beneath 'New for you'.

My biggest function of Medium is to learn and connect with UXers, thought leaders, writers and story-tellers in general in a more meaningful way.

Medium's current homepage

Our revision

"

LIMITED ABILITY TO SAVE ARTICLES IN A CUSTOMIZED MANNER 

This was our biggest feature and creation. We used inspiration from YouTube’s playlist, the Notes application's alphabetical and folder categorization, and Instagram’s Saved folder icons to allow the user to create editable and custom collections. 

 

The stakeholders expressed that Medium membership users are reading and saving a lot, however, there is currently no great way for them to take advantage of their saved articles. 

IMG_6917_edited.jpg

INSPIRATION

 

REVISION

Medium's current 'Saved' page

Our revision

USABILITY TESTING

Testing our assumptions

USABILITY HEURISTIC #1: VISIBILITY OF SYSTEM STATUS

What is your first expectation after saving?

"a notification that it’s saved, like a pull-out 'this is saved to this collection.'"

We added this element of feedback through a pop-up from the bottom of the screen and made it green for noticeability and to maintain brand style.

CONSIDERING SCALABILITY & DEVELOPMENT

How can we incorporate a subfolder and grow

with the user?

"I have so many folders within folders of research projects"

Seamless transitions created by our Visual Design team members, Michael and Hannah. We added the ability to create a subfolder within the user's

current collections.

SORTING THROUGH SAVED ARTICLES

Thinking to a time you sorted through items, what was your process like?

"Every application where I can manually put items into a folder, it's been listed alphabetically."

In addition to Medium's current Sort By features, we added more control and precision for the user.

Medium's current 'Sort by'

Our solution

"I sort by date, time, I like chronological order."
 

MANAGING A TEAM

"Not everyone can be a leader which is fine, but it’d help if people understood that leadership requires someone to be under pressure. And it takes someone special to be a good leader that can increase the quality and quantity of output of multiple people."

In addition to running the User Interviews and Usability Tests, I was the Project Manager as well. Leading means putting more thought and work into the individuals devoted to the task ahead and less in the actual work itself. You dedicate yourself to finding the less obvious strengths and weaknesses of each individual and utilizing them appropriately, guiding them to realize just how capable they are, and it certainly helps to pose thoughts into questions. You find yourself listening and responding to the needs of each individual. Next thing you know, you earned the most important quality any leader should possess...trust.

Any group with a vision of solving a problem through collaboration requires some type of structure, ours was a functional team planThis plan included what we felt was most important to our success such as communication, decision making, problem-solving, and how to address each. It was also important that we addressed how each individual learns and visual signs that help us recognize if they’re falling behind or feeling overwhelmed and how we can help bring them up to speed.

Thank you to my team members.

Thank you to our users who helped shape a thought into a design.