Founded by a former journalist who witnessed global gender inequity, World Pulse is a platform that connects women through stories and skillshare. They wanted to grow their user base by revamping their brand and overhauling their web application.
My Role: I owned UX design and worked with a visual designer to create and implement a style guide.
We began the design phase with regular meetings with the strategy team, reading all of their documented work, studying the existing World Pulse platform, and looking at how other social network platforms were built.
One major consideration for this product was localization. Although the site utilized a Google Translate plugin which allowed visitors to run all text through a translation tool, World Pulse manually translated a few pages to French. Therefore, we would consider the French translation of common, repeated text elements (buttons, page titles, etc.) whenever possible to account for spacing, sizing, and usability.
Potential considerations for a global user base were seemingly endless. Facebook, for example, maintains a separate product Facebook Lite for hundreds of millions of users with less powerful devices on slow connections. We gained knowledge about what could be done for a global audience and knew that we had to establish constraints.
Defining the problem and scope
Working with the strategy team, we started to imagine what a successful outcome of the redesign might look like. We decided that the desired product would focus on the following:
- Enable signups and donations with clear pathways to action.
- Engage users with opportunities to write, read, comment, follow, and share.
- Update the overall design with re-usable elements and modern practices.
A major challenge was defining the product scope given a tight timeline and the fact that a version of the product was already in use. A redesign could not remove any major functionality. After sessions with stakeholders, immersing ourselves in the product, and assessing all functionality, we created a top level organization of the redesigned product. We considered this the minimum viable product.
- Home (landing page) — World Pulse’s first impression. Here, it was important to provide clear pathways to key actions (sign-up, login, donate) and demonstrate the legitimacy of the organization.
- Sign-up/Login — It was mission critical to create a seamless signup flow with minimal dropoff to acquire new users.
- My Pulse — A customizable feed of stories which fosters content discovery.
- Profile — A user’s identity page that represents their interests, values, and skills.
- Resource List — A place to discover and create opportunity.
- Story and Resource detail — The page from where stories and resources can be read.
- Changemakers — A World Pulse program which highlights key members and their projects.
- Donate — A donation page to support World Pulse’s growth.
Another challenge was to design for a global user base. World Pulse users speak many different languages and access the internet in different ways (some only have access to the web through paid internet cafes, for example). At the time, the platform used English as the lingua franca. We prioritized English-speaking users with strong connectivity and modern devices. Although we acknowledged and considered the needs of less-connected users throughout the design process, we did not prioritize them because the resources needed to do this were immense.
Acquiring users with a new sign up experience
To support World Pulse’s aggressive user growth goals, we knew we had to retool their sign-up process. We introduced a few improvements which would simplify the flow, minimize dropoff, and set users up for success. These improvements included:
- Better feedback — A new progress indicator showed the user how many steps were in the signup process and how many were yet to be completed. We introduced contextual messages that explained why certain pieces of information (such as country of origin) were important to give to World Pulse .
- Incorporating profile completion into signup — We added opportunities to pre-fill profile information such as a profile photo and topic interests. This helped the user get acquainted with the features of the platform and decreased the chances that the user would login to an empty profile and story feed.
Emphasizing people and their stories
We wanted to emphasize women and their stories through the product. One way we did this was by making the profile page more than just a static “About me” page. We introduced dynamic panels which displayed stories that the user had interacted with (written, liked, commented on). Each user’s identity became tied to World Pulse stories.
Creating an easy to learn design system
It was important to create a cohesive design system that would transcend language and cultural barriers. Part of this was done by creating and implementing a consistent style guide. We also created UI elements (story and profile cards) that would be the primary building blocks of the site.
The new World Pulse
We created a new homepage that would reveal bits and pieces of the community to visitors. Through elevating some of the most compelling content, we hoped to capture the attention of new visitors then steer them towards signup.
My Pulse: A hub for stories and connection
Once logged in, a user has a customizable feed of stories from the community. We also made it easy for a user to discover fellow members to follow and connect with.
A more comprehensive World Pulse identity
We made the profile page a destination of interest. A user’s profile now reveals more than just self-reported biographical information. It also reveals how this user is interacting with stories and the rest of the community.
We achieved a major revolution of World Pulse’s brand and product within an ambitious timeframe. It felt special to contribute to an honest philosophy and mission.
Given the expeditious timeline, we did not engage in a few processes which could be revisited in the future. Specifically, I think a thorough qualitative and quantitative review of users could benefit the further development of this product. Qualitatively, it would be useful to observe and understand how the product is used in context by users around the world. Quantitatively, the product could benefit from a deeper understanding of which features lead to the highest engagement amongst users.