I joined Alloy as their first senior product designer to design on top of the work that was initially designed by their engineers. My initial mission was to create a better design foundation for the product and the brand to scale on top of, considering and creating a more solid connection between the design initiatives and the business goals, helping them to build a design culture from the ground up.
Since then I have led the design initiatives for the product, the brand, and researcher, helping the company to define the future of ecommerce automation.
Right after joining the team, my first design initiative was to get the team’s perspective over the things we were doing a good job on and the things we needed to improve. During the interviews with the team members and founders, it was clear that we needed to improve one important thing: the user onboarding experience. Improving the user onboarding was important not only to make the product easy to use, but mainly because it was attached to the most important company goal: make Alloy a self-service product.
Within 4 months after the release of the product and site redesigns, and the self-service onboarding, we were able to exceed our initial goal for growing the user base and number of sessions by +45%.
When I sat down with the team to map the user journey, it was clear that were too many frictions onboarding new users and showing them the product's value quickly. For a startup looking for market fit, every interaction matter in providing its value to users.
We redesigned the signup flow, removing any unnecessary steps and sticking with just the essential data that we need to onboard the users. Plan selection was replaced by a 7 days trial period allowing users to experience the product benefits before paying for it. We also introduce a "welcome" modal screen that gives the user essential assets using the tool and shows them a set of pre-built workflows to start from.
All these changes have reduced the onboarding drop-off and increased our conversation and retention rates. We still keep iterating on this by talking with our customers, looking at the data, and seeking our product goals.
Starting to work on the product it was clear the lack of a more solid design language. There was no integration between the product and the brand languages. The product system was a mess: lots of different components that performed the same thing, an extensive and not accessible color pallet, inconsistency between the components style, and a type family that didn't have relation with the brand visual.
That was creating two main problems: inconsistency in the product experience, across the app and site, and a lack of systematization for the engineers, making new product initiatives more expensive (time and resource).
The new design language was created from the ground up to be minimal for two reasons:
1. make it easy for others to design with, imposing fewer restrictions;
2. easy for engineers to implemented and maintain due to the few design tokens.
As a seed-stage startup, we need to make sure our product care is designed to meet our business goals. Differently from our main competitor (Zapier), Alloy has two main differentiators: it's ecommerce focused and allows the creation of complex automation workflows, through advanced logic capabilities.
The main design goal for the builder is to make it easy for advanced and new users to get the most of it. This is archived through a progressive disclosure design approach, providing user guidance, pre-made workflows (we call them Workflow Recipes), and the necessary support for when they get stuck.
One of the main strategies for proving the product value fast is through Workflow Recipes. With Recipes, we reduce the learning curve for non-technical users to providing them with pre-made automation for their most common use cases. The Recipes are created by our specialists, partners, and community members.
We have improved the Recipe experience by making the Recipe Marketplace more explorable, creating a recommendation system based on the user role and the apps they use, previewing the Workflow Recipe before a user installs it, and making the Recipe publishing experience more accessible and easy to use.
As ecommerce automation is still new a new thing in the automation market, we also have the challenge to create knowledge, tools, and assets to grow awareness about it in the ecommerce universe. A led several initiatives related to this topic like The Ecommerce Stack, DTC Stacks, Ecommerce Apps Reviews, Can Alloy Do X?, Alloy blog, and several others.
All these initiatives are attached to the design of Alloy's website. When I the company it was clear the lack of consistency between the app and website design. Not only from a visual perspective but also from interaction and UX writing ones.
Now both app and site share the same design language, but we have specific needs for the website, where we designed a bigger component set and type scale to make our communication clearer and accessible. Where the app is focused on the tasks to be done by the user, the website aims to communicate a clear and direct message about the product value and its benefits for merchants.
For this case, I'm trying a different approach where I'm frequently documenting the progress of the design work on reaching a high level of design maturity and achieving the company's goals. So it's probably that this document will look a bit different next time you visit it.
We are also tracking metrics and doing research for most of these initiatives to validate our design decisions and to keep us toward the company goals.