One of the biggest issues, I realized after the fact, was that Memory Science did not have a true problem that it was solving. The product itself was “cool” technology and instead of digging down and uncovering a clear problem and market to go after, we tried to solve too many problems for too many different potential users.
Memory Science was an online learning platform that incorporated tenants of brain science in order to help its users better retain specific pieces of information – it was similar to an advanced form of flashcards.
The company worked with a design agency to create the original design for their web application. When I came in, I worked with the product team to improve the experience for users looking to consume, purchase, and create content within the Memory Science marketplace.
Here are some of the specific changes I recommended to improve the usability and experience of the product:
The goal with the homepage was to create a clear call-to-action to get users to try the free version of this application. I removed elements from the navigation to reduce any distractions that would take the user away from this goal, and I also increased the visual space around the CTA in order to draw more attention to it.
Additionally, I emphasized the brand more by increasing the size of the logo and incorporating more of the Memory Science “blue”.
Looking at this now, there was no clear value proposition about what Memory Science was and what it would help the user accomplish. This is something I would go back and change today. A/B Testing would have been a fantastic tool for us to test out different types of copy to see what drove the highest conversion.
In the original dashboard, the navigation elements were hidden inside dropdown and hamburger menus. Based on outside research, I knew hiding links away under a menu or dropdown would not only reduce its discoverability but also its use. I worked to replace these menus and instead incorporate frequently used navigation elements right into the header.
Since this was a dashboard for a free account, I wanted to address the business goal of increasing account upgrades and draw more attention to the desired “Upgrade” action.
Module Detail View:
We had received feedback about confusion over the different elements displayed when looking at a module (a module is comparable to what a deck of flash cards would be). To reduce confusion and declutter the section, I removed unnecessary elements like the performance icon, neuro-coins, and days not in session.
Also, I added a more relevant filtering option at the top that allowed the user to sort through their modules. This would allow for users to more quickly access their desired content without having to scroll through a long list of modules – especially important for power users.
The sign-up process confusingly presented two paths at once that looked very similar: (1) Sign up for free (2) Sign up for premium. First and foremost, I wanted to remove these dual sided forms and instead present one option. Looking at a typical case, a user would almost always sign up for a free account before upgrading, so I decided to default to that. By reducing the number of choices the user had, I knew we could increase conversions.
Looking back, I believe some elements on the form could be removed. For example, a security question is not a necessity for a tool that doesn’t contain sensitive, private information. Also, a better option than placing the text field labels within each text box would have been to place them above. This so that a user always knew what information they were entering into that field even if they had clicked into the box and cleared out the label.
Originally, when a user wanted to subscribe to the premium service, the chosen upgrade was placed in a shopping cart. However, shopping carts are typically used for making a single payment to buy an item. Instead, I wanted to stick with typical mental models that our users would be used to for a subscription style service. Users would choose an upgrade option and then go right into adding their payment information (in our case a quick checkout with Paypal).
As a whole this startup I was working for lacked focus when it came to our product. In its entirety, the product had an enterprise version, a marketplace to buy and sell content, the ability to consume content, and the ability to create your own content. On top of that, we were attempting to build native mobile apps for both platforms. Also, we didn’t have a clear target audience and instead were catering to many types of users: students, teachers, hobbyists, education companies, corporate enterprises, and corporate employees.
In my opinion, we should have simplified our product and focused on one value proposition at a time for one specific target audience. By trying to do so much for so many types of users at the same time – including accounting for all the potential edge cases – the product was over-architected. We didn’t follow agile practices because of the enormity of the project. For a small team, we didn’t have the resources to handle a project of such scale. We should have said “no” to almost all of the features requests and ideas being thrown around and instead executed extraordinarily well on one aspect of the product.
That’s it for now! Thanks for sticking around to read about this project. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss it in more depth.