Designing the new Visible
Visible allows companies to capture their key performance data and share their story with stakeholders, all in one platform. As Visible’s Product Designer, I’ve overseen and led a shift in product strategy and led the visual development of the product on all fronts for almost 4 years.
Visible is a relatively complex product which warrants a series of case studies on particular features with a singular focus. In the coming months, I aim to write detailed case studies of the features I’ve worked on covering: user onboarding, data sources (connecting and managing multiple integrations), updates (creating a data rich text editor, templates & recurring updates), data visualisations & dashboards (building dashboards with a rich BI layer) and sharing (all of this data via dashboards, updates and in various formats be it email, links, Slack - publicly and privately).
Below is a deliberate oversimplification of the product, highlighting some of the more visual aspects of the product and giving an overall view of some of the progress and major steps forward we've taken with the product to date.
The work I've done on Visible has included user research, personas, prototyping, flow work, high fidelity mockups, prototypes and coding - the details of which I will be releasing in future case studies, as listed above.
Defining a new product strategy
When I joined Visible, the product was experiencing a lack of engagement and while user growth was relatively stable, the rate at which new sign ups converted to paying customers was low. The product was, at the time, primarily aimed at portfolios and investors who needed to get information from a large number of companies, and wanted one place to log in and track the progress of all their companies. So this process involved getting the companies to sign up for Visible, and then encouraging them to update their dashboards so stakeholders would have a fuller picture of what was going on. The investors could add all these companies into a portfolio and quickly get an idea of their portfolio’s performance.
What we began to notice from talking to our users however, was that while there was clearly a need and demand for this problem to be solved, ultimately, neither party was getting what they needed from it. Engagement with dashboards was low. Investors still claimed of not getting regular, up to date information and founders complained of not feeling like they were properly able to tell the story of their data and not feeling any benefit from sharing dashboards.
We realised we had been focusing our energies on solving the problem for the wrong person. What we needed to build, was a product that made it easier for company owners to have a place where they could tell the story of their data and share it with their stakeholders.
A new approach to data sharing
Founders had a hard time telling their companies with the current set of tools available, as creating reports involved was time consuming and involved a series of tasks combining excel, powerpoint and email. While these tools worked for a lot of people, we knew from listening to Investors that this was not happening regularly enough, and managing receiving these from multiple sources was another problem in itself. Dashboards did not solve this problem as the data itself offered little or no context and as such, created little or no engagement. On top of this, people felt uncomfortable sharing data unless they could explain sudden changes in this data.
I conducted several interviews with our users to better understand their current work flows and their issues with it. The need for people to be able to easily and frequently push data directly out to stakeholders, and most importantly, to be able to provide some context around that data became very clear.
First Major Feature Release, Updates
We got to work on a feature we named Updates. Updates could be created within Visible, pull in data that was already in users Dashboards, and allow the data owners to offer context around the charts they shared.
I took inspiration from Medium and Dropbox Paper from a design perspective in how people would create those updates. I started to sketch, mockup and prototype how this would work within our system. (I’ll be doing a case study on designing and building Visible Updates.) The Visible Update builder is a complex feature involving a rich editor which allows inserting data and charts, images, files and tables. On top of that, Updates also provide stats (for sent updates), the ability to create lists (to send to a group in one click), templates (for quickly creating updates that go out frequently) and recurring updates (to automate the whole flow)!
Updates have become the single most important feature we have released in Visible to date. They brought us to a point where we could convert from sign ups to paying users and also offer a way to bring in users as updates are shared out and land directly in the inbox.
Developing a cleaner Design System, layout & navigation
Another one of the other major releases that I oversaw was the overhaul of the navigation. This involved moving away from portfolios completely and abandoning the layered navigation. Users still needed to be able to switch between multiple entities, but those entities no longer needed to be nested within a portfolio. We went from a nested sidebar to a cleaner ‘entity switcher’. This has removed one click every time a user enters the app and lands them straight into their desired entity rather than visiting a screen with all their entities and clicking to go into it, as well as improving the visual appeal of the app.