Redesign & Product at Invaluable
As Invaluable's Product intern, it was my responsibility to organize, contextualize, and discover key metrics to create value for our customers through intelligent product recommendations. Leading remote and in-person usability testing sessions with the UX team helped me uncover a passion for user research, and our sessions honed my qualitative research skills.
Artist Search Redesign + Product at Invaluable
I was the first Product Intern at Invaluable in the summer of 2017. My internship there was the first time I had encountered a startup with a dedicated Product team, giving me a crash-course in software management and data-as-design. One of my early projects involved pairing up with a member of the UX team for a redesign of our artist database. Over the course of one day, we researched, prototyped, iterated, did more research, and presented our case for how our redesign would benefit users and the company. Our design took web analytics and interview data to understand and respond to our most valuable customers’ needs, removing roadblocks from their path and streamlining the user experience. The following is a retrospective of the problem identification, product designing process, and solution creation.
With the promise of Invaluable’s Hack Day (one Friday to prototype new projects, hackathon-style) on the horizon, my manager suggested that I make a case to revamp one of our Cold Fusion pages by diving into on of my Google Analytics dashboards.
I noticed that Invaluable’s artist pages, dedicated pages for users to see items-at-auction and past sale prices for a favorite artist, generated a huge amount of traffic compromising 8.5% of all page views across Invaluable. Despite this, the artist database, the client-facing tool for accessing these pages, received <1% of page views, suggesting that users were looking for alternative search methods. Indeed, the vast majority of users were coming from Google search results pages, indicating that users were unhappy with Invaluable’s offerings. We knew from past research that customers that frequently buy at auction, such as art collectors or dealers, were simultaneous power-users of these pages, meaning that a redesign of the artist database could greatly increase the satisfaction of our most-valuable users.
From there, I started working with my colleague on the UX team to come up with a new solution. Starting with a competitive analysis of Invaluable’s biggest competitors (Artsy, 1stdibs, and Paddle8), combined with a look at how Invaluable conducts search in other areas of the site, we put together a common design language to describe what users can expect from search in our product. My colleague quickly prototyped a few new versions of the search tool that we presented and iterated upon based on interviews conducted with colleagues in engineering, product, customer experience, and sales. Below are a few screenshots from the designs that we put together:
Feedback from our colleagues was positive, but we were most pleased by our engineers, who stated that our implementation of search would make their work easier by modifying previously-used code. By basing our design on the Gallery search system, we knew engineer workloads would be minimal. The implementation of the Gallery search tool also increased traffic to gallery pages, something we were hoping to replicate.
Prototypes were presented the following Monday, where I put together a short powerpoint showcasing our rationale while walking through our updates to the UI. The full-scale version of this update wasn’t completed by the end of my internship, but has been added to Invaluable’s product roadmap as part of a site-wide migration away from Cold Fusion.
Reflection: What did I learn?
Data can lead design. Never having used Google Analytics before, the research portion of this project was all new to me. Following this, I knew the power of web analytics data in a product setting, and continued to use it to understand where our product was succeeding or failing for the remainder of my internship.
Learn from your past… I’d been present in user interviews before, and being able to re-use qualitative interviews to understand how power-users (like collectors) were interacting with our product gave me the clues to make my discovery in the first place!
…and your peers. Speaking with my colleagues in product, engineering, and customer experience allowed me to quickly aggregate common pain points, heuristics, and other information that shortened the research process — critical for getting our entire project done in a single work day!
My time at invaluable gave me the chance to dive deeply into other aspects of product work, including formal UX research. More info coming soon…