Drivetribe is a motoring community aimed at petrolheads. Founding members are Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. Drivetribe launched 6 months before I joined, and a few months after I joined a new CEO was appointed.
Drivetribe is a fairly complex product with a wide range of users, and it's rapid growth had resulted in some growing pains, I joined to focus on improving the usability of the app and website, and work on optimising the user experience. Since I joined it has doubled in size, we launched a ton of popular features, we redesigned all core pages on the website, and redesigned the iOS and Android App.
A Design System
When I joined there was inconsistency as the product strategy had changed but there was still a lot of old artifacts left, also the brand had developed further and marketing and product needed to come together more.
I created a new style guide, using the atomic framework where we could build new components from, here are some excerpts from this:
This is set up as a Sketch Library, so everyone on the team could quickly start working with the new design system, it sped up development and prototyping.
Users on our product were happy and enjoyed using the product, but there was much les information known about users who do not sign in or drop off. I took an effort in spending about 20% of my working time researching our users, I used this process:
Gathering representative users
Based on the usage on the platform, together with a data analyst we identified an outline of people we should talk to:
- A total car fan who loves everything automotive
- A more casual person who might occasionally read some car entertainment
- someone who is passionate about their own car
- an automotive photographer or writer
- someone who used our product before but is not anymore
- someone using our competitor products but not ours
As it was important that we did not accidentally narrow down our research only to users that are very active on the website, so I ran a facebook ad targeted at people liking our facebook page, and our competitors Facebook page, which linked to a Google Form. I then had a screening call with users who were available for a Skype or on-site interview and made sure the users where representative of our target audience.
Interviews and follow up research
Based on my past experience with user research I was able to have productive interviews with all users and translate this in real usable feedback, I memorised a script which I organically covered based on how our conversation went, avoiding leading and using open questions. And creating a comfortable atmosphere for users when asking them to talk us through how they would use the website or app.
Learn and validate
This open ended research was good establishing a more user driven culture, I also established a testing relationship with users who I can now ask for feedback for new designs.
We created product personas and I identified a list of quick fixes which we fixed in the weeks after. A few examples of these are:
- App Users that are not signed in and have dismissed the log in modal, now have no feedback that they are not signed in. The fix was to have better feedback that the user is not signed in by changing the header. Leading to a significant increase in signed in users.
- The logo was misunderstood, it reads “D_TRB” so we changed most instances of our logo to a text version of our logo which says “DRIVETRIBE” which is much clearer. In later tests we identified that new users were much more likely to recommend Drivetribe to a friend when they recognised the logo.
After establishing this we started to validate all our solutions with structured user research, which is typically creating a prototype in Invision, and asking users open ended questions to understand what they think of the solution. We use in person interviews or something a bit faster like usertesting.com. An example of that we tested was the Direct Messaging flow (Invision link)
Part of the research insight I gathered was that our homepage was not performing optimally, the platform had changed when it grew from a couple thousand users to more than a million users and we established new goals:
- We want to showcase the best content on the platform
- Drivetribe needs to be understood immediately by new users
The homepage had a 40% increase of users spending time on this page, and engagement went up about 20% for current users.
App redesign, the app was cleaned up, became more content driven, and was easier to understand for new users too. Which increased the usage statistics, uninstalls went down a lot and sign ups increased by about 50%.