Creating a new product is one thing. Running the business is another.
2011 – 2015
KEEP THE BUSINESS RUNNING, MAKE IT GROW
Design requests are coming from all over the place. Product needs all sorts of improvements and maintenance. Marketing needs new landing pages for their campaigns. Infra wants design chops to improve internal tools. HR would like the career site refreshed.
I led design for operations team, handling small to medium sized projects supporting various functional teams.
A product always has a room for improvement. My main duty was to define and tackle problems of the live product. I fixed broken designs, updated existing features and created new ones collaborating with PMs, engineers and stakeholders.
The lean startup had integrated many third party solutions into the product. This approach allowed the company to build and iterate fast at the cost of housekeeping. When they introduce new payment channels in Brazil, for example, I would grab appropriate logo, tweak them as needed and deploy.
I also took care of various design needs for marketing, infrastructure and HR by creating emails, landing pages, infographics, internal tools and a career site.
LET’S WORK WITH US
Career site is where an interesting mind game between the company and the candidate begins. Just as if they are on a blind date, they meet and greet, get to know each other, and with a bit of magic, share moments in life together.
Though the one we had was perfectly functional, it wasn’t doing a good job at eliciting certain positive emotional responses we wanted. And we wanted to fix it. Interviews with company leaders and employees combined with my experience at the company yielded lego blocks: people, culture, company value, benefit, recognition. They would talk to both sides of the brain supplementing each other.
Photos of employees taken in a company-hosted halloween party were blended with the product’s signature yellow to portray inviting and friendly mood up in the header. List of values and perks were tightened to convey the company’s empowering and motivating culture. Minimal visual elements and active use of negative space were placed to build trustworthiness.
STAND OUT FROM THE REST
Premium Names is a feature for loyal users who want to stand out from the rest with a unique name, one of the most outstanding social currencies in the anonymous social network. A sumptuously dark look and feel intends to arouse quality experience you’d expect in a luxury brand shop.
The idea came around mainly as a credit sink mechanism when IMVU made a significant change in its creator payment system. Despite the doubt, the result exceeded way beyond our expectations.
HOW IMVU BECAME THE WORLD’S LARGEST VIRTUAL GOODS CATALOG
“I was just guessing at numbers and figures pulling your puzzles apart.” — <The Scientist> by Coldplay
Finding the meaning of something is becoming more important as the sheer amount of information explodes. It requires time and effort to distinguish signal from noise. The infographic illustrates series of noteworthy milestones IMVU had in its 9 year history until it became the largest virtual goods catalog.
DAILY CREDIT AWARD
MORE VISITS ✕ MORE FRIENDS = MORE CREDITS
Daily Credit Award was as an effort to increase retention rate and user connections. It would grant you Credits, the virtual currency you could use to buy items, based on visiting streaks and number of friends.
I also designed landing pages and emails for marketing gigs.
WHAT I LEARNED
THE VIRTUE OF LOOKING AT THE PAST
While I was jumping back and forth between projects touching different aspects of a product for years, a lot of challenges were coming from shortsighted design decisions in the past that some call design debt.
It is partially understandable considering that what we know now was unknown at that time. But I have to admit that many of them were just out of poor design, and had we asked “if it’s the right thing to do” more diligently, some pain could’ve been saved.
Even then, we will still have to make that kind of decisions often times because available resources — time, budget, human, knowledge, tools, etc. — are limited. Technological advances, however, make what was impossible then possible today cheaper and faster.
We need to re-evaluate our past compromises before it’s too late. What we dreamed of could be just a click away.