UX Research and Product Design

Project Background: The current business model has three revenue streams:  website advertising, sponsorships for downloading informational PDFs, and selling leads from converted users. The website accrues roughly $10 million per year for their long-form content which caters to a specialized user. This content is primarily created by authors who submit content.

Obstacles and Thoughts: Over the past two years, the site has decreased in downloads, ad clicks and leads. Increased competition with innovative ways of viewing content types along with authors is emerging. Upon comparative analysis of the current competitors, the site may want to experiment and simplify their approach to funnel users into a more customized experience to help conversions as well as engagement. The authors are also asking to expand the content types such as video and audio to assist in the creation and maintenance of own influencer status along with easily digestible analytics.

Project Objectives: Design a cross platform Discovery Engine for the user to easily search, find recommended content, as well as browse easily for an enhanced experience. The search engine discovery engine is an added value to the business model. This solution will allow the business to keep the same business model while adding to the current revenue stream and experimenting with different content types, such as videos, specialized webinars, podcasts and white papers to find traction and patterns of use for further growth or deprecation.

  • Experiment with adding to the revenue base for new advertising opportunities.
  • Experiment with new content types to understand where to allocate the business resources.
  • Increase conversions for joining and returning to the site.
  • Allow for the user to find content hidden on the site opening more advertising opportunities.

 Methods of Research:

  • Analytics via Mixpanel, Google Analytics, Inspectlet, User Testing and Surveys.
  • Competitive Analysis via review of sites as well as specialized informational software, such as Clearbit and Bombora.
  • Review of renewed sponsored content and sentiment.
  • Review of new registrations and repeated visits.

Research Insights: The current business model supports the United States demographic leads for resale. In order to attract this user, our focus is the USA content. The problem is the sponsored downloads are not being utilized by the American market.

Also, many of the authors are opting to use Medium as well as the current business site to enhance their SEO, which risks an eventual phasing out of the business model of utilizing author’s to provide content as they may eventually opt for Medium or Dev.to.

Solution Requirements: Create a Discovery Engine which is multi-purpose as a search engine, recommendation engine as well as a portal for the site to allow for the user to have as much content in as many content types they may like to view, bookmark, share and even add to, if they wish.

The beginning of the solutions must allocate for the current ad model and how to expand upon this with the Discovery Engine. The image below is a quick sketch overview of architecture of the site in regards to the engine included with the regular content in a very broad term.

This is an additional module to the site which will become the search engine and a way to browse very similarly to how Amazon operates. The site will require new pages for this experiment to allocate for a series of videos/podcasts and a combination if the author releases both types for consumption. Below is a quick sketch of the templating required at a high-level to select endpoints of development and optimize the design and business discussion.

Iterative Strategy: During these tests, UX creates templated pages for the content type pages which prove to testing usability and traction. Th layouts ranging from the look and feel of Product Hunt to Netflix. Our results are tracked with Mixpanel, Google Analytics, and Inspectlet along with User Testing to view patterns of behavior. The development tools are React, Apollo, and GraphQL to ensure a faster development testing environment.