BACKERS
Backers sources and consolidates top trending products from major crowdfunding platforms into an easy and convenient single app.
THE CHALLENGE: LACK OF ONE-STOP SHOP
Users are drawn to crowdfunding sites for exclusive, innovative products with a desire to see all options in order to select the one that best fits their needs. However, most item offerings are exclusive to each site, making it time-consuming and overwhelming for users to shop multiple sites for essentially the same types of products.

Wouldn't it be great if hot and new trending products across all major crowdfunding platforms are consolidated into one easy and convenient app? That's where Backers comes in.
THE OBJECTIVE
Backers delivers the full breadth of crowdfunding products available in a single, one-stop shop to reduce browsing time and learning curves of multiple sites.

My Role
This was the final case study project during my time at Bitmaker's full-time UX & Product Design course. My role involved competitive research, user research (interviews and personas), design (low-high fidelity, iterations, a/b testing, style tiles) and final prototyping.

My Tools
The tools that I used included Sketch, Principle, InVision, Whimsical, and Adobe Photoshop.
IDEATION: TOO MANY SITES, TOO LITTLE TIME
As an active pledger, I personally experienced pain points with crowdfunding sites for 2 main reasons:
1. ~70% of items are exclusive to each platform: This has been highly time-consuming for me as a user to have to learn and shop different sites for the same types of products.
2. ~30% of items are available on multiple platforms: This causes frustration as time is wasted reviewing items that I have already viewed from other sites.

Because of these tension points, I wanted to create a solution that provides users with a full product list and saves time.

Examples of multiple crowdfunding sites one will need to use to find the right project.
COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS
I was surprised to see that there are no apps currently on the market that offer a solution to this problem I have. I found an app called Canopy which takes a similar approach to my idea.

Canopy provides a curated list of trending products available on Amazon. The curated list is generated by people at the company and once a user finds a product, they will be externally linked to the Amazon product page.

I wanted to adapt this transactional approach because I didn't want to be liable for backing/purchases within my app. When the user is externally linked to the crowd funding page, they are 100% liable for all transactions between the company and the user.

Canopy, an app that provides a curated list of popular Amazon products.
USER RESEARCH
Objective
Understand the drivers and barriers of crowdfunding sites.

Sample
  • n=10 (8 males, 2 females)
  • Must have shopped at least one crowdfunding site
Ideally I wanted to recruit current users but it's a small group of the population, so I had to loosen the criteria and include users that are familiar with crowdfunding sites.

Questions
Point of Entry - How did you hear about crowdfunding sites? What platform did you start on? What else have you shopped?

Navigation - Where do you start browsing? How do you filter the products?

Drivers - What made you back the product? Tell me what you backed? Why?

Barriers - What's stopping you from backing a product? Are there any pain points that's stopping you?
TOP 3 LEARNINGS AND SOLUTIONS
Top Crowdfunding Sites
Learning: Most users are familiar with the top crowdfunding sites, few use all three.

Solution: Backers needs to source from these top crowdfunding sites to show credibility and scope of coverage.
Experienced Users
Learning: Heavy users are risk taking early adopters that thrive to be ahead of the trend.

Solution: Push only top trending and new products to the homefeed, so these users will know the latest hot trending items.
Light Users
Learning: Risk averse users are not comfortable with backing a project yet, but show interest.

Solution: Create a page where low-risk products are available and cater content to new users.
PERSONAS
After reviewing the interviews, I chose to focus on the primary and secondary personas.

Primary
Experienced user that is actively backing projects on websites, but is overwhelmed with navigating multiple websites to find the best product.

Secondary
The less experienced user who browses crowdfunding sites but has yet to pledge money to a product. They are often influenced by their social networks, purchasing products recommended by others.
USER FLOW
The user flow posted is an early iteration of how I initially envisioned the user's journey. After the onboarding screens, I wanted to enforce the user would not be able to proceed using the app without creating an account. To increase user sign-ups, I thought this would be the best approach, but after receiving feedback and user testing I found this to be quite the opposite. I should give the user a chance to experience browsing the app after onboarding.
Sign In/Sign Up
Navigation
DESIGN, FEEDBACK, AND REFINEMENT
Low-Fidelity Screens
Homepage Iteration #1

The first illustration shows an early idea of how I wanted the products displayed in the home feed. On a small device, this layout can be troublesome as the information and buttons can be too small for the user to click on. Also if multiple items are displayed, the homefeed can look a bit too congested.

Homepage Iteration #2

I eliminated two products in one row and cut it down to one. This would solve the issue for small devices and provides more real estate for the product to show. I included a status bar to show how much percentage of the product requires funding.

Homepage Iteration #3

I wanted to expand the product information. I had an idea to include more product information on top of a grey box overlay the main product image. I later realized that the overlay could block the product in the background. I chose to design another iteration because of this.

Homepage Iteration #4

The last iteration I had is trying to condense the overlay to one rectangle. The layout looks cleaner compared to the last iteration, but after receiving further user testing I chose to remove this overlay in my final hi-fi. As a preview page in the home feed, I wanted to keep the product page as minimal as possible.

Medium Fidelity
Working from the Homefeed #4 iteration from the low-fidelity screens, I wanted to condense the design. I removed the "+" and "like" button as well as the progress bar that displayed additional information. With the removal of these buttons, I feel that it provides a cleaner look to the product.
High Fidelity
Working from the Medium-Fidelity screens, I started to add the final images. I chose to make the CTA the colour 'blue' of Backers for brand identity and consistency.
FEATURE FEED
The last problem that was found among my users were the participants that browse these sites, but can not get past the comfort barrier of backing projects. This "Feature" feed will be used to help ease newcomers into the crowdfunding world by offering low-risk, low-cost trendy items. Curated content by the staff from Backers will also use this space for up to date news in tech.
BRANDING
Logo
Early in the branding process, I was stuck thinking too literal on the "money" and "coins" to see what I can brainstorm. After feedback and suggestions of the logo, I thought of using a rocket. The rocket can symbolize the product and as it's getting funded the engines are starting, and once the product is funded it's essentially "taking off". I adjusted the rocket to have an angle to show the rocket at its peak.

Name
The name "Backers" was inspired by the action of the user. When a user pledges to fund an item, they're essentially "backing the product up" with hopes of the order being fulfilled. Backing up and Backers seemed to fit naturally, so I decided to go with it.
STYLE TILE
I wanted to keep the colours very neutral and calm. I chose a typeface that was modern and very legible. Initially I proposed to have the crowdfunding brand colours for the CTA's on the product page. In order to keep consistency, I kept the buttons one consistent solid colour so the user wouldn't be overwhelmed with too many different coloured CTA's.
KEY LEARNINGS
Branding
Branding was one of the areas in which I spent too much time on. I was stuck in the literal bubble of how I can incorporate money and funding into the branding. I didn't think broadly enough and I could've asked my peers early in the process.

User Interviews
Because of the niche market of users funding crowdfunding projects, user research was a bit difficult to find candidates that are experienced with backing projects. To increase my network, I can search subreddit categories that specialize in crowdfunding and message users who are active with backing projects. Providing an incentive for users such as a gift card can hopefully entice them to participate in the survey.
PROTOTYPE
Made on
Tilda