HERE’S THE GIST:
Our client was Jill Salzman, founder of The Founding Moms, a business development service for female entrepreneurs. She came to my team because she wanted to increase the number of her online members. Our user research dictated that we seek to increase her conversion rate by developing her brand. As a result, my team’s solution was to provide a library of features to faciliate growth and mentorships within her userbase, along with redesigning her website. Our solutions were highly regarded by our client who plans to eventually implement them.
Team Member(s): Mark Pragides, James Doroba, Frederick Vitale, Stephanie Heckman
Duration: Three weeks
Tools: Adobe Illustrator, Marvel, Figma, Sketch
SO WHAT’S THE FOUNDING MOMS?
And our client, the one running the show, is Jill Salzman. She’s been a self-made businesswoman for a while now, and The Founding Moms is her third entrepreneurial venture. Best known for her Ted Talk: Why Moms Make the Best Entrepreneurs.
Jill was an absolute pleasure to work with during the course of this project.
THAT’S COOL, BUT WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SOLVE?
I’m glad you asked. So when Jill came to my team, she expressed concern over her considerable lack of online (paid) members, especially since her (free) membership was growing well. As a result, our problem statement was…
Determine a solution to expand the amount of current monthly online members.
Increase the conversion rate of offline to online memberships.
GREAT! TELL ME ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH.
For starters, we conducted a survey to non-members and members, and collected quantifiable data on their behavior and practices as businesspeople.
We found that the users who come to The Founding Moms are older, stable women looking for guidance in pushing their businesses further.
We also found that the users of the Founding Moms believe it is a great community resource, but this is not apparent to non-users.
And female entrepreneurs are looking for credible, nurturing people to confide in their business concerns.
Additionally, we interviewed non-members and members of The Founding Moms to determine their values and experiences as businesspeople, and how that may or may not have connected them to our client.
I really like when I see websites with star or plus ratings because it gives them credibility and I feel more comfortable reaching out to them.
– Sarah, Non-user
As a business owner, it [The Founding Moms] told me that I have to look outside to take it further. The meetups were too inconsistent for me.
– Katheryn, Former Member
Founding Moms gave me the confidence and direction I needed to publish my book and formalize my business.
– Kim, Member
ANALYSIS TIME! WHAT DID THIS ALL TELL YOU?
Quite a lot, really! After our research provided us with an abundance of quantitative and qualitative data, we organized and narrowed down our data through affinity mapping and arrived the following key insights:
- Users love Jill and view her as the “brand”.
- They see a disconnect from the “online” Jill with the “in-person” Jill (but accept the difference).
- Some non-users that are first introduced to the Founding Moms website appreciate the informal tone, but find the persona as “over the top”.
- The FM Community (Forum/MeetUps) is not clearly represented to new visitors on the Founding Moms website and are often used separately by users.
Based on these key insights, we determined that the core values of the users are as follows:
Ultimately, what we were able to conclude about the value being offered to their users is that The Founding Moms is…
…for those women who have their own business that they want to grow, who value family, flexibility, balance, and independence.
…is a community that offers information, empowerment, confidence through community.
…unlike other business groups that offer information void of the personal experiences of other entrepreneur moms.
OKAY, HOTSHOT. WHAT’S YOUR DESIGN STRATEGY?
Alright, alright. Once it became clear that the users of The Founding Moms were receiving a core value as a byproduct that our client wasn’t actively promoting, it also became apparent that our design solution would likely ask our client Jill to pivot considerably from her current business model.
As a result, we strove to make certain that our design principles and ideation tools we used were not only reflective of our users, but that our solution was also feasible by Jill’s means of operations.
From these values, we established the following design principles for our potential solution:
- incorporate the Founding Moms Community into the brand.
- strike a balance between the “online” and “in-person” Jill persona.
- encourage cross-pollination across the Forum and meet-ups.
We determined from our interviewees that our users could be identified as one of three different stages: A non-user, a user, and experienced user. As a result, we adapted our research participants into the following personas:
We used the personas during a rapid-fire ideation session with another group to create potential solutions, focusing on how the solution would be applicable to users regardless of which persona they represent.
AND…WHAT’S YOUR DESIGN SOLUTION?
Our design ideation sessions made it clear that our solution would need to have long-term applications, and we ultimately came to the following two-part solution.
Provide a library of features that Founding Moms can offer that encourage support and participation amongst non-users, average users, and veteran users.
Restructure the website interface to better reflect upon Jill and the FM community.
SO HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT BUILDING OUT THIS OUT?
It sure wasn’t easy. Our solution involved a lot of moving parts, but we wanted to make sure we didn’t lose sight of the sense of community the solution was supposed to provide its users.
That said, we worked out our solution through concept sketching. I contributed a lot at this stage by drawing out rough experience maps that illustrate the value proposition in our solution.
WHAT ABOUT USER TESTING? HOW’D YOU VALIDATE THIS?
Once we created sufficient mockups and experience maps of our solution, we user-tested our concepts with people within the user demographic of The Founding Moms. We received the following results:
- The immediate positive response from non-users.
- Symbiosis over the sense of community among members.
- The features did not fully represent the mission statement of the Founding Moms.
- The user journey was still unclear on the website interface with the new library of features.
BRING IT ON HOME! WHAT ARE YOUR FINAL DELIVERABLES?
Based on the results of the user-tests, the final deliverables were my greatest contribution to the project. I assisted in constructing the following design artifacts to be used when we presented our solution to Jill.
I created the chart for the entire Founding Moms Library. This highlighted the new features we’d introduce, who would use it, and how they would benefit both the users and business.
I also created the Community page on The Founding Mom’s website, which introduced one of our new concepts (FM Evenings) and emphasizes the sense of community within the business.
I helped to create the Experience map to coincide with the Founding Moms Library. It used the personas we made to give a visual representation of how a non-user would become an experienced member due to our library.
WHAT WERE THE FINAL RESULTS OF YOUR PROJECT?
Jill Salzman was very receptive to both of our solutions. Regarding the UI design of her website, she was initially apprehensive about the adjusting her brand image, but she was onboard when we presented how it was directly reflective of her users’ insights. With the FM Library, Jill saw the potential in the majority of its features, citing its feasibility for her team. She plans to implement both solutions as a long-term project for The Founding Moms.
Based on our overall feedback, our next steps would be to flesh out the details for the various offerings in the FM Library. I would present their specific value to the user in the form of service blueprints. I would also work on creating a more high-fidelity prototype that presents more of the with features within the FM Library. Ultimately, our solution–with its longevity–is highly adaptive and will be as adjusted as the value of users evolve.