Two young entrepreneurs from Northwestern came up with an idea for a social media platform where users could engage in social media challenges through video. They were inspired by the Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral in 2014 in support of ALS. Based on multiple rounds of concept testing and competitive analysis, our two person team transformed Mogo from an idea that wasn't gaining traction with users, to a video focused event and fundraising platform.
The clients already had a clickable prototype, so our first step was conducting a heuristic evaluation. Based on Nielsen’s Usability Severity Ratings, we rated the functions, features, and user flows of the prototype based on a scale of 0-4 - with 0 being no usability issue and 4 being a catastrophic usability issue. Out of 32 potential usability issues, the prototype received a score of 24.
After the heuristic evaluation, we broadly researched social media. We thought domain research would help us understand more about our target audience and what interests people about social media. We found users between the ages of 18-24 were the most frequent users of social media, but that wasn’t enough information to narrow down a user base. We moved into a competitive analysis and concept testing to gather more information about what draws users to social media.
What other platforms allowed users to challenge each other? We found several applications attempting to facilitate social media challenges, but either user bases were low or the application had major usability issues. We decided to dig deeper into what motivated users to engage in social media challenges.
We investigated two groups of users - one group of general social media users between the ages of 18-24 and another group of users that specifically engaged in social media challenges. We listed out assumptions for validation, research questions, and interview questions for both sets of users.
Key assumptions included:
- People wanted to complete social media challenges
- People wanted to complete challenges for charity
- The goal of social media challenges is to have fun
To validate these assumptions, we wandered around the streets of Chicago to investigate the mental spaces of social media users and challenge participants.
The first group of users we interviewed were general social media users. We asked them about the way they use social media and if they are motivated to participate in challenges.
Key Questions included:
- What kinds of social media do you use and for what reasons?
- What would entice you to download a new social media application?
- How do you use video sharing platforms?
- Do you engage in social media challenges?
We started broad and moved into deeper questions surrounding the specifics around social media use and challenges. We wanted to find out if people were really interested in challenges.
The response was clear:
- Users were apprehensive towards downloading a new social media application
- Users had little interest in social media challenges
- Users were not motivated to share videos to public platforms
- Users are interested in a cause, but not interested in completing a challenge for a cause
“I don’t need another social media app. I have Instagram and Facebook.”
Overall we found very little interest in the idea of challenges, so we moved on to find users that had participated in challenges to get an idea of their motivations and behaviors. Only 30% of users we interviewed were social media challengers and their engagement with challenges were under very specific circumstances.
- Peer pressure
We found there was an identification with cultural standards of masculinity among users. Many users participated in challenges because they didn’t want to display signs of weakness in front their peers, and in almost every instance, users were not participating in challenges because of the cause. For example, users who had participated in the ice bucket challenge had little knowledge or interest in ALS. Additionally, many users mentioned they participated in challenges because celebrities or other figures of power.
“I cant wimp out.”
Most notably, we discovered that social media challengers engaged in challenges through Facebook and had little interest in downloading an application the facilitate challenges.
Overall, users uninvolved in challenges weren't interested in downloading a new social media application and similarly, users involved in challenges weren't interested in downloading an application that facilitated challenges disproving our initial assumptions.
Moving forward, we knew we had to persuade the client into pivoting, and transform Mogo into both an idea that satisfied the client and simultaneously provided value to users. Based on our initial research, we determined a scope for coming up with a new idea.
We had to come up with a tool that:
- Is video focused
- Makes users feel creative
- Visually inspiring
- Facilitates a good cause
- Easy to share and integrate with other social media platforms
Specifics points in the user feedback inspired us to explore the idea of using social media for a good cause. We examined the competitive landscape of fundraising platforms and charity applications to determine current gaps in the marketplace and to see how we could piece together a viable idea.
Again, we wanted to provide the client with an idea moving forward and present the data in a visually compelling way. To do this we created a persona and a journey map. The persona represents a young, creative social media user that is interested in a good cause, but doesn't necessarily have the motivation to deal with the formality of fundraising platforms.
The journey map presents a user trigged by events on Facebook to invest in a special cause. In this case, the user is triggered by flooding to download an application that lets him create a video to spread the word about a natural disaster.
At this point in the process we were honing in on idea that users are triggered by a special even but need an easy way to get involved through social media. Based on this principle, we came up with a series of design principle to guide us through the process of designing a new idea.
- Bridges the gap: Mogo bridges the gap between a video and a purpose
- The what and the why: Mogo wants you to put your ideas out into the world with the ability to edit, enhance, and add a unique touch that speaks your intentions and originality
- Friendly and accessible: with a few simple steps, the user can achieve the goal of supporting a cause without the formality of fundraising platforms
After defined a specific alternative to the original concept of Mogo, we presented our research findings and visual deliverables to the client. This was challenging because we had to tell the client that their idea wasn’t attractive to users, but because we had research and a plan to back up our claims, the clients were persuaded to move forward with the design process.
After a thorough discussion with the client, we wanted to make sure our new idea was video focused. We conducted a third round of competitive analysis exploring video editing and sharing platforms on the market.
The third and final round of competitive analysis helped us define a concrete idea for a prototype. We found a gap between video editing platforms, fundraising platforms, and event sharing. There are many video editing platforms on the market, but none are used for a purpose or a special event. We decided to connect the dots and give users an easy and creative way to create a video for a purpose. Below are some of my initial sketches.
Then we jumped into wire framing and prototyping. My teammate decided to build an application where the user could create a video within the app and share it through social media. My prototype differed in that a user could upload videos and edit them within the platform. I was responsible for the second wireframe presented below.
We reinforced the idea of creating a platform that bridged the gap between video and a cause with as few steps as possible with the ability to express creativity. We wanted to users to capture the “what” and “why” through video, and be able to track the progress of their cause or special event.
For concept testing we sought out users that had experience in fundraising and nonprofit work. The feedback was positive and users were attracted to the idea.
- Users agreed the video editing feature was the differentiator
- They were drawn to the simplicity of creating an event or a cause
- They liked being able to upload and edit a video rather than create a video within the application
- Thought it could be a powerful tool for charity and nonprofit work
“If given to the organization [charity] in the right way, this tool could be really powerful.”
We found several opportunities for improvement including more information in the on boarding process, icons and toggle clarification, and suggestions for donations.
After concept testing we presented our prototypes and testing feedback to the client. They liked the idea, but were still attached to the original concept of Mogo. To emphasize impact of differentiation in a business context, I presented the clients with the success story of Instagram. Instagram was previously an all encompassing social media platform called Burbn. When they found that users were flocking to the photos editing features, they relaunched as a photo editing platform. Within one week, they gained over 100,000 users, and 18 months later they were bought by Facebook for 1 billion dollars. Our client’s jaws dropped and any apprehension the had about moving forward with the new Mogo disappeared.
After defining an initial concept and testing it with users, we had specific feedback allowing us to easily converge on a final prototype.
- Build out video editing features
- Remove the ability to create a video through the app
- Integration with social media
- Contribution suggestions and a list of whose donated
- User feed
- Front end user and back end user
- Create a fundraising campaign
- Edit and piece together a video
- Share to the platform
- Explore other causes and events
The video creation and editing flow bears special consideration, because it is the primary creative medium within the app. Since this is the case, I've emphasized it in the following enlarged wireframe.
Usability test key takeaways:
- Users were confused by certain language, toggles and icons
- Users wanted a way to filter through their feed of causes and special events
- Users consistently emphasized their interest in using the application for a variety of causes and special events.
“I can use this to organize my annual events. Cool!”
If more time were available, we’d consider consulting with nonprofits to find out if it would improve their donation revenue. Furthermore, we’d explore the idea of building out an area for customer service and communication between donators and facilitators. Additionally, we’d add a way for users to view a list of Facebook friends that have pending causes or special events.
I learned how to tackle an ambiguous project and how to transform an idea into a viable product that both satisfied the client and brought value to the user. During this project I read two marketing books: All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Goden and Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday. I learned about the idea of narrowing down a target audience and the importance of differentiation by looking at gaps in the market and narrowing down specific features. Lastly, I learned how confidently present a new idea to a client backed by research and user feedback. If you like my work and are interested in building something together, I'd love to hear from you