2020 in Review: Product Design
By Natalie Forman • Jan 11, 2021
It’s hard to know where to start when recapping a year like 2020. Last year, we used the word “foundational” to describe our work and progress. This year, the word that comes to mind to describe the changes and projects that the Product Design Team has accomplished is “transformative.”
- We learned how to function as a remote-first team; we adjusted our processes and standards so that we could conduct interviews, facilitate workshops and onboard new team members virtually.
- We designed a new content marketing agency website to align with company acquisitions.
- Our product team grew to support our maturing processes and by improving the UI and UX of the press release product we helped increase revenue by 300%.
- While navigating these new projects, we also managed to stay reader-focused and rebrand our newsletters, redesign our lead generation gate and elevate editorial content below our articles.
It’s hard not to be proud of what the team was able to accomplish during such a difficult year full of change.
studioID marketing website
Goal: Design a marketing website for our new content marketing agency, studioID
The process: In just six weeks, we designed a new website for our in-house content marketing studio. We started by facilitating discussions with stakeholders to help define and standardize their vision for the brand and website. Then, we created consensus among stakeholders on the essential features for the initial launch of the website.
Pairing stakeholder requirements with new brand guidelines, we designed the homepage. The homepage laid the groundwork for the rest of the site, establishing color, typography, and imagery patterns to tell studioIDs story. After adding lead generation opportunities throughout the site, the studioID digital presence was announced to the world.
Product designers: Natalie Forman, Julia Himmel
Team: Kendall Davis, Rhythm Shahriar
Learn more: Designing studioID’s marketing website
Goal: Help PR professionals plan their PR strategy and save money by purchasing packages of press releases
The outcome: Our clients in the PR and marketing industry post many press releases across multiple industries for different companies. To help them plan their press release distribution and save money, we designed a self-serve checkout flow that allows them to purchase packages of press releases that they can use at any point in the future. With this new process, clients can easily purchase press releases without talking to customer support or a sales executive to receive a discount. The new feature has already led to 30+ different package deals in less than six months.
Product designer: Natalie Forman
Team: Xavier Rivera-Lanza, Willie Brown, Colin Burr, Arvind Chandra, James Holcombe, Bo Morin, Miriam Sexton
The Product Design Team has transformed our press release product from a simple submission form to a comprehensive platform for sharing company announcements. The new e-commerce patterns have increased customer satisfaction and revenue.– Xavier Rivera-Lanza, Product Manager
Posting across different publications
Goal: Enable PR professionals to easily post a press release across multiple Dive publications
The outcome: After creating the packages checkout process, we decided to highlight our related publications in the submission process. Often our clients are not aware of all of the industries we cover and the opportunity they provide in increasing the reach of their message. We designed a checkout feature for clients to easily select additional publications to post their announcement to as well as receive discounts for cross-postings. After the initial launch we iterated on the feature to incorporate data and suggest publications that were more likely to be applicable to the PR professional.
Product designer: Julia Himmel
Team: Xavier Rivera-Lanza, Willie Brown, Colin Burr, Mark Chae, Arvind Chandra, James Holcombe, Bo Morin, Miriam Sexton
The Industry Dive publications draw leaders across 23 industries, daily, for news, insights and trends. The Product Design Team brilliantly designed the cross-posting feature to help companies announce their news instantly to multiple audiences seeking their insights and ideas. The team has built a valuable bridge between readers and industry newsmakers.– Jessica Saba, Senior Director of Press Release Distribution
Goal: Create a strong, memorable brand for our newsletters to reduce churn and increase engagement
The process: With the expansion of our topic focused offerings, our newsletters needed more distinct branding to reduce confusion around what was being delivered to our readers’ inbox.
We started the rebrand by completing a competitive analysis of other media publications with multiple email offerings. Using our findings, we facilitated a workshop with stakeholders to define new newsletter brands and naming conventions. With stakeholder buy-in, we redesigned the headers of our newsletter templates so they are more memorable and clearly indicate the content topic and frequency of send.
Product designer: Jordan Branch
Team: Colin Burr, James Holcombe, Willie Brown, Bo Morin
Learn more: Rebranding our newsletters
Goal: Redesign the lead generation gate on our Trendline editorial product to reduce confusion and increase conversion
The process: Last year, we wrote a post about a new editorial product called Trendlines. Trendlines were conceived to pair our high-quality editorial content with lead generation capabilities.
This year, we redesigned the Trendline gate to provide readers with better context on the value of the content behind the form. The new design led to an increase in the conversion rate and increased our clients’ interest in the product. The new gate is also flexible enough that it can be used with other products in the future.
Product designers: Jordan Branch & Natalie Forman
Team: Tony Bagdon, Greg Linch, Eric Falchier, Derek Sharp, Mays Rubaye, Miriam Sexton
Suggested content component
Goal: Suggest editorial content below articles to increase reader engagement
The outcome: We wanted to increase readers’ awareness of our high quality, intensive editorial content. With much of our traffic coming directly to the article page, we had no way to feature high profile projects for readers unless they were performing well at that time and appeared in the sidebar. To allow editors to feature work that they are proud of, or is evergreen and not driven by the news cycle, we designed a section below articles to feature content. Now, once finished reading an article, readers can peruse curated editorial content as well as articles recently published related to what they are reading.
Product designer: Natalie Forman
Team: Greg Linch, Eric Falchier, Derek Sharp, Mays Rubaye, Miriam Sexton
When I train new staff in our CMS, I always tell them how incredible it is to have an in-house team that creates new features for us.
The new Editor's Picks and suggested readings feature are but one recent example of why. We have a niche audience, with even more niche interests. A reader in the Utility space may care about the industry, but is dealing with specific issues in their day-to-day. The new features allow us to target our stories more directly to them, providing them with additional value and (hopefully) earning their loyalty. What's not to love?– Edwin Lopez, Editorial Operations Manager