Laughly Web #WIP
Lead UX designer, visual designer, and researcher for the "Spotify of Stand-up Comedy."
Driving feature definition and design from beta, through launch, and now to over 250,000 users. Featured on the Apple App Store 4+ times.
Everything below is a WIP - please ignore
Past Onboarding Iterations
Improved registration by 25% and 10-day stickiness by 20%
Onboarding was bare bones when I joined, but with time and data we realized that a comedy-only app was a new idea to many users. The app needed to educate users while building trust, to first motivate them to get past the tedious amount of registration fields required by our ad providers.
Flipping the register ---> play model, I designed a flow that allowed users into the app to play a few tracks prior to registration. However, it had no effect on actual registration numbers until I gave them a short list of comedians to choose from, so we learned that we had to very gently ease users into the experience.
Ran A/B tests on the following:
- Manipulating coloring, placement, and copy of all CTA buttons and tour screens
- Testing placement of log in/sign up prompt in relation to tour
- Introducing tip screens as new features were introduced
- Increasing push notification acceptance, through personalization and re-ordering of screens
The pre-existing navigation was hidden behind a three-dot menu, posing a huge discovery issue as we started introducing more features. Data showed that only 25% of users ever click on three-dot menu, which meant that new features were not utilized. Users often walked away thinking that Home was the ONLY screen.
- In the 1st phase of clean up, I started relying on the pages, instead of navigation, to separate and nest information.
- The 2nd phase was to move toward a simplified, persistent bottom navigation, increasing visibility of our main offerings, while sacrificing features less engaged with. This involved some difficult discussions with stakeholders about prioritization.
With the introduction of new types of content, I led a complete re-org of the navigation driven by these goals: 1) Highlighting the best performing content, 2) Personalized recommendations, 3) Breadth of content. Home now features podcasts, livestreams, playlists, in addition to albums. Users were looking for one place to recall all their saved, offline, and subscribed content, so I created a new Library section.
This navigation is our highest engaged for our new types of content, although play-time for albums hold steady. Rather than cluttering with a navigation option for each new type of content, we're relying more and more on accurate personalized recommendations, regardless of type. So far, it's still challenging to peel users away from our top 50 comedians that dominate play-time, to direct them toward the much bigger library of emerging comedians. Ideally, we'd have focus on testing more if new features OR refinement is what our users want, but we're often at the mercy of external stakeholders.
See below for treatment and approach to Social.
Past Homescreen Iterations
As the first screen of the app, I introduced a hero for highlighting timely and featured content, followed by a series of flexible carousels that allows for quick testing. Some users felt overwhelmed with the number of options on this page, but with so many options hidden in the side menu, this put a lot of pressure on the homepage to be everything to the user. With more resources, I would've chosen to focus on this problem, in addition to changes that were driven by programming needs and product directives like social. I designed a large departure, using our social feed as home, in an attempt to simplify the experience, but lack of a refined algorithm didn't give us control over what we wanted to feature.
I designed each home carousel to be dedicated to one type of content, which ideally would evolve with each user's listening history. Since these content types are also new features, as a young company, we want them to be front and center to show users that we're actively evolving the app.
- Albums and Stations still reign supreme in play-time, so we continue to make sure they are prominently displayed in the hero and the first two highly engaged carousels.
- However, not every user is interested in podcasts, livestreams, and albums, and we need further discussions around which type of content serves our users and business best.
- In the next phase, better algorithm will drive Home to be the hyper-personalized "I don't want to think about what to listen to" solution. Users have come to expect that we pay attention to their listening history and their actions like Saved and Shared.
Past Comedian Page Iterations
Each comedian on Laughly gets a dedicated page, a hub for an ever increasing amount of information. Since Laughly is an entertainment app, my directives were always to focus on increasing play-time where possible. Stakeholders were very set on presenting all options front-and-center, which didn't increase play-time, but increased user complaints of clutter. Ideally, we would've been more user driven in this regard.
Comedian Page Blocking
Progression from left to right: As we added more content, the actions to take on that content (share, save, and bio) took a backseat. Ideally, I want to test a version with a smaller comedian image, so we can fit more above the fold.
Current Comedian Page
In response to user requests, I came up with a "Similar To" section which suggests related comedians. This increased play-time by 15% on big-name comedian pages.
Recently, I pushed to simplify the middle page navigation behind a menu icon, which cleaned up the look of the app as we continue to expand functionality and to more screen sizes.
- At request, the comments feature was added to build community amongst Laughly users. Since engagement is low, I'd like to revisit how this aligns with our product goals.
- Users request quick laugh hits, so I'd like to test a version with the best performing content at the top of the page. Because comedy doesn't perform like music, determining "best performing" is tricky.
Past Social Feed Iterations
Social was conceptualized by stakeholders as a way to create a unique comedy community and encourage certain viral actions like sharing outside the app. This was a request from an influential stakeholder, which meant launching this feature before proper user density among friend groups or any user generated content. We’ve found success in power users using it to promote content and influence, but most users are still not picking up that it’s social and not simply another way of presenting content.
During testing, users revealed they were unable to associate the users, content images, and content info with each other since the images were so large. We made each “post” more compact, and simplified from albums, comedians, and jokes to just albums. We also simplfied to just listens, not shares or saves, to be more in-line with behavior of other social feeds.
User profiles can be discovered from posts on the social feed or through comments if they choose to be engaged. I looked at many social profiles, chose to follow the pattern from top to bottom: User info and image, Follow CTA, and history of actions.
Current Social Feed Page
Short of allowing users to post content like memes or jokes, we’re pulling in filtered comedian Tweets to provide some freshness to the feed. Have yet to be seen if engagement will increase and makes it worth the extra editorial requirements.
So far, few users are excited about this feature, so we need more testing and research into how this feature helps us tell the Laughly story.
Our goal for podcast is to increase retention, since it’s a dependable source of new content. The podcast feature was the first major departure from the basic comedian, album, track format everywhere else in Laughly. After an analysis of the popular podcast players including Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, and Overcast, along with user testing, I determined some major functionality that needed to be offered:
- Subscribing to shows
- Displaying which episodes are new, partially listened to, finished listening to
- A feed of new episodes of subscribed shows
- Offline download
Current Podcast Page
Laughly faces additional constraints in that it’s one of the few apps that offers more than just podcasts. New episodes of subscribed shows are more buried than they would otherwise be, since albums still take precedence for Laughly.
Due to time constraints, I relied more on industry standards than user testing, but it may not be enough to pull people away from the podcast players they’ve already invested in. More testing needs to be done around this feature, especially if Laughly Original productions are worth the investment.
- Personalization, first and foremost. More recommendations, maybe even tied to geolocation
- General app polish across screen sizes
- Reviving Android, since we don’t have enough engineering resources to dedicate to it ATM
- Eventually building out the ticketing feature