American Express sought to increase engagement with their small business blog, OPEN Forum.
Working closely with small business owners and entrepreneurs, our team evolved OPEN Forum into a social network.
In addition to discovering relevant articles, business owners were now able to share advice with a community and receive access to exclusive events.
The launch of OPEN Forum as a social network increased site engagement into the tens of thousands. Users continue to read and share articles daily. Some conversation shave garnered hundreds of responses.
In addition, the attendance of American Express’ events have grown steadily, leading to new prospective customers and ultimate strengthening the AMEX brand.
To get a better understanding of our users, my team conducted qualitative and quantitative analysis with business owners. To determine how well the current site was performing, we analyzed analytic data and ran usability tests.
The result of our research led to the creation of four user personas and the follow product principals:
1. Encourage Strong Community Relationships
2. Promote Individuality
3. Respect User’s Time
4. Encourage Quality Content
5. Surface Relevant Content
6. Value, Respect and Support the Decision Making Process
Early on, I identified and diagrammed OPEN Forum’s social ecosystem. This allowed the team to have a greater understanding of how the features they were building worked with one another and fit into the larger vision of OPEN Forum. It also allowed us to identify the weak areas of the site and improve on them.
With a better understanding of the site’s ecosystem and user’s needs, I worked directly on the creation of several new features, sections, enhancements and redesigns of OPEN Forum, including:
• Site Wide Navigation
• User Registration & Onboarding
• Notification Emails
• Question and Advice Sections
• Events Section
• Search Results Pages
Each project had a unique set of task flows and processes. I worked closely with our development team to strike the best balance of functionality and site performance for every featured that was design.
OPEN Forum is a completely responsive website, making the emphasis on content even more important. I went through multiple iterations of content layout and structure for each new section I created.
I designed and developed wireframes and prototypes. With these deliverables, the team ran usability tests and iterated on our observations.
I worked directly with the visual design team to build out a style guide. I advocated for a modular-based design system that embraced simplicity. The result was a library of components that embodied a reductive approach where typography and negative space were emphasized and shadows, bevels and gradients are downplayed. This added clarity and focus to the various UI elements.
Throughout the design process, I used my skills in project management to plan and prioritize sprints.
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