Heygo is a virtual travel platform offering live-streamed guided tours worldwide. Users can interact with tour guides and other users during these tours, accessible through both web and native apps.
Despite these opportunities for interaction, research and user feedback indicated a demand for additional communication channels between users and guides.
The hypothesis was that introducing these channels would increase user retention by strengthening bonds between users and guides and providing more reasons for users to return to the platform.
A small team, consisting of a Product Designer and two full-stack engineers, was formed to address this issue. The goal was to create a feature enabling guides to post text-based updates to their followers, with users seeing these posts in their existing feed. The team aimed to deliver this feature in small increments, initially focusing on the native app.
Building on the research and successful creator-focused precedents from platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, I established the following fundamental requirements:
To begin, I crafted a straightforward user flow diagram for both guides and users. Afterward, I sketched mid-fidelity wireframes in Whimsical, which I presented at the design team's weekly design critique. I incorporated the valuable feedback I received from my colleagues into the wireframes.
Leveraging existing patterns from our design system, I developed high-fidelity designs, once again discussing them with the design team and making necessary adjustments. Anticipating future iterations, I ensured that the post body I designed could accommodate other media types, such as images or videos, and foster high engagement. While these designs remained conceptual at this stage, they laid the groundwork for potential future enhancements.
The first iteration allowed guides to create text-based posts with a 255-character limit, visible to their followers in their feed while the ability to like & comment on posts was scheduled to be delivered soon after.
Additionally, feedback from focus groups revealed concerns about the feature's initial limitations. I also kept a close eye on the associated metrics that we set at the start of the project to inform my design and product decisions as we went on with the project.
As a result, we prioritized developing the feature on the web, delivered designs weekly for development, and introduced the ability to post images & links to tours. We also made many small product changes such as increasing the character limit and embedding hints on the feature into the core product.
After launching the feature and its subsequent updates, the number of active guides making at least one post per week increased, with our initial goal of having all active guides posting at least once per week eventually doubling to 2 posts on average per guide and week. The average interactions per post increased to 8-10 over time, although it remained short of the 20-interactions-per-post goal at the time of active development.
While the feature did not significantly impact overall user retention, it saw consistent growth in engagement from both guides and users over the following months. Although the team decided not to actively develop the feature further, it remained a valuable aspect of the platform, contributing to the organic growth of engagement and interactions between users and guides.
Throughout this project, I held full ownership and reported on progress weekly. This experience taught me valuable lessons about establishing and monitoring success metrics while maintaining a user-centered design approach. Reflecting on the process, I would advocate more assertively against shipping increments that are too small and fail to deliver the complete core value proposition from the outset.