Diem is a content curation platform that helps users take the first step towards achieving their goals. Diem filters through relevant sources to compile personalized content based on users’ interests and goals.
The team set out to find a solution for a problem we all identified with in our own lives: an ever-growing list of want-to-dos and the feeling that there is never enough time or bandwidth to tackle them.
To begin, we came up with a hypothesis for the problem:
Today, information is more readily available than ever before. However, while the accessibility of information has helped bridge our understanding of the world around us, this development has also created an over-abundance of information. Paradoxically, the vast amount of sources online sometimes end up creating a barrier to finding specific, relevant, and actionable items quickly and efficiently.
We wanted to know: how might we bring relevant, actionable, and personalized content to people to help guide them towards achieving their personal goals?
Over the course of two months, I led the first round of user research efforts to confirm our hypothesis and gather demographic insights. I conducted in-depth interviews with 30 people, majority of whom were part of our target demographic in addition to smaller samples from other populations.
I shaped the questions around four specific goals:
Identify the current process of goal setting.
Evaluate the success of the current process.
Identify pain points.
To validate the problem, we asked questions around the gap between accomplishing personal goals versus where each person is actually at in that journey. Comparing the results, we found that the problem is prevalent amongst our target population: urban professional women in their late 20s to mid 30s.
A typical process for goal-setting goes as follows:
Inspiration - Talking with friends/family, scrolling through social media, etc. triggers the desire to pursue a certain goal.
Search - The goal starts to materialize through a preliminary search where the individual browses through several different resources.
Filter - The resources are then narrowed down to those with the most relevant information.
Read/Save - Afterwards, a deeper dive into each of these resources to parse out the most necessary information needed to take action.
Action - Finally, having all the relevant information at hand, the individual needs to find time and commit to following through.
Current Process - Evaluation
With the current method, some saw success but in general, as we predicted, most lost motivation in the initial phase of researching and collecting information. Additionally, lack of consistency led to the inability to cultivate long term habits to achieve a goal.
Too many choices: An over-abundance of sources leads to cognitive overload and difficulty in filtering for relevant information.
Platform inconsistency: Lack of a dedicated space for goal specific content often prevents long term habit formation.
Lack of relevancy: Content that are interesting often lack relevance in one way or another to the specific user.
Areas of Opportunity:
Mapping out the user journey and identifying the pain points helped to distill the areas of opportunity, which included:
Curation: Familiar sources, quality content, and trust in the brand inspire confidence to turn inspiration into action
Convenience: Content saved in one place allows for easy access and habit–formation.
Personalization: Content filtered based on user’s preferences help save time and reduce cognitive load.
Based on the areas of opportunity, we wanted to:
Create a content curation platform that filters through relevant third party sources to compile a library of personalized content that are relevant, actionable, and timely based on a user’s goals and interests.
After setting the scope for our product, I set out to gather insights from market research of similar products. Similar platforms generally fall under one of the following categories: content curation, pure media publication, and topic-specific newsletter.
I conducted a cross-sectional product analysis to gain a better understanding of the product and design landscape:
For this section, I focused on Pinterest, Flipboard and Google Now. Specifically, I wanted to know: what is this product promising? How is this platform achieving the goal of personalization? To what extent is the content source curated? And how is the content organized and presented?
Lifestyle Media Publications
For lifestyle media publications, I looked at Refinery29, MyDomaine, and Well+Good; I asked: How does the publication elicit trust in their content and curation? How is the information organized and presented? And what are the most popular lifestyle topics?
Topic-Specific, Curated Newsletters
For topic specific newsletters, I examined The Skimm and The Hustle, taking a look at: What is this product promising? How is the information organized? What is the topic of interest? And how does this product convey trust?
New user flow:
Based on the research, we created a desired features list. Evaluating business goals, development time, and other concerns, we narrowed down the items on the list.
The remaining features were then grouped into two main sections to form the base structure of our new product:
Sign Up - Where users learn about the product, create their account, and identify their goals and interests.
Feed - Where users visit to see the curated content.
Other features such as favorite, share, “act now”, and profile help support these two main sections to facilitate a thorough and effective experience.
01. Sign Up:
Users enter basic information and indicate their preferences from a set four interest categories and corresponding goals. The interest and goals are pre-set based on our target demographic.
02. Content Feed:
Users scroll through a feed that updates daily with content curated and summarized by Diem editors. Every piece of content is curated based on the user’s goals and interests.
Users can save content by favoriting to access for later. Each save sends a preference marker to the Diem editors to fine tune future user content.
In addition to editing profile information, users can further personalize and modify their feeds through selecting additional interests and goals or deselecting topics they are no longer interested in.
In its first few months, Diem amassed over 500 signups. Within this cohort, the team found a polarized spectrum of preferences: some felt that the pre-filtering of information allowed for more efficient browsing, others preferred to search and filter on their own. As a team, we decided to march forward serving both population. In hindsight, it was a missed the opportunity to try to appease both groups instead of focusing on serving the user base whose behavioral preferences were more aligned with the product.
Additionally, our decision to use a feed format, while more familiar to the user, also created an expectation of endless content. This expectation muddled the core promise of the product – quality over quantity. An improved experience would have instead presented a clearer product framing in addition to more distinct categorizations.