AboutWork

Product Design | Mailchimp

Brand management for
small business 

An inline brand style system to accelerate Mailchimp users' market content creation and facilitate brand building.

OVERVIEW

Mailchimp is a marketing automation platform that helps small businesses grow. As a product design intern, I was given the mission to design a brand management system to help users save time on content creation. During this three-month experimental project, I worked very closely with my manager. This project involved researchers, content strategists, and developers throughout the whole design process. The final design reduced campaign visual tweaking by 75% for small business.

ROLE & DURATION

Product Thinking, Design Research, Interaction, Visual design, Prototyping & Critique

Team: 1 designer, 1 design manager

May - Aug 2018

PROBLEM

Mailchimp campaigns took too long to send.

1

Before, to send a campaign took at least 90 clicks and 25 minutes, which was very painful for Mailchimp users. Besides taking care of their family, manufacturing their products, working, they virtually have no time to grow their business. How can we help?

OLD design

Branding is time-consuming

15%
Creation Time

20%
Creation Time

Users didn't know whether the template they pick would look good with their content.

60%
Creation Time

Users had to manually upload their logo, colors, and other brand styles every time.

5%
Creation Time

Later

Users duplicated campaigns all the time because they don't know what to change.

Opportunity

Add a new step for brand

15%
Creation Time

One-time

15%
Creation Time

Apply your brand to any templates

20%
Creation Time

MMMake

Start a new channel

Click the steps to see the old creation flow

Branding is at the center of Mailchimp's value proposition. When users create a campaign, they are confirming a template to align with their brand. 

—MailChimp Design Manager

My inconsistent brand across campaigns made my business less professional.

— Voice from customer support

Building and maintaining a brand is very time-consuming.

— Voice from customer support

Branding is at the center of Mailchimp's value proposition. When users create a campaign, they are confirming a template to align with their brand. 

—MailChimp Design Manager

My inconsistent brand across campaigns made my business less professional.

— Voice from customer support

Building and maintaining a brand is very time-consuming.

— Voice from customer support

USERS FOCUS

small business owners with low user sophistication

1

Users with low user sophistication makes up 60% of Mailchimp's user base. They have just started their business and are very new to marketing as well as Mailchimp. Many of them have a very basic brand and some don't even have a brand at all.

SOLUTION

A fast, simple, and inspiring inline brand management system

1

Imagine sending a campaign using only 10 clicks and within 5 minutes: our users only need to set up their brand once, apply their brand to the template, make some small tweaks, and it's ready to go!

This project focuses on novice users who have just started their business with a very basic brand. Some novice users don't even have a brand at all. Therefore, the new design follows three main design principles: prioritize efficiency over user control; create visual packages for building brands; provide actionable marketing guidance.

Validation

Helps more than 10 millions Mailchimp users

1

I presented this project to MailChimp CEO and received very positive feedback. The project moved forward after I left and has been prioritized with a new team.

Cut down task click to 10 clicks
Users can save up to 75% visual tweaking time; In this way, small business have more time to run and grow their business.

Reduce replication
Users can preview their brands across our beautiful templates; get inspirations for what thier brand can be; and start building.

Increase new channel adoption
Users can see their brand across all channels. Trying new channels bring business value to MailChimp.

PROCESS

Break down the ambiguity

Check Process Details

1

Even though I was given the prompt, I needed to figure out how to break down the big project space into achievable tasks and tackle them though a solid design process as well as rigorous collaboration. Three questions guided my design process: What’s brand for small business? Where can we capture it and how can we capture?

FRAME

DEFINE

CONVERGE

EXPLORE

Decision-making

I made design decisions by referring back to our design principles, balancing user needs and business goals, and most importantly, seeking critiques from senior peers. Following are two decisions I made out of hundreds.

1. Where can users discover the new feature?

Module over template page

Floating button in the editing page

Button in the template page

Add a new step in the wizard:I chose this idea for the first iteration because: 1) It made sure the users are exposed to the new feature while providing the flexibility to skip. 2) Setting up a brand while previewing it across all the channels helped to promote the multi-channel marketing strategy and bring business value to Mailchimp.

New tab in the editing page

2. How to apply brand to the templates?

Hover on to view

We didn't choose this idea because hovering was not user-friendly for mobile device. Although mobile is not our focus this time, we saw it as a future consideration.

Toggle on in the preview mode

I chose this idea because: 1) It allowed users to preview their brand in details while being inspired by our beautiful templates. 2) The step-by-step application provided affordance and satisfaction for users

Applied as default

We didn't choose this idea because most of our users don't have a well developed brand and we wanted to keep them inspired.

REflections

"Become a confident influencer."

1

Critique
1) How to present my work in a concise and engaging way to people in different disciplinaries;

2) Listen hard to understand what people are really critiquing for,  instead of what they are saying; digest and filter critiques.

Communication
1) Ask great clarifying questions before/during/after the project.

2) Have an opinion and be confident of my design decisions. My confidence will affect the way audience look at my work.

Focus
1) Focus on users' primary goal and design for happy path first.

2) Remove all the unnecessary distractions or edge cases.

CASE STUDIES--

Brand 

2018.5-2018.8 

UX/UI Design: An inline brand style system to accelerate MailChimp users' market content creation.

Group 

2019.1

UX/UI Design: A redesign of Yelp collection for groups.

Donor

2017.10-2018.4 

Product Design: An interactive donation box for CHI 2018

Menu 

2018.3 

UX/UI Design: A pleasant menu experiences and quicker in-store services for campus cafe shop.

Picker 

2017.10 

UX Design: A redesign of a template picker for online diagramming

Web Memo 

UX Design: A browser plugin for online courses

Cumulo

2016.9-2016.11 

UX Research: An educational kids' game for IBM

Lidro 

2015.5-2016.7 

Product Design: An intelligent product for home-made fruit wine

Web Memo 

UX Design: A browser plugin for online courses

Check other explorations

Pain Points
Principles

Sending out campaigns is the most relevant action to Mailchimp users and when users create a campaign, they are confirming a template to align with their brand. 

—MailChimp Design Manager

My inconsistent brand across campaigns made my business less professional.

— Voice from customer support

Building and maintaining a brand is very time-consuming.

— Voice from customer support

10% creation time

15% creation time

60% creation time

10% creation time