Overhauling the Full Suite of Motley Fool Subscription Products
A case study in simplifying and redesigning an unwieldy collection of 40+ digital subscription products.
My Role: Concept, Creative Direction, Product & Design Strategy
From: March 2021 - July 2022
Through years of adding on just one more subscription service, report, tool, or special one-off, the experience for members of the Motley Fool premium service became bloated and unwieldy. Members did not understand what they bought, what they owned, or how it all should work together. That confusion resulted in cancellations and retention rates dropping.
My Role and Process
I was an instrumental voice in the planning and execution of the project. I led the end-to-end strategy, research, and design process — leading brainstorming, overseeing research, organizing the information and site architecture, and providing leadership for the design and development process.
1. Brainstorming Sessions
The overhaul and complete inversion of the product suite was primarily the brainchild of myself and the Head of Product. We met individually and with members of our teams and in sessions with leaders of Product, Tech, Editorial, Investing, Business Intelligence, Marketing, Commerce, and Legal. Our team diverged and converged, again and again, finding the best path forward.
2. Competitive Research
I led the investigation into how other finance and media companies handled a growing suite of subscription products and how they kept the function and purpose of each clear to their subscribers.
3. Information and Site Architecture
I hands-on created low-fidelity flows and wireframes to illuminate the new experience at a high-level and to illustrate how the new shared structure would incorporate all the core and expected features found on the current individual service sites.
4. Customer Interviews
My team conducted quick user research with members from new to advanced investors at different levels. They tested other concept mocks, language, and user flows to validate the product direction
5. Prototypes and High-Fidelity Design
I directed my team of designers through the prototype creation process using Figma. I met with my lead designers daily and each designer on the team at least once weekly. All designers on the project met twice weekly to review the progress of the work. I signed off on each update before sending it on to leadership.
6. Demoing to Stakeholders
The new approach for product development focused on rapid prototyping and consistent communication with stakeholders up to the CEO. This stage went extensively long as the company directors had much explicit feedback. I directed the Design team through the new process’s politics and met after each demo to review the notes and recording and discuss the subsequent actions.
7. Evaluative Testing
With each major update in the prototyping process that impacted the site structure, user flow, or overall design, the updated prototype was retested with members to get qualitative feedback that provided immediate updates and backlog items for future revisions.
8. Development Process
As work was ready to move to code, I met regularly with the leads of Tech and Product Management and their respective teams to walk through the upcoming work, answer questions and help break it down into iterative steps and stories.
9. QA and Visual Testing
When ready to launch, I led the design team in visual testing each page to see that the elements developed matched what was produced in the Figma and each primary user flow to see that all the stages were seamless. I led design and development teams using a shared component and pattern library, made most of the development faster, and the results were predictable as intended.
10. Improvements and Additional Features
Starting from the soft launch, I monitored the incoming feedback channels. I provided direct solutions to users where possible, redirecting to the proper teams (Tech, Editorial) when necessary and incorporating the new ideas into improvements the design team would fold into the successive iterations of the prototypes.
To better serve our members, the 40+ subscription products and services and one-offs were all folding into one common site experience that broadened with more value as the member rose through three distinct membership levels. Not only does this make the entire experience more straightforward for the member to understand, but it significantly reduces operational overhead for PMs, Tech, Editorial, and Customer Service.
It took 18 months to launch the solution that upended 15 years of a legacy approach to product development (built on an outdated newsletter model).
Early quantitative results show member satisfaction leaping by 34%.
Qualitative feedback includes grateful members who finally understand their product and its value.
The Motley Fool begins its next chapter with a modern web-based financial application platform organized for ease of use and increasing member success and retention.
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