A new canvas for professionals to share their passions

Company
Currnt
Participation
Design Audit, Experience Design, Design Styleguides

Overview

Known as the “The Fresh Knowledge Movement,” Currnt is a platform of 40,000+ thought-leaders that come together on sponsored panels and share their knowledge on specific topics.

I helped change the way thought-leaders share their knowledge and passions by having a new 'canvas' to showcase what they are, what they care about and what they engage with.

Current version of the canvas

How it was before

The representation of people's passions were bubbles, following the notion that ideas expire and that content must be relevant in today's world. Moreover, the newer the content, the bigger the bubble so you were always paying attention to the freshest content in the site. You also have two type of content, the one you saved to your canvas and the one that is recommended based on people you follow and topics that matters to you (think of Pinterest for professionals).

This looked like a good way to showcase content, also because you can fit many bubbles in the viewport and looks like the individual was up to a lot of things. There were challenges, however, with this way of showing the content, such as:

  • Not accessible — The bubble's content was limited, the faded color was breaking the readability of the white text on top. Additionally, since the size of the bubble depends on when the content was posted and the engagement it had, the font size got really small content was getting old.
  • Lack of interactions — Since you don't have much information about the content, you must click on it to expand your view. Users weren't encouraged to click on content to view more, specially recommended (red ones).
  • Not relevant — Saved and recommended content were mixed and felt like poor-targeted ads. The latter was even refreshed every time a user logs in, so they were having random stuff in every session.
  • Time limited — Since content and ideas expire, users won't see anything from, say, a year ago, which caused frustration in many users that wanted a way to save content that matter to them regardless of the time it was posted.
How might be design a canvas that encourages social interactions, keeps basic accessibility standards and represents what professionals care about?

Goals

We converted our key problems into opportunities to solve during the redesign. In a nutshell, I had to:

  1. Create a new style of the canvas that increases engagement by adding a social network touch.
  2. Design a canvas that fits all content without overwhelming users for the amount of posts, panels, job posts, etc that the site offers.
  3. Create a time agnostic canvas for people to always have at hand content that matters the most to them regardless of when it was posted.

How we started

The first thing the team decided to tackle was the summary in the profile. This would give visitors a glance of who this person is, what they have achieved and their reputation.

With this design, we started to include social proof by adding two key sections: people that follow you and people you follow. You can always invite more people to the platform and earn cashable points in the site.

Keep your mind fresh by exploring content

There was the need to include an "explore" feature for professionals to keep up to date with the latest posts, panels and news in the site. There were several rounds of iterations for this feature.

iteration #1 We thought about adding filters within the canvas and a search bar that would refresh content as you type. This iteration didn't quite work as the content was still mixed and didn't solve the issue of having saved and recommended content as poor-targeted ads.

Iteration #2: We thought of having the canvas divided in two sections: one with content you have saved and you would see an explore section below. This was following the "you might be interested in this" type of concept. Even though we explored adding the 'view more' feature, this approach didn't quite work because we were expecting for users to scroll to see this section and there might be users who have saved a lot of things so they would never see this.

Iteration #3: We think we have a winner that replicates well known Google's concept when browsing images. We followed this by adding Open Currnts (topics individuals can participate in as curators or audience) to the site and were placed on top of the page. We were hesitant this was going to work as it is not scalable: you wouldn't want to scroll indefinitely as more Open Currnts were created; but we kept it for a while.

A better way to showcase content

Now that we have a candidate to explore content, it was time to create how this content was going to be represented. There were several rounds of iterations on this one, but we had one thing clear: we need to get rid of the bubbles to include more context on posts to increase engagement.

Iteration #1: We explored dividing the content into sections, having the saved posts on top and a subtle division for recommended posts below. We also incorporated a "pin" concept for you to pin the content that matters the most to you on top of each column.

Iteration #2: We got rid of the columns but kept the tiles design and filters. In this approach same thing happend with the first iterations for explore: people were unlikely to see recommended tiles as more content is saved in their canvases.

Iteration #3: We incorporated different type of posts in a standard card design. We also included social proof in the cards so users are encouraged to follow or participate. After several rounds of discussion and user feedback, we realized recommended content were not as important as Open Currnts so we were comfortable by having the recommended section down below.

Iteration #4: We continued improving the design for the cards always keeping in mind the type of content within the canvas. Additionally, we made the featured/pinned content more prominent as to convey the importance the owner/moderator wants to give it. Even though the cards were pretty standard and we were happy with the design, we were lacking engagement.

Final design

The final design encourages social interactions by putting last comments upfront as well as allowing them to add their own and keep up the conversation.

The new canvas is keeping social proof in the cards and also added the same hierarchy for all cards, regardless of the ones that are pinned —these are always at the top though.

Final design

Lack of interactions → Social proof and engagement

The new canvas encourages interactions by adding a social media touch to it: comments, likes, familiar faces. People are more willing to participate in talks, apply to panels and share content they see in the site.

Not relevant → Find content you care about

Even though there might be canvases with a lot of information (specially Open Currnts), the way it is displayed more makes a lot of sense: the cards have the same hierarchy as all content is relevant to you. The type of the cards is not as important as the content within so they keep the same design and structure. We even added a featured image to make it more visual and helps with the readability of the page.

Not accessible → suitable for everyone

The former canvas didn't follow any standard when it comes to accessibility: font sizes, contrast, experience expectations. This new canvas allows you to read, find and engage with content easier and faster.

Explore Open Currnts

The recommended content was an excuse for people to find out what else is in the site. We decided to shift that concept and keep an explore Open Currnt page for them to see all the topics they can follow and participate in.