I realized that a couple of case studies and explanations of some of the UX work might be a good idea to add into this type of site. The main problem with that is that most of that work is proprietary to the company that I worked for at the time, and can't show the actual thing, nor much of the work on my personal website. 
So here, without posting the actual data and research findings, I would like to explain the problem, steps that were taken to work through them, and the outcomes of various UX problems I have worked on in the past couple years. 
Case 1: Users having a hard time with a promotional purchase app. 
Problem: We had suspicion that users were not understanding the complex structure of promotional events where team leaders are given product allotments to then distribute to their teams for them to purchase. 
Potential Pitfalls: Getting this wrong could lead to not all of the promotional items being sold quickly during the event. (its important for the business to mark that new items are sold out quickly) It could also potentially result in the leaders just purchasing their entire allotment, which then leads to a tedious process of distributing to their team and collecting payment. We would also not have good insight into purchase patterns. 
Gameplan: We worked through several iterations of promotional event types, such as Promo Codes, Coupons, Assigning purchase ability to profiles and accounts, and whitelisting users for a global list. We tested all of these internally to see if they would stand up against the many business requirements, and eliminated all but the promo codes and account add. These were the two to now prototype and test. 
Result: We were able to create two fully-functional Figma prototypes and send them out to 20 team level distributors and 10 customers. We used their feedback to further refine the piece and condense it down into two main screens from 4 previously. We also tested the copy various times until we found what communicated best. (and it was not what we had originally thought as well!)
We then created the app following the research and design, and launched it on-time for a test event which worked great. It was then ready for the big summer sales events and they were among the most successful events of the past few years, selling out quicker, and resulting in fewer calls to the call center. We also recorded a huge variance in people who purchased the product, meaning that everyone got a change to purchase, rather than just a couple "whales" who buy them all up. 
Case 2: Mutual's new user onboarding research. 
Problem: Up until when we were working on this, our new user sign up was basically filling out one long form, and then jumping them around to different spots in the app to upload photos. It resulted in people not always filling out their entire profile, and also not verifying their profile. Since our product is essentially serving up our users to other users, a more filled out profile results in a better product for the other users who may be looking at these individuals. Secondly, users who have a verified profile not only have a better experience themselves, but also give others peace of mind that they are dealing with an actual person. Since profile verification was not part of the original app, we wanted to surface this feature to everyone. Finally, a better onboarding experience helps put our best foot forward, and makes the process of "us asking them for lots of information" easier for them to handle, which we theorized would result in more people filling out more. 
Potential Pitfalls: Getting this wrong could potentially alienate first time users through "form fatigue". we wanted to avoid that at all costs, while still see how we could make the experience of users filling out their profile better for them. 
Gameplan: We did a lot of research into how other apps (dating, and otherwise) deal with onboarding. We had several members of our team test these out and mark if they felt they were getting tired of filling out forms, or wonder aloud why they were being asked for this information. Armed with that, we decided to hold the first ever "Meet Mutual!" Event at a local waffle love and gave everyone who came free waffles in exchange for sitting down to talk about the app with us. My part in this was to test users between two separate onboarding flows created from the research into other apps. 
After the event, we decided on a stepped onboarding with a timeline at the top that filled out the more they went. After about 1/3rd (the required information like name and age, etc) we allowed the users to skip the rest and get straight to the app if they wanted via a button up next to the timeline. Showing the users that they could easily skip was important to give them control, and when paired with a timeline, the urge to fill out the timeline was what we hypothesized would help them continue. 
Result: We built two variations on this, and we tested them with our test group and found that one of the iterations showed that 97% of people who tested it did NOT skip, but rather finished filling out the entire profile due to the desire to fill out the timeline, rather than leave it incomplete. It also resulted in nearly 80% of our users completing profile verification as it was added into this. This feature shipped and is now a great first-impression to our users, giving them control into what they want to give to the app, and if they want to skip. (NNG User Heuristics: Visibility into system status, User Control and Freedom, and Flexibility to leave the onboarding and come back when they wanted to)
Case 3: User screen sizes, and what we should be designing for.
Problem: We wanted to know the average screen size of people visiting our site to ensure that we are building to fit the needs of our main audience. We also wanted to test whether the screen size correlated to the amount of money spent. These screen sizes should then receive the lions share of optimization and care. 
Potential Pitfalls: Getting this wrong would mean that we would have little or no insight into where we should be putting the majority of our design and dev time and effort. This would help us focus on our users where they are. Making it better though would result in a better experience for our customers. 
Gameplan: Run analytics for our site traffic, and split those out into different groups based on screen size, and the drop out location in the funnel. (whether they purchased or not, and how much) We would then condense this down into browsers and devices, and then tailor our design system to match these. 
Result: We found that our users vastly gravitated toward mobile, and that it was split between chrome and safari for the lions share. We also (interestingly enough) found that while the users did make a lot of purchases on mobile, they also made a lot on desktop. We theorized from the data that a lot of people started the purchase or looked on mobile, and then switched to a desktop to make the actual purchase. That meant that a lot of people start on mobile for browsing, but then transition to desktop for the purchase. 
We were able to then change several of our web templates to match these newly found screen sizes, and shared the info out to the designers and teams, resulting in more time being spent on screen sizes where our users are. 
Case 4: How can I improve the user experience between the customers and those who create products? (us!)
Here is a Whimsical document that details some of my recent thoughts on how we can possibly help the connection between us (developers working on the product) and our customers. 
Current Projects.
Several big projects I am working on at the moment at work:
1. Helping the business understand the need to build out a design system with reusable design and code components. Doing this will allow the dev teams to perform and iterate faster due to the fact that using pre-built, customizable components and slotting them into code is much quicker than building each one from scratch. It also allows us to make global changes across the entire component. 
2. Research Repo. Creating a website for our internal teams and product owners find and request user research that has been previously done. In the past, all of this was routed through one person, and it was all on their desktop. This new website and repo will help everyone find relevant user and product research, and if that doesn't exist, request it from our UX Research team. I have been working on creating that site, as well as organizing and converting all past research into a web format. 
3. Building out our entire Figma Component Library (Clarity for NuSkin, and Link for Mutual). This has been one of my primary focuses, and has been rewarding. Creating the components, organizing them, and then meeting with the designers (the 'Users' of this product) to make sure that everything is easy to find, use, and to get feedback on the components. This is ongoing, and continues to get better and better each day. 
4. Journey Mapping and Optimization. Working to create a better flow for our users through a strong sitemap, and then starting to pick apart the peaks and pits on the individual journeys. In this case, focusing on the optimization of the site where things are not working well, and where the site is slow, stuttering, etc. Bringing attention to this, and creating solutions to make the experience better. 
5. App kit. I am currently working with our app team to consolidate 6-7 apps into three, each with a focused user journey and purpose. Part of this also includes creating an App Kit of reusable UX (design) and dev components to allow us to move faster when creating or updating our app features. Converting the apps into two main apps (and one events app) is a lot of work as there is a lot of crossover and confusing pieces. It is going well. 
6. Working to create a new shop and purchasing section in the Mutual app where people can purchase dates to go on with others. Several user journeys include the companies who want to work with us (and how they load in their info, and get paid, as well as see analytics for their offerings) and then also the side for the users to see and purchase these date ideas. There are a lot of nuances with this that require a lot of iterations and discussion to get them right. We are at the point now where we are user testing and getting the businesses onboard. 
7. I was put in charge of defining what User Interaction means for our customers and how we work with that. It is a sub-set of UX, but was given to me to help define all aspects of what we as a company are striving for with regards to User Interaction. This is a rather new and nebulous project, however it is up to be to define and build this out in the upcoming months. It will be a lot of work, resulting in a set of documentation and best practice standards for us to utilize and follow when creating digital experiences.
Thats about it for now. I have more, but they are a bit more nitty gritty, or need some visual props to show. 
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