Framing in Product Design

When I joined SMARKIO in 2015 as the company’s first designer, I took on many responsibilities ranging from branding, web design, and UX design.

No thread

The SMARKIO dashboard — a marketing automation suite — was comprised of several tools developed and originally used internally at Adclick only. All these tools were bespoke and developed years earlier at the request of the marketing teams, without much regard for:

As a Product Designer, fixing these two problems was my biggest goal.

Here's a list of some of the features included in the product:

SMARKIO features
Some of the SMARKIO features.

Meeting the users halfway

In order to find a thread that would tie everything together, we started by categorising features, breaking them down into:

Once this was accomplished, we looked into how the people from Adclick — the customers most comfortable and familiar with the product — were using it. After studying the ways they were mixing and matching these features, we recognised that our tools were being split into two different purposes — some could be used to managed the content that was being served, and others the channel through which this content was being distributed.

Here's a few examples:

Examples of how SMARKIO was being used.
Examples of SMARKIO features combined.

As a result, we further broke down the features into two different purposes:

In the end, the features were distributed in the following map:

Organised map of the SMARKIO features.
Map of the SMARKIO features.

With this mental map of how the features could come together, we were ready to establish this relationship through the UI in order to help encourage the mixing and matching of features and create a more cohesive product overall.

To communicate this map, we used simple metaphors, making sure to test them with existing users and prospects:

UI reflecting the map.
Detail of the SMARKIO UI reflecting this new mapping.

Conclusion

These changes were introduced in a very gradual manner not only due to limited development resources but also to avoid implementing drastic changes that would potentially confuse already existing users. Nevertheless, the seemingly mere act of grouping and ordering features in the menu proved a big success.

This contributed to a better understanding of SMARKIO as a whole and encouraged users to combine tools rather than using them individually - an employment that widened the purposes of the platform.

Find a sample of the work I developed at SMARKIO here.