Digital Marketing Management Platform 

ReachLocal Inc.

Overview

ReachLocal (acquired by Gannett) is a digital marketing technology company providing an all-in-one solution for small and medium-sized businesses. With over 14,000 clients across four continents, they are one of the market leaders for managing SEO, SEM, Facebook, and Retargeting campaigns. The project was to build an internal-facing management platform for account executives. It was required to be backwards compatible with the legacy platform. The biggest problem account executives experienced was the time-consuming process of managing and updating client campaigns. I was responsible for leading the user experience design, user research, information architecture, user interface design, and visual design.

Results

  • Decreased time required to update digital marketing campaigns by 90%
  • Increased user base by over 800%
  • Increased user engagement by over 300%

User Research: Moderated Remote and On-Site Usability Tests

Leveraging GoToMeeting to share my screen while recording the screen and voice of my participant, the product manager and I conducted anywhere from three to ten usability tests on specific tasks. Tasks such as “Add 200 keywords your client requested to their SEM campaign.” The goal of each usability test was the validate the flow of how to accomplish the task and understand the thought-process of each participant for how they manage digital marketing campaigns.

User Research: Ethnographic Field Studies

Account executives managed different types of clients and were located in various offices around the globe. As a result, they had different mental processes on how to manage client campaigns. Based on those discoveries, it was vital to see, hear, learn, and understand the differences. I scheduled meetings with account executives where I sat next to them at their desk and observed them in their environment.

User Research: Remote User Feedback

By integrating live-chat into the new platform, we received constant user feedback on usability issues, feature requests, user anxieties and concerns on the platform, and technical issues. To organize the feedback we were receiving, I created several spreadsheets that the team had access to in order to assist in driving product improvements.

User Research: Concept Testing

Before the development team writes a single line of code, it was imperative to validate the flow and design of features with senior management, stakeholders, developers, and end-users. After user research was conducted and we felt confident in the findings, I began to design low-fidelity wire flows that allowed people to see and understand how features would function. First, it was getting feedback from senior management and stakeholders. Based on the result of the meetings, I would update the designs if there issues or problems, or get feedback from the development if they were approved by senior management and stakeholders. During feedback sessions from developers, it was vital to understand the scope of the designs to make sure it’s in alignment to deadlines and capabilities.

User Research: Focus Groups

To establish rapport and trust amongst account executives, I conducted numerous focus group sessions to get a better understanding of their needs, requirements, problems, and thought-processes without influence of stakeholders or management. I brought up various topics at each session based on specific goals at each stage of the product development lifecycle. Early on, one of the goals was to get a better understanding for the process each participant goes through in order to determine which client campaign they would manage.

User Research: Usability Benchmarking

Usability benchmarking was vital at the end of a feature development lifecycle. After receiving senior management, stakeholders, developers, and user feedback, and prior to handing off designs and requirements to development, I wanted to be confident in the designs. As a result, we conducted more usability tests to measure time on task and user-satisfaction.

User Research: Desirability Testing

During the visual design process, I created several design patterns to evoke certain responses from end-users. The goal was to understand what feelings, thoughts, or emotions they associated with each pattern. Since account executives would use the platform on a daily-basis, it was imperative to design it in such a way that invokes a positive and open feeling when using the platform. I conducted qualitative studies where participants were asked to describe each design and why. Some of the adjectives used were bland, fresh, modern, desirable, consistent.

Develop Personas

The project had five different end-user profiles and required three different personas for each end-user profile. Each persona was created based on user research, data, and stakeholder feedback.

Create a Sitemap 

The new platform required account executives to manage different types digital marketing campaigns. Our goal was to focus on a single type, in this case it was SEM, across multiple publishers. Below, is an example of the hierarchy for an SEM campaign across multiple publishers. 

Design Low-Fidelity Wireframes

Leveraging rapid prototyping tools such as Axure RP, I was able to design low-fidelity wireframes in the beginning of the design process to get stakeholder and senior management feedback on feature requirements.

Develop Interactive Prototypes

Leveraging rapid prototyping tools such as Axure RP, I was able to create interactive prototypes in a short time span for stakeholders to discuss and approve. After sign-off by stakeholders, prototypes were tested with users.

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