Case Study: Uptual 1.0

Uptual 1.0 is an online marketplace where homeowners can easily find and hire a contractor.

I worked with a remote team of 6 developers and a local team of the CEO, a marketing lead, a community lead, and I was the product designer.

My roles:

  • Clarify the product vision
  • User research
  • User / task flows
  • Click-through prototypes
  • Wireframes
  • User interface and visual design
  • Copywriting
  • Usability testing.

I employed a lean UX process throughout so we could ship, test, and iterate quickly. Uptual was a startup and went through several pivots after this initial version. 

A page from the Uptual Product Plan

Stakeholder Interviews & Project Plan

My first step was to meet with stakeholders to clarify the current state of the project, to gather and give my input on functional requirements, define target users, and understand the broad product vision. I documented these findings in a project plan. 

User Research & User Personas

User personas help me and the team stay focused on user needs when making product decisions. I conducted user interviews and user behavior analysis to clarify user needs and define user personas for our key user segments.

Design Persona

I led exercises with our team to help define a voice, brand and personality for Uptual. The result was the Uptual Design Persona, a document I created containing guidelines for the personality and the brand of Uptual. This document would inform all future design decisions.  

Style Guides

A style guide documents color, typography and user interface standards for the visual design. I created many initial variations to present to stakeholders and get their input. The style guide would give the initial interface a consistent look that was congruent with the personality guidelines in the Uptual Design Persona.

This is one of the earliest iterations of a style guide. 

Whiteboards are my friends...

Mindmapping & Taskflows

Core to my design process is getting in front of a whiteboard with my team and mapping out task flows and UI concepts. I explored tons of solutions on whiteboards before moving onto higher fidelity designing.  

Functional Requirements & User Flows

I collaborated with our team to identify the key user needs and tasks, and I worked with the team to define and prioritize functional requirements. I then translated these functional requirements into user flows. This process was repeated throughout the product development cycle.

Wireframes & Prototyping

I created wireframes & clickable prototypes throughout the project. This allowed our team and users to evaluate and test my design solutions and give feedback. I would then refine my design solutions iteratively and this process was repeated throughout the project. 

User Interface
& Visual Design

Design and development was done in two week iterations. We would first define a scope for an iteration, and then I would update user flows, create wireframes, and then create user interface designs. My design philosophy was to keep design simple, often designing “just enough” to get started on development. I also designed iteratively, refining the design over the product development cycle instead of designing “final” & “perfect” design up front.