By Sara Shuman
At StoryFile, our values are centered around trust, authenticity, and innovation. How do we in Product Design work with these values in mind? Easy. We integrate our collective 50+ years of successful B2B digital design experiences to emphatically solve both the users’ needs and StoryFile’s business objectives.
With over 16k+ SaaS companies that have launched since 2019, the market is incredibly saturated. How does a company stand out in this crowded market? Again, easy. Offer an amazing product with a “product first” strategy that allows the product to sell itself.
Let me take you through a real example…
At StoryFile, we strive to have our SaaS products be:
- TRUSTWORTHY: designed with people’s security and data privacy in mind
- AUTHENTIC: no frills, easy-to-use intuitive interfaces
- INNOVATIVE: the very first human-AI chatbot
The product team has learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t for user design, and what it means to make AI more human. We’ve distilled the many insights and lessons into high level guiding principles, full of gold stars and data:
The Seven Golden Rules at StoryFile Product Design
- Be Smart – Have the finger on the pulse of modern SaaS design solutions. Gain the trust of users with intuitive, modern designs.
- Be Helpful – Ask what the creative business problem is, and solve it. Turn the product into an innovative solution to a problem users didn’t even know they had.
- Be Respectful – Deliver engaging and authentic digital experiences that help the user quickly find what they are looking for. Use natural language and kill all the marketing fluff.
- Be informative/Clear – Help focus creative teams on solving innovative business problems while staying aware of the user experience.
- Be Unafraid – Fear kills the creative spark faster than anything. Let the creative team embrace failing early, and failing fast. That’s how we learn. We all trust each other. Also, be unafraid to offer new, creative ideas and solutions, to push our products forward
- Keep Evolving – The users’ mental model evolves. Keep up with modern SaaS design principles while conducting usability testing to hear straight from the users’ mouths.
- Keep it Simple – When users engage with our interfaces, they should think “wow, that was easy,” “wow, that was helpful,” or “wow, my company should buy this SaaS product.”
Test. Optimize. Repeat.
Let’s look at an example of product-led growth insights gleaned from early usability testing on StoryFile Life recording screen prototype designs.
StoryFile Life Recording Screens
- Goals: measure the customer experience at every touch-point. Focus on the main video recording screens where the user will spend the most time
- Quantitative Testing: Video shown to 1k users with a quantitative video survey follow-up
- Usability Testing: two rounds of 1-on-1 usability testing on both beta and launch designs
- BEFORE – 20 features and tools displayed on the recording screens
- AFTER – 8 features on the final simplified designs with enlarged recording real estate. Smaller features tucked into a settings menu. Remove global navigation.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Simplify the UI/UX to keep the users focused on the main task. Be authentic in the tools and UI presented.
North Star Guiding Principles in StoryFile Product Design
Learn Constantly – Embrace a growth mindset, are curious and open-minded, seek constant improvement, talk to users, conduct usability testing, experiment, and “fail fast”.
Be Good to Each Other – We are positive, encouraging, respectful, grateful, and giving. We within the StoryFile Product Design team are very proud that we give out physical StoryFile GOLD STARS to reward out-of-the-box innovative thinking.
Design is a Team Sport – Good ideas can come from anywhere – from both your users and your internal teams. Provide a trustworthy space where both the team members AND your users can feel safe enough to share ideas. Be inclusive at any level. But use that data to move quickly and innovate.
Data-Driven Designs – Analytics, analytics, analytics. It’s the key to success in the SaaS space. Define the KPIs and work to deliver those successful numbers. Evolve, iterate, A/B test it, talk to users, measure it, and do it again until the KPIs are at the number the business has defined as success.
Health and Balance – Innovating can happen at a fast and fierce pace, similar to holding a firefighter’s water hose. It can get exhausting. We promote healthy living and balance by handing out “safe words” that if anytime someone uses their safe word… everything stops. We honor that request and give them time and space to recover.
At StoryFile, we use these seven golden rule principles to continue creating innovative products, supported by a team that we can rely on to continue offering users moments of delight while creating their first ever Conversational Video human AI chatbots to solve their own business challenges.