Lead Product Design, UX Research, Product Strategy
Sketch, After Effects, Zeplin, Invision, Atomic
MONEY SQUAD (MAKE IT RAIN BABY)
To date, Wattpad has grown an incredible community of over 70 million monthly users across the world who spend over 22 billion minutes a month engaged in original stories. Wattpad is a thriving, sustainable community for readers and writers of stories that don’t exist anywhere else. I had the opportunity to be a part of the Monetization Team (Money Squad) as their Product Design Lead. On top of working alongside the team’s product manager, platform developers, the marketing team, and other product designers from different teams, it is critical that I help the company be as profitable as possible and for the revenue stream to be as reliable as possible. This means that I focus on fine tuning and finding opportunities within the advertising, subscription, and purchase economies to exceed user retention and monetization goals.
We have observed that Wattpad’s current revenue model (using programmatic and direct sold advertisement) is a proven strategy and is performing well. However, it currently lacks efficiency and predictability within the company.
How might we improve so that:
1. The company can continue to scale successfully? 2. This does not dramatically agitate the current experience?
As a team, the Money Squad introduced, Wattpad Premium, a completely new way of monetizing on Wattpad. By becoming a Premium member, users will receive an ad-free and optimized experience, along with early access to all new features. We strive to create these new opportunties to help increase the predictability and efficiency of the company. This will be leveraged as a stepping stone into expanding Wattpad’s current image into a global entertainment company. It's important to keep in mind that supporting a community as large as Wattpad, in 244 different countries, and 55 different languages, requires a lot of resources, technical infrastructure, and support. Initially, Wattpad only used programmatic and direct sold ads to fund the community. However, there has been many requests for a Premium option (subscription model). This gives users a way to support Wattpad directly, while keeping the app free for everyone else.
Every week I would work to solve fresh new problems. I have been responsible for creating a functional, usable, and delightful experience that solves both our advertisers’ and users’ needs. I explored ways for the product to enable more revenue growth, increase advertiser satisfaction, while also making sure that Wattpad remains captivating for the users. This includes defining the problem space, understanding the user motivations, modelling initial solutions, rapid prototyping, testing to validate the designs, communicating the solution, and ensuring that concepts and designs are well executed. Here is one of the many problems that I worked to solve during my time at Wattpad. The workflow for this design solution has been presented to the entire company and has been fully implemented on Wattpad.
DUMB IT DOWN AND MAKE IT ACTIONABLE
Since Wattpad’s current revenue model is only based on programmatic ads and direct sold campaigns, it is important to understand that by introducing the subscription model, it will cause a disruption to the legacy of the company. For this very reason, finding out exactly how our users would react to this change and how a subscription model is perceived is crucial. I also believe that this is a good place to start, so that I don’t make any quick assumptions on what the expected behaviour should be. Before doing so, alot of attention has been put on the messaging and how we want to come off as to make our users feel even more excited about the subscription model. I wanted to make sure that we are providing them with enough value to sway our users into anticipating for this change, while also making it clear and actionable. After many brainstorms, iterations, and user feedback from surveys, I have come up with two different types of messaging based on our user’s motivations: 1. ad-free focused messaging 2. cause messaging inspired by the company's vision and mission statement
ALL PATHS LEAD TO PREMIUM
We have separated the subscription design process into different stages. I had the opportunity to introduce the first stage, where our Premium members would receive an enhanced and uninterrupted experience. The next stage includes discovering and incorporating other valuable features that would further satisfy our users’ needs. By doing so, it can influence the likelihood of a user subscribing to Wattpad. I have made sure to be thoughtful with how Premium would fit within the current experience. I did so by sprinkling light hints of Call-To-Actions throughout the Web, iOS, and Android platforms.
STAYING ON BRAND
I wanted to stretch out my creativity and explore ways of presenting going Premium to our users in a fun and whimsical way. So I had originally put together this type of illustration within the interstitials:
Unfortunately, these didn’t make the cut, because it did not completely fit our brand guidelines! Wattpad currently does not have a well-defined illustration, and most of the illustrations that we do have, come from our icons. So it would be important that if we were to introduce an illustration style, that we are willing to stick with it and avoid any other unneccessary design debt. So basing off of Wattpad’s current icons (thick strokes, rounded corners, and less expressive), I recreated the illustrations to better fit Wattpad’s brand.
After release, we tracked key metrics in reading time, and saw only a minor affect on both new and existing users. The target revenue and engagement for Wattpad Premium also exceeded the target goal that we had set. Additionally, it has garnered traction and has been featured in TechCrunch.
There were many drastic changes that has happened during my experience at Wattpad (which included the new team formations and strategy realignment), but it has really helped me continue to embrace the unknown. I was able to push myself and to not limit my thinking to existing standards. Ultimately, I opened up my horizons to more possibilities than ever, and it is only through this way that I can see outside of the constraints that I unwittingly create.