To build a successful platform, you first have to know what it’s going to support. In order to discover all of the potential marketing and product requirements for this experience, we needed real content. So we started by facilitating a number of work sessions with each of the different product groups at Salesforce.
We started by helping the teams develop an overall narrative strategy for the tour, ultimately arriving at a solution-based approach that was segmented by business size. We then designed a custom process to help the product marketing teams create the individual product scenarios to be presented for each solution by mapping user needs to corresponding product features.
After the workshops, we compiled the output into custom worksheets that would serve not only as documentation for the initial scenarios, but also as a template for future internal efforts.
At the end of the strategy phase we had discovered the content experience requirements for our platform, developed a number of real-life narratives to test, and equipped Salesforce with a replicable process to grow the platform across more products in the future.
The most important requirement of this assignment was that the resulting experience had to perform. We had several metrics that had to be met or exceeded, or else the experience would be a failure.
This requirement drove a huge focus on simplicity. Designs were streamlined repeatedly. Navigational pathways were scrutinized for discoverability and affordance. Colors were scrutinized to ensure that that they didn’t fight with the interface designs. Everything was focused on comprehension and engagement.
As we progressed, it became clear that some of the important decisions we were making, like motion cues and time delays, couldn’t simply be annotated—they needed to be tested. We decided we needed something more than a simple clickable prototype.
We chose to build a custom sandbox of the platform essentially from scratch. With Bootstrap and Node.js, we assembled an version of the experience with a JSON back-end that allowed us to make changes to content and scenarios on the fly—all in about two weeks. The result was a virtually feature-complete prototype that would serve as a proper stimulus in usability testing.
Usability testing proved most our collective decisions sound, and the Salesforce team took over to extend our experiment into a fully-fledged platform. In the initial months after it launched, completion rates were up dramatically (+157%) and, even more importantly, conversion rates to completed lead forms were up an astounding 35%. Needless to say we were thrilled, and so were our partners at Salesforce.
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