Building a UX team from scratch with a legacy software company.
Raven is an online software that lets users monitor and manage their client’s marketing campaign activity all in one place. It includes reports, website audits, research, rankings and social media.
As the lead Researcher and Strategist, I headed up a massive effort to understand who their users were and how they were using the software. While my work continuously included specific projects such as persona development, A/B testing and tool/navigation overhauls, a big part of my work with Raven was developing systems and processes for the new UX team and its integration into the organization overall.
Example A/B test for sign-up process
Raven had a vibrant and enthusiastic customer base and internal team which, paired with incredible tech capabilities, meant we had an abundance of feedback and data at our disposal. But that data needed focus and direction in order to make any kind of impact on the product. All the teams needed to work together to gather, sort, prioritize, design, develop and evaluate. We needed a clear way for everyone to see which improvements were being made at any given time and that needed to be connected to an overarching vision for the product.
There were two MVPs on my plate at Raven tools: Minimally Viable Products (for testing) and Mission, Vision, Purpose. I connected the million intricacies to the overarching mission, vision and purpose of Raven Tools which, in turn, became our product roadmap.
product roadmap strategy
With over 500 UX improvement and feature requests already on the docket, we recognized the need for customers to have a more direct voice. Our team established the Ideas Portal where Raven users could vote on which features or improvements they wanted to see in our product. This way the most popular requests would float naturally to the top and come straight from our users.
The same tool that powered the Ideas Portal also connected to the workflows already in place in other departments (Redmine, Zendesk) which made integrating our new department far less burdensome. From this were were able to put in place clear metrics for success that allowed Raven to overlay customer requests and internal initiatives.
I lead company-wide brainstorming sessions to help deepen the knowledge and to fold the rest of the company into the UX process. The Education, Marketing, and Development teams all cared very much about Raven users. What these sessions did was bring what existed in the ethos into daily practice. The focus was sometimes on internal initiatives and other times focused on the form and function of specific tools on the platform.
It may have felt slow-going at the beginning as everyone was antsy to start making changes, but the architecture put in place by the maiden UX team is increasing efficiency and ROI dramatically. Raven is putting out a more cohesive message and the actions they are taking are proactive rather than reactive. Team members across all departments are enrolled and involved and know where to look if they need help along the way. The automation that is in place keeps everyone on the same page as they follow a ticket through and customers are happy being able to track the process of their request through the Ideas Portal.
What I Learned
While it would have been easy to dive right into the weeds, my instinct to hold the broader vision for Raven and not only delivered better designs but put in place a structure that will serve them for years to come as they build upon this foundation.
What They Said
Emily was great to work with! Her superpower is listening and collecting tons of wild ideas, and then focusing them into the best recommendations. — Nathan T. Baker