Platform: Responsive Website
My role: UX, Research, UI
Accelerators help tech startups on the tortuous road to success by offering various kinds of guiding and support. Some of the programs focus on certain business areas, some on startups and specific stages of their activity, and others help through their network of contacts or domain expertise. Many founders are interested in these programs, but they probably don't know them all and certainly do not know which would be the most effective one for them.
Background: The Accelerators Guide Article (2014)
Geektime collected information about more than 70 accelerator programs back in 2014. It was published as one very long article. That article had very high traffic, which showed people were hungry for this information. But the dwell time was only 3-7 minutes on average, which meant people were unlikely to find the most relevant information for them. It was clear the information had to be indexed and made more accessible.
Geektime Accelerator Guide article - 23 min to read
The article is very long, it is hard for entrepreneurs to filter the Information and to find the most suitable programs.
The Geektime Accel project 2018
The team working on the accelerators site included myself as UX and UI designer, a product manager, a developer, a data collector and a writer. The good teamwork of the interdisciplinary group of people is to be credited for the successful result.
Help founders to find the best accelerator for them, easily and quickly. Transform the current single page article to a simple, easy to use site with clear and searchable information.
Create a smart and effective user experience, by categorizing the programs in the most relevant ways.
Very busy people, who often work virtually 24/7 on promoting their startup
Very high stake, as getting into the right program could be crucial for success. Programs can be very selective and the application process can be expensive in time and resources.
UX methodologies I used
User journey & flow
1# Mapping the Main User Needs
In order to find the parameters founders care about the most when choosing an accelerator, we started by analysing the data already available in the current article. Then we talked to founders and collected data from accelerators.
User interviews with founders
We talked to founders who were looking for an accelerator or had done in the past. We tried to understand what how they made their choices, what parameters they found relevant, and if several programs were relevant, how they made the final choice between them. We asked whether they use Geektime's guide (in the old article format), what other tools they used, and what did they feel they were lacking.
We sent out a questionnaire to accelerators, asking them how they were different from other accelerators, and why did startup chose them.
Analyzing the information on the accelerator article
We went through the programs in the old guide and extracted data that was already there (location, areas of interest).
2# Users Parameters List
Based on the data we collected, we created a prioritised list of the parameters:
3# User Journey + Flows
The next step was mapping the startup founder usage of the site, through searching for the most suitable program, all the way to the site's ultimate goal - registration to a program.
We have considered other types of users, such as marketers, investors and funds, but decided to focus on our main users.
To make the journey both simple and flexible, we wanted to allow simple search based on the predefined parameters we had found, but also other ways of accessing the data - frequent search terms, major categories, and free text search, to be used if the predefined parameters do not suit the user's needs.
We also realised that having seen the search result page, the user is likely to want to change some of the parameters, in order to focus or widen the results.
A. On the homepage, we wanted to allow the user to filter the list by what matters to her.
The question was: what's the smartest way to build it?
Using a single line, the displays text only, or a more structured, visual process
To solve this problem, I looked at other website with indexing and filtering mechanisms, both in Israel and abroad. I looked at e-commerce sites (Asos, Zap), flight booking sites (Mondo, Sky Scanner), travel sites (Booking, Airbnb), and job boards (AllJobs).
I tried to understand how the solve filtering of an thousands, and sometimes millions, of products they offer. We ended up going for a procedural filtering, composed of four questions. Each question was laid on a separate card, with breadcrumbs, back and skip options.
B. Another question was the filtering on the search result page. We wanted to create a hierarchy. First, the user will be presented with the parameters he chose in the first four questions. Then more parameters will be presented for her to play with. The user should also be able to change previously set parameters.
After much research, I came up with two options.
When choosing between those two options, we decided that we wanted to be very minimalist. Horizontal filtering seemed finer, more up-to-date and more suitable to our branding, similar to the clean design of sites like Airbnb. We also trusted our users to be technologically adept and quick to realise how to use the page. In the end, we compressed the horizontal filtering to a single line, showing only the parameters selected before. The rest would be available under "further filtering".
5# User Testing
We wanted to make sure our choices were correct, we made a round of user testing, using Invision
mockups. Many of the feedbacks reinforced our decisions, but we also made some changes. We added an indication for what the action was on the main page, and how many questions there were ("find an accelerator relevant to you in four simple stages"). We also changed the location of the free text search.
In the design stage, I already had the new Geektime color scheme in blue and green. I realised that I wanted to allocate the bulk of the space to pictures of the accelerator themselves, both because they are actually the focus of the project, and because most had high quality PR photo. I therefore chose to stick with a vector look & feel using the color schema I already had. This would also give the website a contemporary look, as using illustrations has been very popular in web design recently.
Main pages - Desktop version
I had to create an icon set for the homepage that would accompany the process of choosing parameters. These icons would remain through the rest of the pages and would give color and consistency throughout.
23 Minutes to read the entire post (20 sec. average per accelerator X70)
Average time to reach the perfect Accelerator for you
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