In early 2020, Goodwall was focused on opportunities for users: internships, jobs, programs, and the like. In March of that same year, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Lockdowns and stay at home orders changed what the world looked like overnight. Our team needed a way to connect with our users and help them prepare for a post-COVID-19 world.
My Roles: Design Lead, UI Design, UX Design
With the pandemic roaring worldwide, we noticed a change of behavior in our users. We found that engagement and post creation was low. We knew the world was shifting and we started asking ourselves: What can we do to adapt and to help? We set a goal to investigate how we can reach out and connect to our users in a different way.
Our team made several observations with how the community was behaving. We empathized with them to see how we could create something that would help them.
Knowing how critical ideation for this project, the team involved as many key people as possible. Our "Ideation Squad" comprised of team members from leadership, design, product, engineering, and marketing. Everyone on the team regularly shared ideas both in ideation meetings and through chat.
We explored ideas on Gamification, Moments, and Challenges. We previously had success in Gamification and considered the possibility of bringing back some of those elements to the experience. Moments & Stories has been a concept that we have been exploring for years. This concept could be a way for users to form habits and post stories that eventually turn into achievements, our primary post type.
The idea that was chosen by the team was "Challenges." The idea was to run challenges on the platform so users can get involved in different activities and engage with the community. Some initial ideas of challenges were #studyathome, #bethechange, and #bettertogether. These all reflect a hopeful and positive outlet amidst the tough situation of the pandemic.
We were aware that we had very limited time and resources to get this right. In order to validate and test our idea in a very cost effective way, we leveraged our existing hashtag system. We ran challenges with the existing UI to see how this feature would be received by the Goodwall community. No development time was needed to test the feature.
Shortly after soft launching the Challenges feature, we saw an uptick in engagement from the community. We took this as validation to further design and develop this feature.
We designed two key screens to turn Challenges into a real feature on the Goodwall app. We designed a dedicated Hashtag Page and a Discover Hashtags Page. Hashtags would work exactly the same as Challenges. A featured Challenge could have a cover photo, description, related groups, and the related posts. Users can join or take part in a challenge from the dedicated page. These screens were designed for both our mobile and web experiences.
With the Discover screen, users could discover new and trending Challenges. This was also a great space for us to promote sponsored hashtags and challenges.
With the whole team coming together from different teams, collectively the Challenges feature produced the following results:
The new Challenges featured also opened up opportunities for sponsored content, hashtags, and events. The team was also happy to see that the new feature also encouraged inactive users to return to the app.
The Challenges feature changed the trajectory of the Goodwall app and inspired new programs and new features. After Challenges, we launched the #BetterTogether program, a 5-week virtual event and program with challenges and speakers. Early in the next year, we also launched the Challenge Feed to put our users' posts front and center through video.