A full user-centered design process to re-conceive the Mighty product. Redesigned over six months, the platform was gradually rolled out to users throughout the following year.
Embedded as the only agency resource on the founding team of CTO, CEO, two PMs, I lead all research, strategy, and design. The product concepts, wireframes and some visual design is mine, though final mockups are largely the work of Iñaki Soria and Becky Bochatey.
The deluge of unicorn IPOs in the late 2010s introduced a new wave of investors to the world of venture capital. Mighty saw an opportunity and an obligation – to create a tool that could embody the discipline and principles of VC veterans, but in a modern, digital experience.
As an invite-only investment tool, Mighty had a core group of users, but was struggling to find broader traction in the market. EchoUser was engaged to address this low adoption issue head-on; to study, make recommendations, then design the future of the product.
We were not starting from zero – the Mighty team had a number of ideas as to why adoption was low. Most had to do with existing constraints of the product:
1. The value is not obvious
2. Harder to use than existing tools
4. No way to 'try'
To kick things off, I facilitated a remote Guiding Principles workshop to align the team on the project’s mission and business goals. Themes of collaboration, modernizing workflows, and trust were raised as critical, not only for the product, but our internal team, as well.
Developing intuition within a new, technical domain is never easy. Through countless stakeholder interviews, white-boarding sessions, product tear-downs, and mapping exercises, however, I began to understand our user base’s motivations and concerns.
Though we had a product in use, there were fundamental questions about our users, their motivations and common behaviors. As such, I designed a mixed methods research study with 9 participants, utilizing both formative and summative methodologies
Specifically, we sought to:
1. Identify and evaluate obstacles that prevent user activation.
2. Determine the value that Mighty offers users, in its current state.
3. Determine user needs that the product does not currently address.
4. Identify how different customers use Mighty differently.
5. Establish baseline metrics in satisfaction.
Synthesizing data from the sessions revealed six core findings:
1. Users think in People and Companies
2. There is a goldilocks level of data detail we should strive for
3. Simplify data in
4. Allow for space to play with data
5. Information is currency, put it to work
6. Workflows are the biggest pain
One of the core findings was that users don’t think in terms of discrete investments and deals (the products original organizing principle), but rather, in terms of people and companies.
The challenge then became how to create an information architecture that was intuitively focused on people and companies, but robust enough to continue supporting investments & deals, but as facets of the more intuitive concept of company and people.
Research revealed a dizzying amount of jobs that even the smallest VC offices regularly engage in.
To distill these jobs into manageable design challenges, I first developed personas for the key roles observed across all the VC offices with whome we spoke.
Borrowing from the Jobs To be Done framework, I then mapped the jobs of each persona, loosely evaluating for friction points.
This exercise helped the team realize that the areas where users struggled most were staying on top of their dealflow, managing investments throughout their entire lifecycle, getting data into Mighty, and ad hoc data reporting.
To address these critical frictions, major feature areas were designed around concepts of Deals, Reports, Companies, and Contacts. These would supplement the existing investment management functionality that Mighty offered.
A novel idea was also proposed for a feature called Queue that would focus on getting information into Mighty easier.
Deals was the first feature I designed because it’s where our primary user spends the majority of their time.
The challenge with deals was that while each deal is filled with minutae, the desired behavior is frequent looping into/out of deals at a very shallow level.
To support this kind of circular navigation, a tri-panel layout was designed that allowed for easy browsing of multiple hierarchies, progressively disclosing more detailed information.
Investments are actually pretty simple: funds are wired and in return, users get equity.
Complexity arises at the aggregate level – tracking the pacing of all investments in a given fund, or pulling together all legal documents for all investments the fund made this year.
The Investments feature was therefore redesigned to support multiple levels of engagement. Users can interact with investments directly on the table, but they can also step back and slice investments by category. Portfolios and accompanying meta-data are also exposed, supporting even bigger picture thinking.
VCs live out of their inbox, and so making it easier to get information into Mighty actually meant that Mighty had to learn to play nice with email.
A concept was proposed that would ingest forwarded emails into the product as tasks. Part data logger, part triage assistant, and part task manager, Queue quickly garnered interest among the Mighty team and would later be one of the first new designs built out.
As final deliverables for the project, mockups were created for immediate, medium, and long-term development efforts. The clarity of vision that this work brought to the team had the immediate impact of necessitating new staff hires for design and engineering within 2 months of delivery.
As designs were rolled out, new users began using the product and within a year, the user base had doubled.
Further, Queue is the most frequently used feature on the platform.