nusii is an online proposal service for designers and studios. nusii helps speed up the proposal creation process by over half and increases acceptance rates through easy, online signing. The trouble with nusii was that it was a proven MVP (minimum viable product) that was losing customers and money. Being a design consultant that was writing plenty of proposals I knew that nusii could be done better. Sure there were existing products on the market, but they were all so bloated and complicated to use. A simple, quick and attractive solution was needed.
Designers hate writing proposals because they feel like a lottery. They also hate writing proposals because they eat into billable time, time that is potentially lost forever. nusii intended to tackle two problems: Reduce the amount of time spent writing proposals through the use of templates and resuable sections, and increasing acceptance rates in shorter time periods. A designer who can reduce their proposal writing time and their proposal acceptance ratings is going to be a happy, happy designer.
With an MVP that already had paying customers, nusii needed to step up its game. The service needed to be improved on every level. Customer retention needed to increase and of course revenue needed to take a turn for the better.
There’s plenty of competition in the online proposal market, but there was still room at the table. A proven market is an open market...if you can add something of value. Competitors were selling their solutions as an ideal fit for designers, this may have been the case once upon a time, but no more. The learning curve for the majority of existing services was also high. Nobody wants to learn how to use a piece of software; they want to instinctively know how to use it. Designers want to be up and running in minutes.
nusii is a SaaS (Software as a service) app. Customers pay a monthly fee in return for a service that is continually updated, secure and functional. One of the advantages of working with an existing service, is that it already has users. Users that can give insight into what a product is good at, and of course not so good at. The first thing I did was talk to some of nusii’s paying customers. I began with a short survey. It’s good to get an initial idea of how users feel towards a product or service. These surveys would come in handy later on when I began testing prototypes...
To a certain extent redesigning an existing product is easier, but then again... Most web applications have a lot of screens, a lot of options. Every action a user can perform needs to be taken into account and designed. The best way to find out what these actions are is to create some quick and dirty wireframes.
Wireframes are a great way to see if an idea is going to pan out. Even my initial wireframes while great on paper, soon ran into problems as the design came together and the prototype was built. But that's what they're for. Find the errors early and iterate before you even start designing.
Prototypes are a luxury every business should afford themselves, whether it’s a clickable PDF wireframe, a hand coded HTML bonanza or a fully-fledged operational product party. There is nothing like a working product to find flaws. Well actually there is, User Testing. User testing will find flawed thinking quicker than you can say, “What the hell were we thinking!” Seriously, user testing will save you money. Every time.
I contacted some of nusii’s users and a few designers who had never used the service. I put the prototype in front of them and asked them to perform a series of actions. The entire process was recorded for later study. It doesn’t matter how good you are at your job, or how much you think you know about your users or product, user testing will blast your preconceived ideas out of the water. When you're involved in a project you begin to think your users will see things as you do. You presume they’ll understand how something works just because you’ve worked to make it as simple as possible. Flawed thinking!
The nusii users testing showed flaws in my design thinking. Some were major, others not so. But each piece of feedback told me something new about the way a customer presumed something should or could work. It was a real eye opener.
nusii is now in its final stages. The user testing feedback has been implemented, the designs have been refined and the final back-end work is being put in place. Since starting work on the nusii redesign, signups have increased by 27%. The number of signups for the free email course: Increase your acceptance rates in just 5 days have increased by 200%. The future is looking bright for nusii online proposals, and I'm excited about what it might bring.
I only work on project where I think I can bring value, so if you think your startup could use a veteran, results orientated designer then I'd love to chat with you.
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