During my tenure at Kickstarter I held a few different roles: including lead designer and team lead. To illustrate this, I am foregoing a typical case study format and instead opting to illustrate a timeline of my key roles, projects, and accomplishments.
I joined Kickstarter on the System Integrity team
In the 2010s, Kickstarter has witnessed an erosion of trust in the crowdfunding model, and the System Integrity team's goal is to rebuild that trust in our platform.
I was the sole designer on this team, and it was my responsibility for end-to-end ideation through implementation of everything our team built.
In our research, we uncovered that backers often lose trust in creators when they over-promise or exaggerate (i.e. "The World's Fastest Toy Car" or "The Best Suitcase Ever") what their project is or what it can do.
The original scope was to refresh our rules page, and I sold in an additional real-time language detection feature that flags exaggerations as they are typed in by a creator.
• 80% less superlatives in project titles and descriptions • Only 1 of 10 of our top grossing projects had a superlative (compared to 5 of 10 the previous year) • Widespread coverage: Verge, TechCrunch, CNET, Engagdet
We ensured 21% more first-time creators calculate their taxes and fees
When creators budget poorly, projects fail. Many first time creators forget to account for taxes and Stripe fees when budgeting. One creator we interviewed was $60k in debt because they forgot to account for taxes.
We built a light-weight calculator that helps first-time creators calculate taxes and fees.
• 50% of all creators interact with the tool • Of those that interact with the tool, 98% complete it • 21% of first time creators launch with the calculated funding goal
We helped 40% more first time creators budget their projects
While the funding calculator helped beginners, many creators wanted a more comprehensive budgeting resource. Many creators don't know where to start, and often overlook shipping, labor, manufacturing, and storage costs.
We created in-depth Google Sheets templates based on spreadsheets shared from experienced creators. The completed template could be used to generate a custom, interactive visualization on their campaign page to showcase to backers.
In late 2019, it became clear our product organization was too scattered. To reach our objectives we would need to narrow our focus and consolidate our 8-9 small teams into 3-4 larger teams.
I recognized an opportunity to advocate for my team, and created a pitch deck that I presented to our leadership team highlighting what we accomplished so far, and how it laid the foundation for an even larger, more ambitious body of work in 2020 if we scaled up.
• Our team was prioritized as a major focus area for 2020 • Our team was allocated enough resources to double in size • I was recognized for my proactivity and was asked to lead a new R&D team
Since Kickstarter has no reviews of projects, it was impossible to measure overall platform health. The only way to evaluate the status of a project was to manually check updates, comments, and tickets.
We introduced a simple feedback capture so backers can let us know how projects are going.
• Set a baseline for platform health that is now a top-line company metric • 10% platform coverage rate & 13% engagement rate • Learned that backer sentiment varied widely by project category
I led an R&D team tasked with reaching new creators
Our team was tasked with identifying ways to expand our reach in the market. Through extensive market research and creator interviews, we were able to validate that over time Kickstarter has professionalized, and the barrier to entry for new creators had become too high. We were working towards a beta release of a new product when this initiative was unfortunately paused in June due to COVID-19, and our team refocused towards stabilizing the core business.
I was the team lead and lead designer. I was responsible for guiding strategy, research, ideation, prototyping, stakeholder alignment, and budgeting.
• Validated that Kickstarter reaches a small fraction of the market for creative work • Built high fidelity prototypes for user testing and validation • Gained leadership buy-in for developing a beta product • View a teaser prototype of the beta product I designed
I set strategy that brought in an additional $2M per month in pledges
In June, Kickstarter under went a re-organization to respond to challenges presented by COVID-19. Our team was tasked with helping to stabilize the business by finding opportunities to optimize the backer experience.
I was promoted to staff product designer with a strategic focus, and was responsible for doing design exploration and strategic prioritization of projects our team executed on.
• Spread the reach of our recommendations, adding $1m in pledges per month • Created new recs emails that also generate an additional $1m in pledges per month • These projects are on pace to account for 3-4% of our total annual revenue • Shared a more in-depth look at this process on the Kickstarter product blog