Two months ago we proudly launched Lenses, a highly-requested and powerful new feature allowing program managers to see their Influitive hub through the eyes of their members. Since launch, over 600 lenses have been created to preview different customer journeys and flows and test without fear of impacting a user’s live experience or leaving an unwanted trail of data.  From ideation to implementation and ongoing adoption, crafting Lenses was no simple feat and required a lot of hard work and collaboration within Influitive and with our customers.   Read on as we take you through the journey behind developing this marquee feature. 

A Customer-Generated Idea

A product idea with a significant number of votes is a natural signal that the underlying problem is commonly shared amongst users. One particular idea, submitted by Tim Newborn, Marketing Programs Manager, Customer Advocacy and Engagement at Blackbaud, bubbled up as the top most voted request in Influitive VIP, our customer community. The decision to prioritize the request into our roadmap at a quarterly cross-departmental offsite in early 2020 was an easy and unanimous one.

Testing Patience with Test Accounts

Tim and other customers voiced their desire for the ability to render previews of the end user experience. Before Lenses, the administrator’s view of the member side was universal: it was a sweeping and unfocused overview of all content that was visible to no particular user. This warranted the existence of test accounts which program managers would add to the content’s targeting rules (the platform’s segmentation/content visibility editor). Program managers would then either log into these accounts to preview the experience themselves, provide guided walkthrough presentations to internal stakeholders, or share it with coworkers directly for self-serve demos.  However, anything that was clicked could not be re-done and flipping between an administrator and end user account was annoying and time-consuming. These workarounds for demo-ing and viewing user journeys were painful but critical for day-to-day administration and strategic program management. The team also identified other themes from Tim’s product request thread:

  • Test accounts resulted in fake data which inflated reporting metrics
  • Program managers desired a view-only permission set to demo the experience to other stakeholders
  • Customers with SSO were restricted from making test accounts 

These initial insights catalyzed a deep-dive investigation.

Building A Deeper Understanding

We facilitated a focus group discussion with the Influitive Voice of the Customer Council in Spring 2020 to explore the problem and reveal more insight. We also conducted two rounds of 1:1 interviews with customers to dig even deeper. Many thanks to our customers for contributing to this part of the process. This group included: 

These customer sessions generated standout quotes that were empathy-building and served as anchors to which we oriented ourselves throughout the design process:

“If I were to [divide up my Influitive project management time], it would be about 75% testing and 25% building [content].”

“[What’s important] is internal education and getting internal buy-in and wanting to show them what somebody sees when they first show up.”

Solidifying the Problem

While we identified many issues along the way, we anchored ourselves to these high-level problem statements:

  • “I can’t easily see what content is showing to a particular group or member.”
  • “I can’t easily demo the hub because it affects reporting and challenges are completed permanently.”
  • “I can’t easily test out the challenge flows I’ve created.”

Internally, we coined this as the “impersonation” problem, defined by the desire to step into the shoes of a member. Lenses, the ability to view their experience, became the resulting solution. 

Seeing Clearly with Lenses

Updated Context Switching Bar We transformed the existing bar that shows you what context of the app you are in — the member side (which was a generic preview of what was visible to end users) or the admin side (the “backend”). The bar became home to a new search field where you could look for a member to impersonate. We added a filter to help users narrow down their search using audience segments called, Groups. Status Bar This status bar shows you the progress of the Lens loading and changes state when it is ready for you to jump in and view the Lens. Lens Mode “Lens Mode” is indicated by the active border around the screen. A timestamp marks when the view was generated and a refresh action is available to see the most up-to-date view. These functionalities not only help with demo-ing and testing the member experience but also serve as a troubleshooting tool, a bonus benefit of the feature where one can easily and quickly jump into the view of a member to verify what they’re seeing at that very moment. 

Beta Testing 

Customer involvement at every point of the feature process is critical to building well-designed solutions. We ran a beta experience with customers so that they could play around with functionality pre-release, assist the team with catching bugs to tighten up the user experience, and to provide general feedback which influenced the final design.

An Effective and Eye-Opening Look into Members’ Journeys

A feature is only as good as the impact it has on customers and the tasks they need to complete every day as part of their job as program administrators. We collected feedback and tried to determine how successful we were at addressing the core problems that were identified during our research. According to results from the survey published in our customer community,

  • Lenses biggest value driver is seeing what’s available to members
  • Second biggest value driver is the opportunity to demo to other stakeholders and to test user flows
  • 83% reported a reduced need for using or creating test accounts
  • 94% reported that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the feature

Customers are at the center of our feature creation process. We involve them at every point along the way to understand the pain points they face and integrate their feedback before it makes it to their hands, refining solutions to ensure the resulting feature is intuitive to use and creates value. Becoming an Influitive customer means you’ll be able to contribute to roadmap development and craft features with us that will bring value and delight to you and other users of the platform.