Tap by Wattpad — A new way to experience interactive stories
2017 · iOS, Android & Web App · Role — Lead Product Designer, UX Research, Product Strategy
Tap is a new way to consume stories through short text messages told line by line as you tap. I had the opportunity of leading design in launching a new app that combines gripping suspense and unique storytelling to create immersive, interactive stories for people to enjoy.
I helped define the product roadmap through user research studies to help uncover user behaviour and motivations in how people consume entertainment. Testing and prototyping with users to further iterate and learn, and then translating these insights into usable, meaningful and delightful experiences. I also led visual design efforts in creating consistent and scalable patterns across the app.
From concept to public launch in 4 weeks, our rapid iterative process allowed the team to work in an agile environment while continuing to gather insights and iterate with the product out in the wild.
Launched in early 2017, we've seen amazing traction, being featured in TechCrunch, Globe and Mail, and being awarded 2 Mobile UX Awards for Best Entertainment and Content app.
Through our research, we found the was an opportunity to better understand how people consume entertainment. Our community of over 60 million active users on Wattpad already shared a love for reading long-form fiction, so how might we enable people who enjoy reading stories in a more captivating and interactive way?
The product team and I used an iterative dual-track agile process that allowed us to conduct research to validate user problems while continually feeding insights and solutions into a delivery and learning backlog to release on a weekly cadence.
Interaction of tapping to reveal the next message in the story. branded campaign for 'IT'
Working closely with our UX Researcher, we conducted months of extensive generative research studies and methodologies to uncover how people engage and use entertainment, in both qualitative and quantitative spectrums. The goal was to better understand their consumption habits and behaviour associated with the idea of unwinding, relaxing, and enjoy entertainment across video, voice, traditional, online reading and much more.
Longitudinal diary studies enabled us to uncover behaviour and motivation on a repeated basis to help uncover clear insights that better fit the context we were designing for. People typically relax and unwind and turn on Netflix, read a book, play a game, etc. at the end of a workday, after school or when they were bored.
We conducted user interviews across different groups by identifying the jobs users need to accomplish, we are able to uncover motivation and behaviour in the context of time and space. Different motivations and jobs are hired for different contexts when people enjoy entertainment. Our research uncovered 3 main jobs when people consume entertainment:
1. Tiny Binger
2. Tiny Energizer
3. Time-Limited Consumer
We conducted content specific focus groups to test out story genres ranging from horror, comedy and romance to measure peoples perception to reading them on Tap. We focused on producing content that resonated best with our users.
Iterating as we learn
I facilitating brainstorm and sketching workshops which allowed team engagement and breadth of ideas being shared. I was able to take lessons learned and insights from our ongoing research and implement solutions throughout the release cycles
Research helped inform design decisions such as iterations to the home feed
pricing and conversion experiments informed iterations of our paywall design
Brainstorming session on the future of storytelling
to distinguish more interactive stories that integrate video, sound, and more immersive elements, visualizations signal the immersive qualities of the story. Turning on sound triggers an audio visualizer to inform and signal users that there is sound
Story engagement is shown in real time on the cover of each story. As a person scrolls, they are able to see the tap count to popular stories increase as the number of people tap through the story. This adds social interaction and metadata to signal and seed popular content on Tap.
Data Informed, not driven
Understanding the leading and lagging indicators that our solutions result in are important when working through objectives and results, by balancing these variables and working with data to inform our design decisions. When designing experiences for people, questioning our data and offsetting with qualitative insights ensures we are designing for people and not just business goals.
Designing for the future
The team has created a solid foundation and subscriber base, as we begin looking into better ways for people to find relevant content that best suits their personal interests and niches. By integrating a machine learning algorithm in the feed and design rules around the frequency a Tap user visits we can better present these stories for people to enjoy and be entertained.
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