OneWed (2012 - 2013)
- UX & UI
- Look & Feel
- Front End Dev
OneWed was a unique project for me in that it was an inherited website (if you have a strong constitution, check out how it looked when we got it). The major challenges went far beyond simply making it look prettier. We had to reorganize and reimagine the site while attempting to maintain what was working well.
We transformed OneWed from a disorganized and rather ugly blog/photo gallery/vendor directory with valuable SEO into the 5th most visited wedding website online - something more like Pinterest for weddings with actionable photos (that is, linked either to an actual product, an actual local vendor, or an advice-driven editorial piece). We also designed and built a well-received and rather sexy iPad app.
Admittedly, the problem we continued to have when I last touched the product was that we had tons of traffic but very low engagement. We all had ideas on how to solve this, but lacked the resources to complete all the work (#startupproblems). There is however, still hope.
Since the beginning, I was frustrated with the complexity of the product. There’s really just too much going on for the site’s value to be inherently clear to visitors. But here’s the problem. We had a vendor directory that was active and bringing in money, a large directory of wedding products (a data goldmine), and killer SEO based in no small part on our editorial. To remove any one of those components in order to simplify the product would be like chopping a limb off and would have been incredibly risky.
The risk may have equaled the reward, but I think our solution was both clever and potentially more valuable than a narrower product focus: actionable inspiration - if you see it, you can buy it or hire it. Houzz was our model for this as well as for the “ideabooks” feature, which is not terribly different from Pinterest’s boards feature, but had the added benefit of morphing into user generated editorial.
A side project worth mentioning is the MatchMaker, a quiz that made it easier for engaged couples to find their dream vendor locally (and told us more about both vendors and couples so that we could further customize their experiences). We did some deep thinking around how couples choose their vendors. For example, a personality fit is incredibly important in a photographer, so we figured out how to categorize photographic styles (modern, romantic, traditional, etc) and working styles (I follow you, I take the lead, I find a balance) in addition to asking more basic questions like location, wedding size, and cost.
I also got to design UI for our extensive internal tagging and organizing software built by our brilliant lead developer.
OneWed was a great opportunity for me to really take the helm in terms of product design. I was basically given free reign with incredible (and in many ways equal or greater) support from our small team. We had a lot of validation on the concept as similar sites with more nimble teams and less legacy code have been popping up.