Achievo
Co-founder and lead designer
Overview

I was a co-founder and lead designer at Achievo. It’s was a tough journey full of ups and downs, but to be an entrepreneurship gives you an extraordinary opportunity to build something on your own. Unfortunately that requires more from you then every job one can ever have, but if you are willing to follow your dreams and are open to learn and give everything you can, than this is a opportunity of a lifetime, an experience you never forget.

Despite my startup never saw a light of the day, it was a great lesson of understanding the lifetime of a product, how business works and transformations of ideas into the products.

Visit the website.

The Begining

The early beginnings of the idea started already in college, when me and my friend had an idea to create an online platform to connect individuals that could build web and mobile applications.

The process took months of planing, we needed to research, take user interviews, make storyboards, market analysis, site maps, user scenarios, value proposition, create websites, apply for startup accelerators, where we were able to present our idea. At the end, the decision was made, that is to much of an risk to continue.

The new idea

After months of work we ditched everything we had and started to study the lean startup method and focusing on finding the problems.

What product or service are we building? What is the problem we want to solve? Who are the customers? What is the target market?

We came up with a few ideas which we decided to validate. We created a few problems and gains which we rated based on intensity, field knowledge, interest and time.

To validate our ideas we created online surveys and participated in different forums and community channels, which topics were in accordance to our main idea. We also validated our hypothesis by getting out of the building, asking anonymously individuals questions that could give us better insights.
After two months of research we have validated our idea. A platform to plan and achieve your goals.
Problem definition
We noticed that people like to share and read success stories, that those get them motivated, excited and if they see themselves reaching of for the same goal, they are willing to risk a lot more. We also noticed a huge rise of users on social media, where people follow successful people and look up to them, like they were mentors, leading them to new adventures and success. The problem we saw is that there is no specific platform for creating, planing and achieving those goals.
Research

Our process started with research; unveiling the real problem that we need to solve and getting more of a sense of what user needs and wants.

A helpful resource was a study with very meaningful data, saying that people who wrote down their goals, share the same information with a friend and sen weekly updates to them, were on average 33% more successful in accomplishing goals, that those with merely formulated goals.

Through the social media, especially in fitness category, we found that a lot of successful users created their own guidelines and books of how to achieve a specific goal. We found a loophole and took advantage of it; there is not an efficient tool to follow the process of an individual user yet.

In the next step we created online surveys and interview some users and asked them about the problems they have, when they want to achieve a specific goal.

Solution hypothesis

After analyzing the data, the basic product goals and values were created and validated later on. At the same time we also wanted to stay focused on our use-case and develop an MVP as soon as possible.

Our basic solution hypothesis were:

Branding
Before creating our landing page, we decided to put a lot of effort into the content that will be available on the website. That process involved creating the website content, copy, Achievo branding, typography, style guide, voice, logo and photography.
Landing page validation

To validate our idea, before building an MVP we created an informal landing page, which was the perfect pre-MVP.

It allowed us to offer our product concept on the web, test our product’s value proposition, and to see if our product idea is on the right track.

We created the call-to-action buttons to sell our product to potential customers. Our call-to-action was a prominent sign-up form. The main goals were to collect the next data:
We wanted to see how many user would sign up as a mentor. We asked them about their area of expertise, how many people they coach and how can we reach them. We wanted to see how many user would sign up as potential customers. We asked them what goals they want to achieve and how can we reach them.

Monitoring and metrics

Using a landing page to test our product idea was a great way to save time and prevent us from building a product that nobody wants. The most important aspect moving forward was the KPI based call to action for the user.

We tried to get at least a 10% of conversion on our landing page and over 50-100 of signups. We also monitored how many users clicked on the call-to-action button, but did not fill out the form, how much time they spent on the website and the conversion rate.

50% of the users also submitted their goals they want to achieve, which gave us a great insight of what kind of goals are users planing to achieve.

In one week we had around 800 unique visitors, 140 clicks on sign up form, 90 emails, 45 goals provided and 7 mentor sign ups.

After successful landing page validation and basic solution hypothesis, it was time to lay down the product foundations and build the MVP.

User stories

User stories were part of our agile approach that helped us to shift focus from writing about requirements to talking about them. They included a sentence or two, and more importantly, series of conversations about the desired functionality.

Personas
Creating personas helped me to create empathy and understanding of people I am designing for. They are a relatable snapshot of the target audience that highlights their needs, motivation, behaviors and demographics. At the end, it makes the design decisions less abstract and more human.
User flow
A visual representation of the user's flow to complete a tasks within the product. It's the user perspective of the site organization, making it easier to identify which steps could be improved or designed.
Sketches
Before getting into wireframes I started to create sketches in Photoshop. For a project so big, it was easier for me to create all the content on a computer then draw and write on paper.
Wireframes
Creating wireframes helped us to analyze and validate software requirements.
Usability test

As a startup we did not want to focus on fundraising, business plans but instead, we wanted to alter our product incrementally in response to our customer feedback.

After our wireframes were created, we decided to do some first one-to-one interviews in which users would be asked to perform a series of tasks.

Through the interview we asked our users to perform specific task; like create new goal, create new task inside your goal, find a success story, change your email settings, etc.

In total, we observed 18 attempts of performing specific tasks. Of those 18 attempts, 6 were successful and 2 were partially successful. For this particular site, we gave each partial success half a point. In general, 50% credit worked well for us, since we didn’t had any compelling reason to give different types of errors especially high or low scores.

In this example, the success rate was (6+(2*0.5))/18 = 38%.

Improvements

By watching our test users use our product we found that there is still room for improvements and that there were a lot of areas that were confusing and not simple or clear enough.

We updated our wireframes and invited potential users to a second interaction.

Final outcome
After a lot of validations, iterations and feedback we got to the point where out MVP had the necessary user experience that meets the user needs and can, as a developed web platform, provide the functionalities and environment to help users plan and achieve their goals.
Development
The MVP development start already in early stages of design. We needed to create a stable back-end environment on which our platform would be build and provide a working functionalities. Unfortunately, as only two team members, we needed to compromise on our functionalities. We didn’t had the time to build a whole functional prototype so we narrowed it down to the tasks that user would be able to perform and focused to deliver a functional, usable user experience. We focused on the basic product requirements like creating your goals, creating tasks, share your success stories.
The end

Our MVP was developed to the stage where it is more functional and usable, and provides a great visual experience. But since the unexpected turns of events, the MVP never made it into the world.

It was quite a journey where as an entrepreneur I tried, learned and succeeded in trying. It helped me to clearly understood the though startup environment and the time, effort and skills that are needed to bring you idea from sketch into the real world. And once your product makes it into the real world, the journey actually begins.