Not only were we hearing directly from customers that this was a problem, but we could see it in our data, too: a significant drop off between customers who sign up and start connecting a channel, and customers who successfully finish and continue on to schedule a post.
We were losing customers to a poor setup experience.
The devil's in the details
The research phase for this project was significant — I spent time looking at customer complaints and speaking with our Customer Advocacy team, meticulously documenting our existing experiences, and looking at how other products solve this problem.
Additionally, I needed to understand the constraints from each of the social networks we were integrating with, as each has unique rules about how customers using third-party apps can connect their accounts. This meant that each connection flow needed to be tailored to the channel type, and there were an unusual number of potential limbo or error states customers could find themselves in if we didn't appropriately guide them through. How might we reduce cognitive overhead and make the complex feel simple?
Each social network has its own constraints and requirements, so each connection flow needs to be tailored to the channel type.
I also partnered with our stellar Data team to understand more about our users' behaviors — which channel types are most common? How many channels do customers currently add? What's the connection success rate? These questions would inform design decisions but also set us up for measuring impact post-launch.
Looking at the most common channels our customers connect.
Looking at how many channels our customers have connected informs design for the Channels page.
Don't make me think, but...maybe hold my hand a little
The connection experience was moved out of individual product settings and into a centralized location for managing accounts, billing, and other organizational settings.
Screen for choosing a new channel to connect.
Reduce cognitive load and guide users through the experience. First, simply ask which network they'd like to connect. Then, if necessary, ask more granular questions like, Facebook Page or Group? Let them know when we're sending them away from Buffer to authenticate, and why that's important (security!).