ZOOSK_____

WE KNOW OUR USERS, BUT DO OUR USERS KNOW US?

ROLE: 
Product Designer

GOAL:
_Redesign Zoosk's homepage to align with it's new brand, strengthen brand perception, and increase conversions

Following the rebranding of the online dating app, Zoosk, there was a need to redesign the homepage to ensure all customer-facing products were telling the same story: Zoosk is a major online dating app that believes love does not come first, but rather, first comes "like" or the genuine connection felt when you first meet someone. With over 35 million members in over 80 countries worldwide and as the main customer-facing website, the homepage needed to undeniably ooze authentic "first comes like," not love. 

In addition to the broken parallax scrolling on the old homepage, the visuals and copy quickly became outdated and unfamiliar as it focused on mostly algorithmic/product features and lacked humanness and emotion. 

Working with a diverse team of product managers, developers, user researchers, marketing managers, and content strategists, the new design had to accomplish business goals, induce emotion, and scale and adapt easily. Consequently, within the first 2 weeks of launch, user sign-ups increased by nearly 20%.

Check out some of Zoosk's marketing designs here.

If online dating was a spectrum,
Zoosk occupied the space
between hookups and marriage.

WHO ARE OUR USERS?

In collaboration with UX researchers, product managers, and marketing managers, we conducted customer and market research to drive our planning phase. These are the key insights that defined the launch version of the website:

Majority of Zoosk's users are female and aged between 45-60 years old. They aren't the most tech savvy and appreciate simplicity and transparency.

35 million users are located around the world, in 80 different countries.

Customers mainly consume and interact with Zoosk on Facebook and TV via commercials, talk shows, and news segments.

Most of the homepage visitors are re-directed from search queries - the website doesn't get much organic traffic.

The 2 most used features of the app are Messages (5 million sent daily!) and Carousel (swiping through matches).

In addition to rate of success, security and scamming are our customers' main concerns.

Customers convert and respond best to imagery of happy, attainable people (vs. product screenshots).

AND WHAT ARE THEIR PERSONAS?

Using the insights above, I created 4 main personas to categorize the website's visitors in order to better understand how to uniquely cater to them:

PERSONA 1
"JUST SURFING THE NET"

_Organic customer: 40-55+ years old

_Not as tech savvy

_International (over 80 countries and 27 languages represented)

PERSONA 2
"DATING ON MY MIND"

_Online daters looking to date for the first time

_Online daters looking for a new product

_Online daters looking for dating advice

PERSONA 3
"ADS"

_Advertisers looking to partner with Zoosk or advertise in the product

PERSONA 4
"MORE INFO, PLEASE"

_People interested in the product, company, and business such as investors and job seekers

_Marketing vendors, press, and PR

THE PROCESS

To inform users and reaffirm Zoosk's position in the online dating industry, we focused on 3 main value propositions to differentiate Zoosk from its competition:

These described Zoosk as a company that:

1. Values a personalized approach to dating:

Insights and algorithms uniquely tailor each user's product experience

2. Cares about safety and security:

Photo Verification, currently only available on Zoosk, allows users to verify their identity by submitting carefully moderated selfie videos

3. Celebrates diversity:

Over 35 million users worldwide and over 5 million messages exchanged daily

THE FIRST-GO

With the stakeholders, I mapped out the main components of the homepage: sign up funnel, value props, and user photos.

While the initial wireframes, displayed below, contained the required components, I felt the need to rethink the direction and innovate; from a design perspective, the initial wireframes mimicked common website templates and lacked personality and a deeper understanding of our brand and user base.

I re-evaluated the design approach after our competitive analysis revealed that most competitors utilized common, practical web design layouts that relied on hard selling CTAs, direct response copy, and user photos.

For Zoosk's homepage, I saw a rare opportunity to bring a new, streamlined (and on-trend) take on web design in online dating.

I worked with our senior TV buyer to better understand how our users were reacting to Zoosk's new TV commercials that featured visually stunning and emotional scenes of living in those genuine first moments of meeting someone, depicted as fun, authentic first dates.

Through in-person interactions, community outreach, and in-app surveys, we found that after watching the commercials:

1. Brand perception improved:

Our users felt that Zoosk is a fun dating app about authenticity and genuine first moments.

2. Trust increased:

Our users felt that Zoosk is a safe and legitimate dating app. Majority of users were excited about the Photo Verification feature.

3. Positivity increased:

Our users felt more positive about Zoosk as a dating app that emphasizes meeting and genuinely liking people. Majority of users would recommend the app to their friends.

The increase in brand awareness and consideration led to a 15% increase in registrations. With a fixed deadline and limited budget, I repurposed the successful video footage for use as a hero video in my design iterations.

Behind-the-scenes on-set of one of Zoosk's commercials: a first date at a roller rink. Shot at the Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale, CA with Radical Media and MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER.

I explored reducing content and scrolling in favor of a digestible, informative single screen homepage.

In doing so, I reinterpreted the value propositions from a visual perspective:

1. Personalized approach:

Research proved that our customers respond better to images and stories of happy, cheery people. I therefore removed all technical language that dehumanized the dating experience, namely the often misunderstood phrase "Behavioral Matchmaking," and focused on positive, empowering messaging.

2. Safety and security:

A number ticker displays the growing number of messages sent daily between millions of members. The statistic validates the product as legitimate without explicitly stating so.

3. Diversity:

The hero video/image displays imagery of people from around the world, all races and genders, both single and in a successful relationship.

PROJECT NEEDS AND SOLUTIONS

The new approach to Zoosk's website design sought to reaffirm the Zoosk brand position in the market and drive conversions. Below are the specific needs of the project and the ways in which the resulting design met those needs:

NEEDS

CONVERSION

_Simple, functional sign up

_SEO

_Use emotional, intriguing content

ENGINEERING

_Minimal engineering costs

_Quick turnaround

_Decrease number of pages

_Fix broken parallax scroll

CONTENT

_Decrease need for localization

_Remove repetitive, redundant content/copy

_Engage with wide audience

_Limit costs for content production

FLEXIBILITY

_Permanence and adaptability

_Responsive across all platforms

SOLUTIONS

CONVERSION

_Use funnel from successful A/B landing page tests

_Video header of emotional and visually stunning scenes based on consumer surveys and improved brand recognition

ENGINEERING

_Single, full screen "cover page" design

_Modular, grid-based design

CONTENT

_Use culturally ambiguous video footage

_Strong call-to-action with short, concise copy for quick translating

FLEXIBILITY

_Use content and differentiators that are permanent for at least 1 year

_Slider adaptability for additional content, value props, and tiemely promotions