Producer Journey | Facebook Stories
Producer Journey | Facebook Stories
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Producer Journey

What is that? Each interactive, story format and content type created on Facebook Stories feeds back into the “call and response” aspect of storytelling experience on Facebook. This work focuses on connecting storytellers to the people who care about their stories the most – while addressing challenges of privacy control, delight, content, and identity.

Why

Of the 300 million daily active users of stories, nearly 37% do not check to see if their friends have left replies or reactions. Relatedly, feedback is also low with a median 3-5 replies per story -which is interesting considering the average facebook user has hundreds of connections.

The Team

To revise an experience within an existing product we had to work with a team of adept designers that could work in a rapidly changing context. My direct supports were Evan Travelstead and Julie Ahn. Research was led by Jen Plebani. Engineering Management was led by Yuval Oren. Development was led by Ider Zheng, while Product Management was lead by Laurent Gorse and Danny Liu.

My Role

I am lead designer on the project, working with two direct supporting designers. I created vision statements, led the design process, while participating in experiment reviews, dogfooding, and aligning with cross functional team mates.
(Lead Design, Visual Design, UX Design, Assist Research, Prototyping, Framing Project Communication)

Strategy Mix

Redesign +

Retention +

Activation +

Growth

Project Overview

3 Designers

1 Product Manager

1 Researcher

1 UX Writer




2 Data Scientist

4 Engineers

6 month project timeline

Opportunity

An improvement in key parts of the producer journey experience can lead to increased story creation and also meaningful conversations between storytellers and their friends.

Target Audience

“Late work” segment: 20 – 35 year olds both currently using Stories, and those that could potentially use Stories.

Hypothesis

Correcting the current state by indicating to storytellers new feedback exist will have a measurable positive impact on story production, and feedback between producer and observer.

Taking a closer look

1. How do we de-pressurize the experience? By over emphasizing numbers we run the risk of creating a “numbers-game” for users

2. Does this feel overly transactional? Are we too focused on action vs. the implied feeling of a reply or reaction?

3. Are we doing a good enough job communicating other creative tools available to storytellers?

Sketching the experience

Typically, big or small if I’m tackling a problem I like to begin sketching to make sure I am understanding the surface I’m trying to create a solution for. In this case the challenging points were whether we were doing a solid job of indicating to users where feedback existed. One of the biggest challenges I wanted to investigate were the mechanics of entering and navigating around the surface.

When diving into smaller interaction patterns with my engineer partners, I often found it helpful to forego prototyping and go straight to sketches that provided them just enough of a  sense of motion/animation to help them evaluate how difficult a given pattern might be to implement. In this case I was exploring animation progressions for a smaller entry footer within the story viewer surface.

Design Iterations

Prototypes for Research & Limited Tests

Prototypes for Research & Limited Tests

Through a combination of qualitative and quantitative* research we found that the above prototypes and some other similar variants didn’t exactly solve the problem in how it was originally defined. In general we found:

  • People were confused by new UI elements designed to draw their attention
  • People did not want to be forced into surfaces they didn’t explicitly navigate to
  • Overall, increases in motivation to check for feedback were only short-term
*Quantitative Research was gained via limited exposure test of a range of 1-5% of users in specific geographic regions outside the U.S.

Re-telling the story  (about stories)

The Art of Storytelling

Because I had only a few days for communicating the shift in focus, reorganization of the product and sprint planning – I didn’t have time to produce a complete piece for illustrating how we should pivot in our thinking of stories. So instead, I opted to focus on a theme (“Memory Lane”), structured storytelling from that perspective using re-cut footage from existing internal communications, and did a quick voice over to narrate. This allowed me to quickly and broadly communicate the shift to our mission focus, team structure, definition of success, and recruit participants for a workshop the following week.

The other side of storytelling

Additionally, I worked with the two designers working in a support role of rotating sharing product progress so that team members and the product direction had visibility to our cross functional partners.

(revised) Hypothesis

The storytelling experience on Facebook has fundamental differences from other storytelling platforms, including much larger social circles audience. Its lower levels of engagement need to be addressed by solutions that go beyond merely achieving feature parity.

Workshop

Day 1: Defining Product Principles

Re-prioritizing design goals

From the onset of the workshop I wanted to encourage the team to think about the health of users when they’re creating stories. Are they creating them because they genuinely want to share? Are they in a state of needing validation? Are formats like stories the only way that they can connect with friends and or family at a distance? How do we  better anticipate harmful content and negative uses of the platform by bad actors? In the end we found out that of everything we could do better, protecting user health was the highest ranking area, with privacy controls second in priority.

Day 2: Competitive Analysis

Core Experience: Google Photos

represented an analogous experience in terms of scale – but also a very solid example of prioritizing content privacy over content production. In addition to this, this experience also does a good job of presenting creative tools and filters for photos, as well as thematic groupings of content into albums

Delight & Feature Education:

Apple’s redesigned app store was more than a “refresh” its editorialized approach to apps resulted in a baseline increase of app downloads by 600%. A similar effort for informing storytellers about creative tools and filters could have a profound affect on people finding the right tools to communicate in the ways their most comfortable.

Insights:

Spotify’s approach to providing user’s insights and recommendations is arguably among the best provided in the streaming space, and in general among content types. Similarly informing users about their trends, friends, and story categories they care about could greatly improve the experience.

Day 2-3: Design Generation

Day 4: User Testing Prototypes

Prototypes for Research & Limited Tests

While all the interactions and polish weren’t incorporated in our prototypes, we felt they were far along enough to get some signal from storytellers we recruited for. In the end of the 12 onsite participants and 15 remote participants, we found the following:

  • People preferred the row structure
  • They were curious enough to interact with the delight elements to “see what they were about” 
  • They didn’t quite yet understand the “Archive” product

Deeper Insights from Research

For some of our research, we set a focus on our higher indexing demographic – black, brown and LGBTQ identifying users on Facebook. These users represented a subset that while generally reporting more negative experiences with harmful content and harassment – consistently trended higher in engagement. What we found when meeting with these users reinforced the need to address user health and content control. as a means of minimizing negative experiences and unblocking their design

  • Storytellers needed means to dismiss and managed unwanted/harassing comments
  • Storytellers sometimes manually posted stories on delay to maintain a sense of personal safety 
  • They loved the ecosystem of filters on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, and were generally unaware that some of the same features existed on Facebook

Refining the Design

Design for Delight

Results to date

Key Stats

  • Limited exposure test have already shown a 9% increase in reviewed feedback
  • Delight elements have doubled the usage of interactive tools in stories
  • Stories with interactive content have yielded usually 1.5x more feedback than stories without interactive stickers and elements

What’s Next

  • Audience and privacy controls, including scheduling stories which holds value for pages and public personas
  • Working more closely with accessibility team to provide some experiences that allow users with various perception needs to engage as well
  • Integration of more interactive storytelling tools

What could have been better

Not launching this initial redesign with audience and privacy controls integrated was something I wasn’t entirely happy about. The outlying hypothesis was that storytellers would share more, and their audiences would interact more – if those audiences could be curated to tighter social groups. While I’m happy with the foundational elements, I believe the full potential of this project will occur when the privacy for users is more tightly integrated.

What could have been better

Not launching this initial redesign with audience and privacy controls integrated was something I wasn’t entirely happy about. The outlying hypothesis was that storytellers would share more, and their audiences would interact more – if those audiences could be curated to tighter social groups. While I’m happy with the foundational elements, I believe the full potential of this project will occur when the privacy for users is more tightly integrated.

Rafe Chisolm | 2019