Paul Kim • Product Designer
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RetailMeNot Mobile App Homepage

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OVERVIEW

Problem

How might the mobile app experience improve and increase reach of advertisements within the native experiences? Namely, the 55% of ad units that were not considered as prospective
A carousel design would need to be retained due to technical constraints.

Solution

After a lot of math around proportions to abide by Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) best practices, a solution was curated involving a second viewport for more advertisement.

The solution resulted in an 33% increase of the Standardized User Experience Percentile Rank Questionnaire (SUPR-Q) score. The main focus area of improvement for SUPR-Q was evaluated on the Usability vertical, while the other dimensions were tracked closely to not affect negatively.

Furthermore, the experience saw a 38% increase of advertisement interaction of the main carousel, resulting in 250% increase in advertisement revenue. Lastly, an unintended positive impact of the solution resulted in a 45% increase in vertical scroll behavior, which increased even more advertisement revenue due to ad slots that were below the fold.

See it live today (iOS | Android)

Team

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Tools

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Approach

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Research

Original mobile app homepage with carousel at the top

 

eXISTING DESIGN EVALUATION

The existing designs (shown here) went under the microscope to understand what the opportunities were to improve the experience. A SUPR-Q assessment was conducted in parallel with moderated qualitative interviews to retrieve more deeper understandings around the usability of the current state.

A SUPR-Q assessment was chosen to understand the landscape of the current experience that could be translated in a quantitative language. This data was then referenced with the qualitative findings from the interviews with customers to get the full scope. Some of the high level findings included:

• The usability of the current experience scored a 62% SUPR-Q score, with an equivalent of 67% System Usability Score (SUS)
• The appearance score measured at 61% on SUPR-Q. 5 out of 7 participants mentioned confusion around the density of content on the homepage. This encouraged the behavior to go straight to the search bar instead of browsing.

Interactive Advertising Bureau Literature Review

In order to comply with the IAB, research was conducted to understand the guidelines. The main guideline that we wanted to adhere to was:

The industry standard as developed under the leadership of the Media Rating Council (MRC) calls for desktop display ads to be considered viewable if 50% of their pixels are in view for a minimum of one second
— https://www.iab.com/guidelines/state-of-viewability-transaction-2015/
 

Design

Equipped with the knowledge of the industry’s guidelines, customer’s feedback, and business requirements to improve the experience we were well prepared to ideating around potential solutions.

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Sketching

The team explored through sketching many options of peeking the carousel and giving affordances to interact with the ad unit carousel. We heavily relied on the Gestalt principle of Closure to help give assistance to interact with the carousel. 

We referenced the research with customers around usability issues as well to consider different content hierarchy layouts to help enhance the usability. This was also in line with the research findings around the appearance, hoping that all of these parameters could come together to help ensure a solution that would encourage more interaction, and more impressions of ad units.

 

Math was incorporated through the design process to make sure that we were considering all angles that adhered to the IAB’s standard of 50% of the ad unit’s pixels being shown. We began to explore options where more than one ad unit could be exposed inspired by the Closure Gestalt principle. Shown here are explorations of one solution (the one nearest to the final solution) where every breakpoint was considered to ensure the lowest (50%) to the highest (96.6%) visibility of pixels.

Interaction Prototyping

The sketches were then prototyped using Principle to understand the micro-interactions of the ad units themselves, but also the micro-content within each ad unit. We wanted to explore enhancing the usability and appearance of the content and how we could use various variables like time, scale, position, or opacity, to help bring more attention and usefulness to the ad units. The team explored a range of complexity when it came to the interactions. Shown here are the two oppositie ends show casing the most minimal and complex designs that were prototyped.

Minimal Design

This was the most minimal interaction for the carousel.

Complex Design

Most complex design where many elements and tags animate to give a high end interaction. 

 

FINAL DESIGNS

The final decision landed on ad units that were taller, increasing the number of sellable ad units. So in the new designs, two ad units would fire an impression, therefore doubling the number of impressionable units upon landing. Showing just a piece of the second ad unit was hypothesized to increase scrolling behavior horizontally, which would further enhance the usage of subsequent ad units in the carousel.

Second, the interface of the content structure was enhanced to help improve the usability of the appearance:
• Removing the copy from the image background to give more contrast among the content within the ad unit
• Bringing the logo into its own background in the middle based on user feedback suggesting that logos helped with ability to scan the content
• Visual differentiators in the varying types of content (e.g. color identification for type of coupon)

 

RESULTS

Our method to understand the solution’s impact involved running another SUPR-Q assessment with the new solution to test against the baseline. And then we placed the new experience within an A/B test to understand the differences in metrics.

The results from the SUPR-Q assessment were the following:
• 33% increase in in the usability of the experience (SUPR-Q evaluation)
• 27% increase in NPS of the new solution (SUPR-Q evaluation)
• 34% increase in appearance of the improvement (SUPR-Q evaluation)
• And lastly, a 15% increase in the System Usability Score

Given these results, we were able to understand that the experience measured much more favorably using the SUPR-Q assessments. And namely the Appearance and Usability scores saw the improvement we were hoping to see.

These findings were coupled with the A/B test results which surfaced:
• 38% increase in interaction with ad units on the main carousel at the top of the landing page
• With the increase interactions and the introduction of the new ad units visibility, ad revenue increased by 250% on the top carousel alone

An unintended favorable effect that resulted from this solution was that users were increasing the vertical scroll behavior as well as their horizontal scroll. Due to this, more ad units of the 55% that were not able to be sold were receiving impressions which increased the overall ad revenue increase for this initiative.