Changing the game for Small Business
I was asked to come and be part of something very special for both myself and Constant Contact. A new product for small businesses with the intention of not just helping them grow their customer base, but try something truly different in the local deals space.
The idea behind SaveLocal was pretty simple, treat small businesses with respect, and help them grow their business. Not making them shell out huge margins to give people an incentive to come in the door. Helping them grow their businesses is easy once they're with Constant Contact, we simply kick serious ass at providing the education and support that no one else in the online marketing space is giving them, and now you can throw the deals space on top of that.
The components of the system are a flow that takes a user from creating a deal to publishing it in lightning fast speed, this of course leads to the problem of making sure that someone—when they go from start to finish— was sure of a few things: * What they’re doing * Where they are in the process * Understanding what comes next. It's certainly not a new notion by any means to have a process indicator, in fact it's not even new for our company, but the chosen treatment gave heavy prominence to the user at the top of their creation flow answers to those questions, and I think really sets user expectation on what they're getting into.
One of my favorite inventions was something I had at one point dubbed the Magic Box. It was a container that could have the form fields in it written automatically for the user. The idea behind it was birthed out of a hypothesis that users don't really need help when it comes to say, filling out information about their business, but rather, people tend to dread having to write their own copy or content—something I had taken away from my days as a customer support rep at Constant Contact. The box ended up with the label that was a bit more explicit: Write Automatically. Here's hoping that this feature saves millions of headaches over the course of it's existence.
Letting the best Ideas Win
I can't stress this enough‚ you have to let the best ideas win. It's simply insane to think that you can have all of your ideas make it into a product unchanged by anyone else. Minimalists, and ornate decorators, check your ego's at the door. Yes, I'm claiming that I'm fallible, as shocking to some of you as that may seem. Ideas from this product came from the whole group, and whether it was mine or not, when it came to doing the right things for our customers, I had to let the best ideas win. It's something every designer should learn.
While I think that the product I worked on is on really the best way for small business owners to create, run, and manage deals, putting others, I know that it's not perfect. But online software is organic, it can grow, change, adapt, based on what our customers needs are. What's perfect today isn't going to be in a year or even six months. What I think is more important is relentless dedication to pursuing what perfect is, and acknowledging that it's a life-long goal.