December 2015 popsugar.com
POPSUGAR was approaching it’s ten year anniversary and it was time for a more sophisticated look that would elevate the brand to the next level, showcase the breadth of content available, and give it more presence in the marketplace.
Engagement was high and traffic was steadily increasing month over month so the goal was to apply the new brand identity across all POPSUGAR products without disrupting or upsetting the user base — and make it all happen in just about two months.
Given the time constraints the decision was made to prioritize the homepage, channel pages, and five main node types. The team was kept small at first with a few key players. As the Senior Product Designer I worked with the POPSUGAR Creative Director to identify how the new branding would translate into product then immediately started iterating on various layouts with CEO Brian Sugar — who was leading the front-end development. With the Director of Product keeping things on track and feeding us data, we were able to reorganize content and really utilize key engagement areas.
Having the CEO as a main member of the team challenged everyone to shake up our usual process and be a lot more flexible. Wireframes were not happening here. Daily, hourly, up-to-the-minute stand ups were keeping things moving. Communication was key.
What we had was a working prototype being updated throughout the day — with new, fresh eyes being pulled in at key moments as a gut check to make sure we were creating something that was as usable as it was beautiful. About two weeks before launch the team expanded and we rolled out the new features across all main pages as QA jumped in to poke holes and find bugs.
Since launch the response from users and advertisers has been extremely positive and POPSUGAR continues to grow month of month in traffic. Now, because nothing is really ever done -- we’re gathering new learnings from our data and preparing to a/b test new features so we can continue to improve the experience while we update the remainder of our node types.