I was the one who designed the original Pinch web platform in 2015. As the only designer in a small startup team, I got the opportunity to design a whole website for a content platform from scratch.
After the initial design, Pinch pivoted directions and the tone of the content has changed. Pinch team reached out to me again for a complete redesign of the platform.
I asked to add design related questions in the team's periodical reader survey.
I got my hands on the Google Analytics data to discover the patterns of how the customers use our platform.
New content should grab attention so that the subscribers find something new to read every day.
It should be easy to jump to older articles to find undiscovered content.
Due to the vast scope of the project and limited time, I made sure I fail fast and think through the flow before committing to the final design. Here are some of the messy sketches I drew along the way.
Once I had alignment with the team around the basic framework, I moved into high fidelity and populated the wireframes with actual Pinch content. I explored what the layout would look like with all of the different types and length of our content. These are some of the explorations I did for the article header.
I had an extensive talk with the editing team about the tone and voice that we wanted to convey. I made three abstract blobs and assigned colors that symbolize the three main content categories.
I designed components and UI elements to maintain a unified design voice across the devices. Pinch is a small team without an in-house designer, so I made the components easily accessible so that the Pinch team can reuse the components after the project is complete.
Pinch team was able to launch a brand new product several months after the redesign without an in-house designer, using the components I created. 🥰
I tested the prototype with both people who have visited Pinch and people who were completely new to Pinch. I also showed and tested the prototype with the teammates to get internal feedback and reach alignment.
This project was done entirely in Korean. Here, I translated some of the content for presentation.
To improve the discoverability of the new articles, the latest articles are placed at the top of the home page.
I brought dark mode into this update to make nighttime reading more comfortable. Pinch became the first content platform in South Korea to adopt dark mode. Now about 50% of the active users are using Dark mode (Aug 2019).
I prototyped a loader animation with the three brand identity elements. This loader design intends to minimize the loading area - loader only stays on for the image since text loads faster than the image.
I used animations as a way to incorporate an element of fun within the website while maintaining the reserved visual tone. I designed and prototyped interactive animations to make the website appear as tangible and dynamic.
The number of Pinch Club members (paid subscribers) grew from 300 to more than 700. It was a collaborative effort with our amazing marketer who did a fabulous job in promoting the redesign. 🥰
Pinch iOS App was selected App of the Day after the redesign! It was even at the first place for Magazines & Newspapers category above the New York Times app.
Pinch redesign was a monumental project for me as I had command over a large-scale design project that was shipped to meet the real customers. It helped me gain experience from diagnosing the problems to delivering a product. I was able to grow as a holistic designer in a wide range of aspects. It was also thrilling to see our customers like and talk about my work, and it has become my driving force to pursue product design.
— User's Facebook post (translated)
Even though I'm proud of the project, there are still some aspects that I want to explore further.
Due to time constraints, I had to skip a lot of primary research and make a lot of decisions based on assumptions and guerrilla testings.
If I had more time, I'd conduct interviews and observations to deep dive into underlying motivations and needs.
The number of tablet device users is increasing every year, and there is a large opportunity space for text-heavy content platforms like Pinch.
If I had more time, I'd explore how to harness the full power of tablet devices. (e.g. split screen in iPadOS)
I'll build Pinch a more comprehensive design system and documentation so that the Pinch team can continue implementing new features and expanding the platform after this project.