A brief history and new beginning
Jux started out as a social site builder that allowed users to create sharable and customizable modules. This product was problematic because of the lack of site completion and stagnant growth, so the decision to shift focus quick was needed to sustain this business.
In order to fully understand the next evolution, I took a deeper look into the existing user gallery to see members' creations. I soon recognized a common pattern; the lack of site completion was quite high compared to the number of sharable modules created. These modules ranged from gallery viewers to weather/temperature widgets to note pads and were fun and easy to create. Another was the lack of creative inspirations in visual design and content. Jux provided some support through Zendesk, in addition to email, Facebook, Twitter, and user gallery all lacked creative inspirational content.
Based on observing product usage, and speaking internally with the team, 3 main problems were identified:
1. Lack of inspirational content for Jux's galleries and social media.
2. The barrier of entry was high for some users to strive for site completion.
3. Users were mostly interested in the instant gratification of the fast creation process of making the component modules.
These findings helped shape Jux's initial offering; 'Blockquotes', a meme like fullscreen image page with customizable text quote overlay. Eventually 6 more types of posts were added: pictures, slideshows, countdowns, long form articles, street view using google map api and YouTube + Vimeo videos.
The challenge and defining goals
To define the look and feel, I started to imagine what each post looked like, individually, as a group and the different concepts flexible enough to provide the design inspiration needed for growth of the product. Since the initial offering was a meme like 'post' , I performed visual searches for things that embodied this design essence. Movie posters, large billboard walls with posters, magazine designs and magazine stand displaying different periodicals, bookstores, Window displays, even street art posts in back alleys were part of this mix. The editorial design element within the magazine stand metaphor offered the most styles to inform Jux's current and future offerings.
The main goals were to simplify the product experience and to provide multiple points of inspirations through a thoughtfully curated user gallery, inspiring social sharing notifications, emails, social channels with branded partnership content.
Day / Night Theme for customization
With the design goals and overarching concept established, 2 sub- themes for galleries was created to help drive the visual designs. Breaking up the themes using the Time of day helped with identifying the editorial styles within each theme.
Day theme - fashion and lifestyle friendly inspired theme.
Dusk theme - photography and sports friendly. Re created to give limited preset customization. limited but easy way to customize.
Discover to get inspired
Jux's team shared responsibilities of featuring user creations throughout the day and into the evenings. This helped us identify the power creators and in seeking appropriate partnerships. The efforts lead to a steady increase of user growth and creations.
Inspiring user galleries
Jux curated gallery allowed users to discover new content and to help inspire the community. New galleries were automatically generated for each new member, with an option to create unlimited galleries to create multiple thematic posts.
Simple sign up and creation workflow, increasing user creation.
iPhone App creates by using 1 long press to start creating.
Tools for creation and community building
Collapsible and draggable tool palettes help maintain the cinematic experience while minimizing obstruction of content. The tool palette provides limited customization controls: Font face and size, colors and background images can be customized within all posts and user galleries.
Jux platform was designed to bring the community together with commenting and ability to like posts and follow each other.
Preset designs offers a wide range of styles and inspirations
Defining theme based typography options
Jux initial offering only allowed users to post images that automatically stretched full screen. Once the team realized users did not always use high quality or images big enough for full screen usage, we had to come up with a solution fast. Since the goal was to provide inspiration across all user facing channels, these creations were not the quality we want, so a design system was created to anticipate this type of challenge.
Solution: Pre-defined layout options
To combat those types of posts, I started to explore various layout options that would solve the image size issue, defining positioning of facial area to prevent odd cropping of people, and landscape shots. The idea of a smart layout generator would be a great way to reduce the creation workflow, but does not allow user controlled customization. In the end, layout option UI was introduced in the tool palette to give users more customization options.
Marketing Campaigns and Partnerships
Partnerships with brands and bloggers helped Jux increase user sign up globally with blogging partners in Asia, UK, Netherlands and the US. Jux provided a branded content marketing for independent film studios as they felt Jux's platform was the right story telling tool.
Within a year, Jux users created 60,000 posts with 5 million unique visits per month. Jux focused on creating the simplest user experience across all platforms, while providing meaningful inspirations to our users from every touch point. In the end, Jux's membership surpassed over 200,000 users, but sadly, this was not enough to sustain a business. In the summer of 2013 loyal fans of Jux decided to extend the life of the product for 2 more years by maintaining Jux. Even though our team failed in meeting the business goals, I feel that we were successful in creating a product that attracted a legion of dedicated users.