Fernlab is a platform for creating & crowdfunding projects that are good for the people + planet.
Design exercise. Time : one week
Fernlab is a project I created from concept to UX, that reimagines the crowd-funding experience for projects/products that are eco-conscious.
User Experience Goals
I focused on the distinguishing aspects of Fernlab's crowdfunding platform, which are:
1) All projects have an environmental benefit and
2) Easy-to-use Dashboard for managing projects for Project Creators.
Fernlab is a two-sided marketplace connecting Project Creators and Backers, each with their own distinct user experiences.
The environmental benefit is one of the main attributes of a project. Backers should be able to clearly view it as they evaluate a project to fund.
Project Creator UX
Creators are trying to meet their fundraising goals on time. They need easily available, actionable data about their project.
Critical project metrics should be easy to access and easy to analyze.
Process + Mapping the User Journey
The actions that a Backer would perform are pretty different from those that a Project Creator would perform, and thus need their own separate journey maps. I mapped out the user journeys through user stories, a site-map and journey maps.
Below: Fernlab Sitemap
Backer Experience: Discovery and Evaluating
Below: User journey map of the entire Backer experience.
Below: The discovery phase - finding a project to back
Below: The project page - learning more about the project
In Fernlab, the evaluation phase of the project is different from other crowdfunding apps. In this phase, a backer can learn about the environmental impact of a project.
I explored a few different iterations to show the environmental impact of each project. In the first version, the impact was shown along 3 factors - 1) environment 2) health and 3) community, as a clickable menu. User testing revealed that the most relevant information was hidden behind 3 clicks. As a result this design was not effective in quickly communicating the cause aspect of the project.
In the second version, I showed the description of the environmental impact without needing to click. However, because of the length of the text, this made the hero section of the project look busy and cluttered, with an overwhelming amount of information. It was also not clear to users that this impact assessment was from Fernlab's team and not from the creator of the project.
In the third version, I explored the idea of showing the impact as a score/rating. While easy to read and intuitive, implicit in this method is judgment towards projects — high-scoring products will appeal to more people than the low-scoring ones. As a neutral party, the Fernlab platform wants to provide objective information and not overtly influence or bias users towards one project over another.
Through feedback, I also realized that the 3 factors of impact are synergistic (something that is good for the environment is typically good for the community and health and vice versa). Overall, I realized I needed to show this impact in a 1) concise, accessible way, and 2) communicate that this information was from Fernlab and not the creator.
Given the synergies between the 3-factors of impact, I combined them in one section called 'Lab Notes'. Lab Notes doesn't require any clicks and is easily visible to users and provides a quick snapshot into the environmental impact. The bright pop of color distinguishes this section and and quickly draws a users eyes, helping them naturally navigate to important information.
Lab Notes are like editor's notes in the Apple App store, an editorial review provided by the Fernlab experts team.
Additionally, the Lab Notes feature is modular — the Fernlab team can swap out Lab Notes for guest posts from influencers in the environmental world such as Treehugger, National Geographic, Crade-to-Cradle, etc. for special projects or events like World Environment Day.
Creator Experience: Tracking Projects
Below: User journey map of the entire Creator experience.
A dashboard that's easy to read and intuitive
The dashboard provides Creators with the most relevant and actionable insights in a simple, easy UI.
I focused on key metrics and actions that Creators care about:
1) Monitoring overall campaign progress
2) Understanding the comparative performance of each perk
3)Viewing the list of backers and the perk they chose
4) Engage with the backer community
Ferns are plants that are very good indicators of the health of their environment and therefore perfectly encapsulate what this project is about - providing the inspiration behind the name of the project and the logo symbol. The logo comprises a stylized fern, the two sides in contrasting colors to suggest the dualism inherent in Fernlab - a two-sided marketplace for backers and project creators. The logo is also used in a seal symbol for Fernlab editor's notes on Project pages.
The color palette pulls inspiration from the wordmark - the teal and light green from the word ‘fern’ and the neon green accent from the word ‘lab’. To showcase the large variety of graphical content as well as copy/text on the Fernlab platform, I needed a typeface that didn’t call attention to itself but also was highly legible at various sizes. I used the clean San Serif font Gotham, in various weights to establish hierarchy between different kinds of information.