A new technology in the advertising market meant that small publishers were looking to work with more sources of advertisers (“demand partners”). AppNexus needed to take our enterprise product (code named “Jello”) and make it more friendly to small publishers by rethinking the work flow for managing the types of advertisements that publishers allow on their site (ad quality).
Our enterprise ad quality product was built without input from the design team, and was confusing to users. There was one case of a major client accidentally turning off most of our demand because they didn’t understand the interface. We needed something simpler.
The Jello team’s two goals for the simplification were to prevent the users from “shooting themselves in the foot” and to encourage them to allow as much of our demand as possible.
The Jello product presented a problem for conducting research. These new users were entirely different to our existing enterprise customers, which meant that we couldn’t use our normal research roster. Instead, I spoke to a lot of internal sources of knowledge.
Specifically I worked with the following teams:
What I learned was that we could cut out a lot of the choices from the enterprise ad quality product.
Unfortunately, we were unable to do a competitive review since many of our competitors have specific requirements that no one on my team was able to meet.
I kicked off the Jello project with a collaborative design process called the sketch session. I share the research learnings and requirements with a diverse group of people, and everyone sketches together. It’s a modification of the Design Sprint sketching methodology. It allows us to generate a lot of ideas quickly, and make sure everyone understands the reasoning behind some design decisions is on the same page.
After the sketch session I decided on a few directions:
It became clear that the slider approach wasn’t as successful. When I showed the mockups to co-workers no one really understood the impact of the slider. It was too abstracted from the actual change that was occurring The design with toggles was understood by everyone. It was clear to them that if a toggle was “off” their site would not serve any ads that fit that description.
Across both designs there were some questions about the language. Initial designs just had the word “customize” for the toggle to overwrite defaults, which people found confusing. This was updated to be more clear. Since launching, we have also received some questions about what’s contained in some of the categories.
My goal for the Jello visual design is to be more friendly and approachable than the enterprise counterpart. This is to counter a perception of our product as “powerful but complicated.” To achieve this I’ve been using a lot more white space. For ad quality specifically I also started bringing in more iconography with a little bit of colour and larger text.
We released the ad quality screen a few weeks ago and so far users have appreciated it. Overall, feedback has been that the design is straightforward and easy to use. Few users have overwritten the default settings, which suggests that some of the design decisions have done a good job of encouraging them to stick with best practices.