AvantLink

AvantLink

Redesign of an affiliate marketing platform

 

My role

 

My role

Working remotely with AvantLink based in Park City in Utah, I was the lead product designer on this project, working closely with product management, marketing managers and development teams to lead the prioritisation, prototyping, testing and detailed design phases from November 2015 until November 2016. 

 

Challenge

 

Challenge

AvantLink is one of the world's most popular affiliate marketing network and affiliate tracking platform, focused on marketing professionals. Though a market leader, their product had not had any significant design or feature development done on it for the past 5 years. As other affiliate tracking platforms were increasing in popularity, I was brought in to understand the current problems and needs of the business and their current users, help product management prioritise which features to bring to life, work with them to prototype and test our designs with users, and deliver them. 

Some of their main goals were to increase engagement with their existing base, reduce the time to serve customers, and give their users more flexibility to achieve their marketing goals.

 

Approach

 

Approach

This information is omitted from my portfolio to protect the client's interllectual property.

Want to know more? Please get in contact with me.

 

Design walkthrough

 

Design walkthrough

Since I was working with no existing styleguide and just a basic brand guideline, my design deliverables included a working prototype, well specified styleguide and UI component library in Sketch, and handed over using Zeplin. 

Since I was working with no existing styleguide and just a basic brand guideline, my design deliverables included a working prototype, well specified styleguide and UI component library in Sketch, and handed over using Zeplin. 

Since I was working with no existing styleguide, UI components and just had basic branding in place. Part of my design deliverables included a working prototype,  well specified styleguide and component library in Sketch, and handed over using Zeplin. 

Onboarding

Becoming an affiliate of AvantLink's involves providing personal details, as well as those on the user's business (so they can be approved by the platform, and authorised to track affiliate links).

The onboarding process was previously quite long and unclear why certain details needed to be provided, so we spent time ensuring the onboarding journey was split up into digestible chunks, and bits of microcopy accompanied each question to inform users of the process. 

Reducing the process to 4 simple pages, as well as giving inline feedback to fields such as setting a password and adding tags to describe a website meant customers were making less errors, and finishing the flow at a much higher rate.

AvantLink_Visual_8

Dashboard and setup

Once users complete registration and are approved, they login and presented with their user dashboard, with a guide to help users ensure they start using the platform quickly and make money from their affiliate links. Broken down into 4 steps, it shows progress after a user completes each one. 

When users return to the dashboard, they can track high level insights on how their affiliate links are doing with quick comparisons to show if they're improving or not. We chose to represent the information with large, strong typography to make sure the information could be digested quickly. 

Our user testing showed information chunked into these bite size insights, compared to the old table and list style display meant customers were able to understand information quickly and move onto their next task.

AvantLink_Visual_1

Dashboard widget detail

The dashboard also allowed users to get quick insights of commonly viewed tasks which are easily customisable themselves, using a natural language title for the graph with dropdowns in-line to simplify the various adjustments possible on the graph without introducing too much visual clutter. 

Likewise, the dashboard introduced recommendations for the business based on their affiliate attributes, leading to an increase in usage of these tools and greater revenue created for the user as a result. 

AvantLink_Visual_2

Merchant list

Users sign up to become a part of affiliate marketing programs by merchants, such as Cabela's, REI or BackCountry, and agree to promote goods on their site in exchange for a cut of the sale.

The merchant list design must accommodate some of the several hundred thousand merchants on the platform, but allow flexibility to quickly search and filter through appropriate ones for the user. Our standard header dropdown pattern (also used on other pages) allow users to filter them at a high level, before customers drill into more detail on the specific merchant for them. 

List items were designed to be highly visual at a glance, including "value" bars to depict number of sales, small versions of the website's logos for quicker recognition at a glance, and the ability to apply and start creating ads directly from the list and complete these actions much quicker than before. 

AvantLink_Visual_9

Merchant profile page

As an affiliate marketing user, they have the ability to pick and choose to which merchant e-commerce stores they'd like to promote and earn commissions on. Each merchant profile page includes information on who they are, which tools are best to use with them, and any changes to their profile detailed in an audit log. 

We took time here to ensure customers had all of the information they needed before deciding to promote the merchant, including the type of company and commission structures. Our testing showed the redesign of these pages lead to a higher level of applications to merchant affiliate programs, telling us that they were easier to read and understand, and therefore more attractive to promote on the user's website.

AvantLink_Visual_6

Ad tool marketplace

On an affiliate user's website, AvantLink offers them various tools to help them build links and publish content to market things easily. Users can scroll through and search for tools, each displaying a quick overview, vital stats to help users understand how popular and useful the tool will be to them, and the ability to learn more, or start using it with one click. 

The top 4 ad tools feature recommendations, based on the type of affiliate business they've setup with AvantLink, so they can start using the tools as quickly as possible.

AvantLink_Visual_5

Transaction breakdown & timelines

Users running their affiliate websites like to be able to track transactions, so they can understand how improve their marketing efforts to drive more sales in the future. 

We took care to redesign these pages to be highly visual, modelled on a user journey flow that showed the timeline of a transaction, each with timestamps and description of which touch point they say the affiliate ad.

The better information provided, combined with the new and improved visualisation meant users were much more likely to make better affiliate marketing decisions.

AvantLink_Visual_7

Custom performance reporting

Understanding the performance of a user's sales allowed users to quickly get insights on how they're doing, without the need to export data to excel and create reports themselves. 

The team and I spent a long time on ensuring these reports remained highly customisable and flexible, but simple enough to understand without much instruction. This included breaking down the customisations by hierarchy and frequency of adjustment, meaning users were able to make adjustments to their reports much quicker than the previous design, which featured all customisations on the same equal level.

 

Custom performance reporting

Understanding the performance of a user's sales allowed users to quickly get insights on how they're doing, without the need to export data to excel and create reports themselves. 

The team and I spent a long time on ensuring these reports remained highly customisable and flexible, but simple enough to understand without much instruction. This included breaking down the customisations by hierarchy and frequency of adjustment, meaning users were able to make adjustments to their reports much quicker than the previous design, which featured all customisations on the same equal level.

AvantLink_Visual_3

Customisation of reports

While designing these highly detailed pages, we relied on a combination of best practice design and regular usability testing to ensure they suited our customers best. Some examples include using "tiger stripes" in our table designs to ensure they were easily scannable horizontally (a common task for users studying the marketing performance of a particular product), and columns were aligned appropriately depending on the information displayed (for example, numbers right aligned, while words remain left aligned so they can be read easily).

Each report also features the ability to save, search and export them quickly, using common universal icons but tucked out of the way as secondary actions, again based on the existing analytics used to inform our design.

AvantLink_Visual_4

 

Results

 

Results

AvantLink are still in the process of rolling the re-designed platform, but are already seeing some great results and getting positive feedback.

Further details and results are omitted to protect the confidentiality of AvantLink.

James Taylor - Product Manager and Designer in San Francisco, previously Sydney.