Change Collective (now named 10% Happier) was an early stage startup that was building a mobile course platform for personal growth: diet, fitness, productivity, and mindfulness. I worked with the team for just under two years as a generalist, which means I spent my time contributing across every function of the business.
Shortly after we introduced a free trial into the platform experience, we noticed that many users failed to stay engaged through the full duration of the trial. I dug into why the free trials were failing and redesigned a key piece of the experience, which led to a 110% increase in conversion to paid courses.
The course content was structured as follows: a course has many days, and each day has many tasks. The app was designed to be day-centric. Each time the user opened the app, the user was shown the current day's list of tasks.
A good practice in behavior change is to create a daily practice. To help our users succeed in our courses, the app would advance the user to the next day of content each chronological day, regardless of whether the user happened to open the app that day.
It didn't take many phone calls with users to help me realize that auto-advancing users was actually a terrible design decision. Not only did users feel rushed through the free trial, many users couldn't find the content they had missed. The app was navigating the user to a new day in the course, even if the user never opened the app. When the user did finally open the app, it wasn't clear how they could get back to the previous days' content.
Without ever navigating between days, users had trouble finding the table of contents.
Usability testing revealed that even though each day of the course had different content, the days were not visually different enough from each other. At a glance, users had trouble differentiating one day in the course from the next.
I decided to flatten the information architecture: the app would show the tasks within a day and the days within the course all in one view, instead of splitting each day out into a unique view.
The entire course was collapsed into a single, linear table of contents
Collapsing the entire course into a single, linear table of contents allowed the design to clearly communicate the divide between the free trial and the remainder of the course.
We also did away with the auto-advancing of the course content. We still used daily text messages to encourage daily practice, but users were free to advance through the course at their own pace.
The structure of the app design became significantly more clear.
These simple tweaks to the app experience made it easier for users to become more engaged in the free trial. This led to a 110% increase in conversion from a free trial to a paid course. The new design architecture was also well-position to scale with the number of courses on the platform.
Flattening the course also helped clarify the navigation between courses.
Eventually, the architecture might be abstracted out an additional layer to include tracks of courses.