Guusto is a start-up in the employee recognition space based in Vancouver, BC. It offers a rewards platform aimed to help companies build a culture of recognition and boost customer loyalty. The platform gives colleagues, managers, or business owners the ability to give both monetary and non-monetary recognition via digital gift cards and nominations respectively to express real-time appreciation to employees and customers. Guusto strives to be the modern solution to existing recognition programs by relieving administrative work involved in using physical gift cards.
I was offered a full time position as the Senior Web Developer and Product Designer. I was responsible for spearheading the product and app rebuild (set to release in mid-2021) through designing new and existing features; user research and testing; overseeing the design and front-end development of the marketing website; managing and mentoring an intern; and coordinating with Marketing & Sales departments to create visual design assets and prototypes. This case study will only cover select product design work. To see my web design and development work, click here.
Product Design, User Testing & Research, Web Design, Front-End Web Development, Management
August 2020 - Present
Dashboard: Making it Human
The Original Dashboard
From customer and internal sentiment, the original dashboard felt too transactional with a greater proportion of the screen real estate dedicated to monetary spending on recognition. Upon competitor studies of recognition dashboards, what was missing in the Guusto platform were the individuals who received recognition. Most of the attention was on the sender. In addition, what was also missed was a lack of personalization pertaining to the user viewing their dashboard. It felt removed from their personalized data with the exception of their spending.
A Human-Centric Push
In light of external and internal feedback and competitor findings, my iteration of the dashboard includes:
- A message addressed to the user that highlights a moment of encouragement and delight in having received a gift or nomination. As the recent activity feed can potentially bury recognition the user receives, I wanted to extract what pertains to them.
- A leaderboard also showcases and summarizes what team members were recognized for - which are usually company values. It also serves to motivate people to move up the leaderboard and send recognition to one another more, thus in effect, building a culture of recognition
- Opportunities for more recognition in the form of likes, comments, shares in an activity card. As sending a gift or nomination would often be 1 to 1 (i.e. from sender to receiver), having social interaction would allow others to commend the receiver.
- CTA’s near the top to prompt users to send recognition or redeem gifts received.
Getting to MVP
Upon internal review, the personalized messaged felt it can only capture one piece of actionable data at a time and would be challenging for developers to display varying messages. In place of this, there will be quick digestible stats showing both gifts and nominations received. With the leaderboard, some companies wish to not show names as it can be indicative of how much in monetary rewards an individual receives, as well as suggest biases in how much in funding a team receives. With this information sensitivity, I removed names from the leaderboard and only summarized counts exclusively for nomination reasons only - a form of non-monetary recognition.
I revisited the dashboard with further improvements to make the dashboard more actionable and reinforce the theme of building a culture of recognition:
- CTA’s and stats are merged to reduce redundancy
- As the leaderboard captures non-monetary recognition, sensitive information is not a concern and names are added back. There is a setting to hide the leaderboard should an Admin wish to.
- A summary of team reasons is added as a reminder of company values and which the team is excelling at.
- In response to customer requests, I created a bulletin board to offer a place for admins to inform team members of its company values and, relevant to this, information about company direction.
With visual direction, although Guusto is a tech company, the focus is on people first. Thus, I refreshed the interface to a friendlier and approachable look and feel, moving away from the rigid, serious, and traditional appearance as it does not represent the Guusto brand. For a more welcoming, brighter, and lighter effect, modular elements have rounded corners and softer edges; there is greater use of Guusto’s teal brand colour over the dark blue; as well as greater use of the sans-serif font. As well, to reinforce recognition and celebrate people’s efforts, I added confetti for playfulness and delight.
Bringing Back the Data
With the dashboard removed of data-heavy information, I created a new Overview section within Reports to consolidate data into one place. Iterating on the original presentation, I grouped similar elements together to improve readability. From customer requests, there are additional insights on participation to gauge recognition activity and value in using the platform. Upon testing, future improvements to add include industry benchmarks and comparisons between departments and locations.
Automated Awards: Supercharging Recognition
As this feature is not yet part of the mid-2021 launch, this feature is described in brief, however I would be more than happy to share in detail my process and wireframes.
Defining the Problem
Employee milestones and anniversaries are common in employee recognition and come at regular cadences. We wanted to offer customers, especially the larger companies, a convenient way to “set it and forget it”.
While scheduling awards for milestones and anniversaries is possible in the platform, customers find Guusto’s automated awards limited to an extent and still very manual, requiring one to enter milestone dates and schedule frequently.
Considerations and Constraints
Prior to designing, things that were brought to my attention were:
- Pulling milestone & anniversary dates via HRIS integrations
- Serving customers without an HRIS system
- Giving visibility to current & upcoming anniversaries
- Providing an option for non-monetary recognition
I reviewed competitor product’s user flows on how automated awards were set up, the kind of information required for an automation, as well as other notable features. Findings included:
- Awards are sent based on hire and birth dates
- Ability to personalize standardized messages and assign values for certain years of service
- Option to supplement or replace an annual award when a years of service award is set up
- Email notifications of awards
- Anniversaries are publicized in a feed
- Dedicated celebrations section
- Anniversaries, birthdays, onboarding new hires were common opportunities for automation
Redesigning the platform is a daunting yet exhilarating endeavour, especially when I began as a team of 1. While I enjoy having accountability and ownership over product direction, what came with it was learning how to balance multiple stakeholder’s needs and interests. There were prospective customers looking for features, new customers signing large contracts and making their requests, existing customers to retain, a product roadmap to address, Engineering time to respect, departmental feedback, my own convictions in good design principles, and more recently, emphasizing with my intern and helping them navigate ambiguity and tradeoffs. Simultaneously, it is invigorating to distill the problem and abstractions, entertain and abandon possibilities, and put it together and present a concrete vision. Working at a start-up has been truly eye-opening as it has amplified ambiguity and the need to embrace the bigger picture. You could say I appreciate Guusto.