Product Development

Building better email. iContact was one of the original email marketing service providers, and among the most widely used in the mid ‘00s. But the burden of legacy software and interface design made it increasingly difficult to compete against newcomers with responsive email templates and drag and drop tools. iContact needed to catch up or risk being outpaced — permanently — so time was of the essence. We partnered with iContact’s savvy product and development teams to redesign the entire application interface, revamp the trial user flow and develop a modern, feature-rich email building React application from scratch… all in just fifteen weeks.

  • Challenge

    Improve customer acquisition in an increasingly-crowded industry

  • Solution

    Revamp the end-to-end trial experience to increase the number of trial users who successfully send an email and convert to paying customers

  • Results

    Our React.js email message building application, sophisticated product design and intuitive trial experience flow positions iContact to over-deliver for new trial users

How we did it.

  • Product Strategy and Technical Planning Phase

    The first three weeks of our aggressive timeline were dedicated solely to definition and planning. Working closely with the iContact product and tech teams, we mapped out the ecosystem of our message builder application, created a feature set list, defined our technical approach and conducted comparative research on competitors.

  • Modular and Iterative Approach

    By breaking up our application into pieces, five developers were able to work in parallel. Starting simple and layering on complexity also allowed user experience and backend support to come together over the course of the project.

  • React and Microcosm provided us the direction we needed to quickly build a wide variety of features. This made it possible to implement features like a file manager, image crop/rotate functionality, undo/redo, a custom spell checker, conversion of content to HTML, and so much more!

    Using Microcosm Presenters to Manage Complex Features
    David Eisinger, Development Director
  • Backed by weekly user testing sessions, our product definition and UX design efforts stayed one step ahead of development. Our research validated (and challenged) our design decisions, allowing us to make adjustments along the way and giving us confidence in the product we were building. 

    How to Create Fast, Searchable Notes for Real-Time Research
    Katherine Olvera, User Experience Designer
  • By keeping trial users as our top priority, we were able to work effectively with the iContact product management team to prioritize the features that would be most usable and useful to iContact trial users.

    Bringing Analytical Thinking to Product Decisions with Client Teams
    Claire Atwell, Project Manager
  • The performance of an app can have a lasting impact on user experience. Robust Javascript apps can present a number of performance challenges. Webpack allowed us to lazy-load pieces of the application as the were needed, significantly reducing the initial time to interactivity. On top of that,  we built a client-side image optimizer and optimized how we loaded custom web fonts.

    Performance Loading Font Picker Previews
    Jeremy Frank, Senior Front-End Developer
  • Everything from the way we defined roles and delegated work to the way we committed code and our deployment strategy was optimized for a large team of designers, developers and product managers working together on the same thing at the same time, and getting it done.

    JS App Continuous Deployment (for every branch) using CircleCI & S3
    Mike Ackerman, Senior Developer
  • Work
  • iContact - Product Development