23andMe is a genetics testing company with a mission to help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome. In 2015, we became the first company ever to receive FDA approval for direct-to-consumer genetics reports. Along with this approval, we launched a completely overhauled website in which I led the redesign of the Research platform.
23andMe conducts research by asking customers hundreds of phenotypic questions and collecting their responses. By analyzing those responses and the DNA provided by millions of customers, our scientists are able to unlock genetic correlations.
For the relaunch, the product manager and I wanted to tackle two user pain points:
1. As a user, I don't want to feel like I'm on an endless treadmill, answering question after question.
Users have been known to call up customer service to complain about how they couldn't stop answering questions. This was great for 23andMe, because it gave us a lot of data, but it really frustrated our users to not have any tangible goal or purpose in Research.
2. As a user, I want to know how my contributions to 23andMe are being used in research.
The old website was extremely successful in collecting data from our users, but it did a poor job of providing information back to the users about how their data was being transformed into real research results.
The Solution: Milestones and Insights
To address these pain points that our users expressed, we created a "Milestones and Insights" system.
Users reach Milestones by answering a certain number of questions or by completing surveys. Milestones not only give our users a sense of progress but also provide tangible goals to work toward. This addressed the first pain point.
Insights are what users receive every time they complete a Milestone. Some Insights showcase genetic discoveries made by 23andMe, and others explain why we are doing research on certain topics. With Insights, we tackled the second pain point.
The Design Process
Iterate, Prototype, and Compromise
After defining the problem, I designed and threw away many iterations until we landed on an MVP that stakeholders agreed on.
Specs and Implementation
I wrote out detailed specs that defined all states of every element within the new Research experience. Throughout the implementation process, I worked closely with engineers to iron out visual design and interaction issues.
This project was released in 2015.