Canary was a cannabis marketplace and on-demand mobile delivery service. I co-founded the company in April 2014 with two friends. As an early-stage startup, I found myself in many different roles at Canary: legal research, business strategy, community building, recruiting, and sales. My experience in these roles, especially working to sell the product, helped inform my product design decisions.
How might we connect Canary users with local dispensaries and enable them to quickly and easily browse product and place on-demand orders?
How might we standardize the experience across providers while allowing these providers to customize their listing with their own brand elements?
What information do users need throughout the order process and how can we best communicate it to them?
I conducted user interviews throughout development and decided to launch into a 30 day closed beta in order to closely monitor user data and bug reports. I used Mixpanel to measure user activity, survey users, and A/B test push notifications. I used Apptentive and UXCam to record additional user data, including complete screen-recordings of user sessions.
The decision to drop users into a provider-catalog rather than a product-specific or discovery menu was informed by our early user studies. We found that customers had a certain level of allegiance to their chosen dispensaries, and that the brand was often the most more important factor when browsing product. This insight actually wound up informing a lot of how we structured the business and even our revenue models. We chose to add discovery and product menus as optional features for users who might prefer to browse this way.In addition to product design, I led our sales and company operations and was able to borrow learnings from these areas of the business to design a more sales-ready product. Through selling, I found that customer dispensaries wanted the opportunity to differentiate from their competitors.
At this time I'd been reading Paul Graham's series of essays on building a startup. One of my biggest takeaways from Paul's essays was that you are what you measure. We took a considerable amount of engineering hours to build out Mixpanel and Apptentive integrations to measure user behaviors and collect in-app feedback from users. This was an important part of the design process post-launch.
Our first onboarding flow required users to input the necessary text fields from their medical marijuana card. We notice that we were losing users at this step and set out to solve this problem. Our first move was to determine how many users downloading the application were qualifying medical marijuana card holders. Once we confirmed that there were qualifying users dropping off we A/B tested a new verification flow that eliminated the need to input text items. While the conversion rate did not change significantly we saw a 3.7 hour reduction in the time users spent completing this step.
Text-based Verification Flow Conversion Funnel
Photo-based Verification Flow Conversion Funnel
I developed a visual design language for various marketing assets