Yada is a social platform that celebrates self-growth, self-reflection, and self-care. In a world that makes it so difficult for young teenagers to safely be themselves and learn from one another online, we founded a platform where they feel empowered to speak, think, and share.
Materializing a Vision
Design with Results
Over the course of my time at Yada, I led design through several key product launches. In just a year, we built a thriving platform from zero users and zero advertising in a puzzling and misunderstood demographic (preteens!). Our organic growth is a testament to our product & design strategy at Yada: thoughtfulness, vision, and broad strokes derived directly from a deep understanding of our users. Get Yada for iOS
Yada (iOS App and Web)
Product Design, UI/UX, User Research
1 Design (that's me!)
Sketch, InVision Studio, Principle, Zeplin, Amplitude, Metabase
Starting from Nothing
This user-driven approach was a success. Even before launch, Yada had traveled far and wide. Stickers were sent to dozens of countries, and our mark had been recreated and redrawn on Gen Z water bottles, sneakers, and t-shirts across the world. All without a single ad dollar spent.
Fan mail sent from users
We settled on the mushroom, something organic and beautiful that grows in all places, including darkness. Our mark was designed to be dynamic and easy to draw — urging our users to make Yada their own through their unique perspective. Our colors were inviting, playful, and creative. Most importantly, a single idea pumped through the DNA of our brand: "Everyone knows something. " We wanted every user to feel empowered to create.
In many ways, there are few places where young girls can be themselves online. We sought to be the space where they could express themselves, bond with others, educate one another, and practice self-care. Above all, we needed our branding to reflect these values.
As a UGC platform, we had to confront the zero-start problem head on. In deep collaboration with growth and marketing, we devised a clever strategy of acquiring new users and making sure their first experience was full and rewarding. A lot of thought and care was put into how we designed our feed, content generation loops, and creation flows.
Onboarding, Suggested Posts
Trust & Safety
Above all, we needed to create an encouraging and empowering space for our creators, while protecting them from bad actors. On top of the considerations of our users, we considered parents as secondary users to our platform. These well-defined user types informed our systems for identity, keeping our users safe and their sensitive data protected.
Defining the Product
The Meat of It All
I was responsible for designing end-to-end flows, including: onboarding, navigation, group and single messaging, feed, creation, and more. This required careful prioritization and collaboration with engineers and stakeholders to ship on a consistent and predictable schedule, while making strong shots on product.
Post and app navigation demo
Encouraging High Quality Content
Our economy was designed to encourage high-quality content. We used a fast and iterative process to launch new features that moved the needle on engagement and retention, including feed mechanics, featured content, and creator feedback-loops.
A Gen Z Sense of Identity
We strove to create an appealing and flexible design system that would allow new users to express themselves safely. Minimalism was used to let user content shine, and many customization features were built so users could establish their aesthetic and voice.
Ease of Creation
Central to our growth was converting readers into creators. To support these efforts, I took great care to design an easy creation flow, and feedback mechanics that encourage new creators to continue to invest energy into their content.
Getting Users to Content They Love
Our feed was underutilized in recommending the best content to users. This was particularly problematic for new users, who struggled to immediately find content they enjoyed during their first experience of the app. We approached the problem with a few strategies: introduce users to high-quality (data-driven) content during sign up, build out a web experience that did not require a user to download and sign up to view the value prop, and increase ease of sharing content out of the platform.
Live shot of web app launched
New Creative Experiences
One of the largest projects we worked on was innovating the format to support more creative experiences. We conceptualized Magic Blocks, a flexible media block that could support videos, gifs, dice, hidden blocks, text-to-image, and more. This required a huge overhaul of our legacy code, and careful development of a block framework that could support new creative features in the future.