Design

From Beta to Launch - Messaging

Jul 30, 2015

In the previous post, I wrote a bit about transitioning Cushion from the beta into launch mode, and I think it’s worthwhile go into more detail about this shift.


The beta gave each user six months to use Cushion, starting from the date they signed up. This means that half of those who signed up prior to launch are actually still riding out their beta. In fact, the very last beta will end sometime in January 2016, and because of this, all of the beta-related logic in Cushion needs to remain intact for those users.

The most obvious part to maintain is messaging. When a user is close to the end of their trial or beta, Cushion sends a heads-up email and displays a banner at the top of the app, inviting them to subscribe. This banner’s main purpose is to coax users to subscribe early, so there’s no gap in their usage of Cushion. It also serves as a backup notification for users who either 1) didn’t receive the heads-up email or 2) spend their days in inbox hell, with thousands of unread emails going unnoticed.

beta-banner

During the beta, this banner will simply say “Your beta will end in X days”. Now that Cushion has 14-day trial periods, the banner needs to swap “beta” with “trial” for only the trial users. Because of this, I needed to implement a way of distinguishing between beta users and trial users, but I wanted to avoid tacking a new boolean column to the user table for every indicator like this.

I decided to make use of the array column type and store any user descriptor in a single tags column. These tags currently include trial, beta, and subscriber, but they can extend to any other tags I might want to add down the road. Instead of checking the true/false on a handful of individual columns, I can now just check if a users has a specific tag.

trial-banner

Along with messaging, the email and banner’s logic needed to be altered based on the user’s status. For the beta, the heads-up email would go out a week before the beta ended. For the 14-day trial, however, a week would land us halfway through the trial. I needed to update the email’s criteria to be delivered only three days before the trial ended if the user had the trial tag or a week before the beta ended if the user had the beta tag.

Because I have two very different relationships between trial users and beta users, I need to send two completely different emails. Beta users are like longtime friends. They paid upfront, investing before Cushion was even ready for launch, and they’ve been using it for half a year by the time their beta is over. Our lengthy conversations throughout the beta helped shape Cushion into what it is today.

Trial users are more like acquaintances. For the vocal ones, I might start to build a good rapport, but by the time their trial ends, our relationship is still pretty fresh. They also haven’t used Cushion long enough to see how it might impact them after months of use. Instead of sending them the same email as beta users, I’ll send one that’s more to-the-point.

beta-plans

In the heads-up email, I include a big button to see available plans for Cushion. If the user clicks the button, they’re directed to the subscriptions tab within the app. Throughout the beta, this page included not only the monthly and yearly plans, but also the beta “plan”, so they could see how much time they have left.

trial-plans

Trial users don’t need to know about the beta, so I swapped the beta with the trial “plan”. It provides the same value of indicating how much time is left on their trial period while maintaining the balance of the page.

I’ll stop here because this post is more of a two-parter. Aside from minor elements within the app, the shift from beta to launch also required a substantial redesign to the signup process and onboarding experience. With all the lessons learned from launch and the careful considerations for the signup redesign, this truly deserves its own post. Until next time!

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Archive

  1. Restructuring an Evolving App: Part 1
    Design
  2. My Typical Week as a Founder
    Story
  3. Building Components in a Sandbox
    Dev
  4. Reactive Time with Vue.js
    Dev
  5. Visualizing Daylight Saving Time
    Dev
  6. Recording Screencast GIFs
    Dev
  7. Writing a Job Listing
    Story
  8. Using Feature Flags to Run Betas
    Dev
  9. Our First Company Lunch
    Story
  10. How to embed Vue.js & Vuex inside an AngularJS app... wait what?
    Dev
  11. Funding Cushion
    Story
  12. Hiring a Team of Freelancers
    Story
  13. Taking a Real Break From Work
    Story
  14. Slack as a Notification Center
    Dev
  15. Document Your Features
    Story
  16. 300
    Story
  17. Vacations
    Design
  18. Offering Discounts
    Design
  19. Waves of Traffic
    Story
  20. Less Blogging, More Journaling
    Story
  21. Retention Through Useful Features
    Design
  22. The Onboarding Checklist
    Design
  23. Spreading the Word
    Story
  24. From Beta to Launch - The Subdomain
    Dev
  25. From Beta to Launch - Sign up
    Design
  26. From Beta to Launch - Messaging
    Design
  27. Launch
    Story
  28. Authenticating with 3rd Party Services
    Dev
  29. Intro to Integrations
    Design
  30. Inspiration vs Imitation
    Story
  31. The Emotional Rollercoaster
    Story
  32. Designing Project Blocks
    Design
  33. Everything in Increments
    Story
  34. Deleting Your Account
    Design
  35. Designing the Subscription Page
    Design
  36. Rewriting the Timeline
    Dev
  37. Restructuring the Individual Project Page
    Design
  38. Project Blocks
    Story
  39. Redesigning the Homepage
    Design
  40. Multiple Timelines
    Design
  41. Archiving and Estimate Differences
    Design
  42. Multiple Financial Goals
    Design
  43. Zooming in on the Timeline
    Design
  44. Currency
    Dev
  45. Preferences, Accounts, and a Typeface Change
    Design
  46. Sending Out the First Email
    Story
  47. Currency Inputs, Notifications, and Invoice Nets
    Design
  48. Dots and Lines
    Design
  49. Calculating in the Database and Revealing Tendencies
    Dev
  50. Improved Form UX
    Design
  51. Cushion is Online
    Story
  52. Schedule Timeline Patterns
    Design
  53. A Slimmer Schedule Timeline
    Design
  54. The Schedule Timeline
    Design
  55. Plugging in Real Data for the First Time
    Design
  56. Transitions and Project Lists
    Design
  57. Death to Modals
    Design
  58. The Individual Project Page
    Design
  59. Estimated Incomes and Talks with Other Freelancers
    Story
  60. Statuses to Lists and the Paid Beta
    Story
  61. The Timeline
    Story
  62. Invoice Terminology
    Dev
  63. Modal Forms
    Dev
  64. Wiring the Backend to the Frontend
    Dev
  65. Balancing Design and Dev
    Story
  66. Timecop, Monocle, and Vagrant
    Dev
  67. Going with Ruby and Sinatra
    Dev
  68. Ditching local-first and trying out Node.js
    Dev
  69. Switching to AngularJS
    Dev
  70. Building the Table with Vue.js
    Dev
  71. Clients, Projects, and Invoices
    Dev
  72. Introduction
    Story

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