The crowdfunding pitch video is one of the most important aspects of a successful crowdfunding campaign. However, novice crowdfunders have difficulty communicating the value of their projects. Our goal was to develop a tool that would scaffold the process of developing a crowdfunding campaign pitch.
In order to better understand the design challenge, we performed interviews with crowdfunders, outlined the stakeholders involved, and performed research on publicly available crowdfunding project pitches.
Our design challenge was motivated by previous research that I had performed on the crowdfunding work process. I had interviewed over 100 crowdfunding project creators to understand the primary challenges with running a campaign, and developing a pitch video was cited as one of the most difficult aspects. Given that crowdfunderes are distributed across the world, we decided to develop an online platform so that we could quickly reach the greatest number of novice crowdfunders.
Before creating prototypes, we outlined the key tasks our users would perform when interacting with our web app. This helped us identify how to structure the instruction.
We first developed a service blueprint to outline the step-by-step process of our pitch scaffolding tool. Inspired by research in the learning sciences, we decided that our tool should incorporate an iterative process to pitch creation. To facilitate this process, our tool would walk the learner through a series of videos with built-in opportunities to refine one's pitch in between.
We developed paper-based and web-based prototypes so that we could test which interface was easiest for crowdfunders to plan out their project pitches. Because previous crowdfunding and marketing research describes how backers like supporting crowdfunders who are passionate, the prototypes asked crowdfunders to describe themselves and why they were motivated to pursue their project.
We performed user testing offline and online to gather a diversity of opinions. Offline, we were able to ask participants to think aloud as they interacted with the prototypes. Online, we could gather less detailed, but quicker data on what aspects of our product were clear or not clear.
Offline user testing
We performed user testing with people who were interested in better communicating their design projects. Participants found that breaking the pitch up into distinct sections as useful, but expressed that the pre-formated web page to be too restricting. Instead they preferred to answer the questions, but organize the information based on their personal preferences. Later testing sessions had participants to develop their pitch using post-it notes to allow for modularity.
Online user testing
We also performed online user testing through Amazon Mechanical Turk to gather feedback from older professionals who might want to crowdfund. We were able to recruit over 40 respondents in less than 24 hours, where we asked them to evaluate screen shots of our tool. Most of the data was shallow, but we were still able to quickly collect some useful feedback. For example, one participant said that they found value in seeing the overall organization of a good pitch in one screen.
The final design of Storybooth included both instructional videos that we developed as well as example videos from existing crowdfunding campaigns. Crowdfunders were prompted to develop and iterate on their campaign pitch as they moved from section to section.
I fortunate to work on an interdisciplinary team of two students from Northwestern's Engineering Design and Innovation (EDI) Masters Program and one student from Northwestern's Kellogg. School of Business. This project was for the EDI Service Design Course (Spring 2012).