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4 Strategic Steps To Delivering A New Product Experience At Enterprise Scale

At Pulse Everywhere, we launched the all-new Gainsight Horizon Experience—Gainsight’s new User Experience powered by a simple, intuitive, and beautiful design system and a set of UI components to serve as the building blocks.

This new experience is already available in our CX Center, Revenue Center, Sightline Vault, and Gainsight mobile, and we’ll be rolling it out to the rest of Gainsight NXT and parts of Salesforce edition in the months to come. You can see a recap of our announcement here, along with the rest of our Pulse Everywhere keynotes.

This may be the first you’re hearing of Horizon Experience, but we’ve been thinking about this for a long time. In fact, we tripled the size of our design team over the last year to make sure we can not only build, but maintain a world-class product experience as we continue to grow.

Take a look below to see some of the approaches we took as we set out on this journey. 

1. Set Clear Goals

When we set out to create the Horizon Experience, we began by aligning on our primary objectives for the initiative. In our case, we aimed to do the following:

  • Increase Customer Effort Score: With all of the power behind Gainsight, our admins cited that sometimes getting up and running took longer than expected. We asked users to let us know how much effort they perceived tasks to take across Gainsight. (Higher score is better!)
  • Increase NPS Score: The success of work products has shifted into the customer’s hands. How can we make our experience more delightful so that users rave about their experience? We asked users to let us know on a scale of 1-10, how likely they were to recommend our product.
  • Increase Product Usage: While certain features were being heavily adopted, others struggled to catch on. We tracked metrics such as page views, feature usage, and click paths within Gainsight PX to understand these trends.

2. Identify Your Values

Values are especially important because they not only drive decisions but also foster a shared culture around the work across the organization. As we created the Horizon Experience, we rigorously tested these values by comparing ideas and designs against them at every stop. We selected the following:

  • Simple: Reduce the number of choices, visual signals, and clicks so the user can focus on the most important tasks at hand. 
  • Intuitive: Help users and admins accomplish their goals by providing in-app copy, guided help, and pre-packaged configurations.
  • Beautiful: Did you know that beautiful software is perceived as easier to use? As applications become more of an extension of the person who is using them, whether in an office, at home, or in the workplace, the aesthetics of technology become increasingly even more important.

We tried to find values that are tangible enough that we could ask ourselves, “Is this [x]?”. Whether the answer is driven by data or opinion, it’s guaranteed to spark insightful and meaningful conversations that will lead to a better experience for your users.

3. Just Get Started

Like any important initiative, getting started can be the hardest part. While I’d like to say that these things all happened in a beautiful and elegant sequence, the truth is—it was more like a beautiful convergence of several parallel tracks coming together as they emerged. Here are some of the things we decided to “just get started” to begin the momentum toward where we are today:

  • Create an inventory: We went through quite literally every page of the Gainsight applications to understand what already existed, so we could understand the deltas – with the goal of building fewer components to solve for all of the use cases and reduce the learning curve. We then cross-referenced that inventory against other leading enterprise design systems to make sure we had our bases covered for new patterns that might emerge.
  • Get buy-In: Reimaging a product experience does not come for free. In our case, we assembled a team and invested in a design system platform that integrated with our design prototypes and front end developers’ technology. We used a combination of Gainsight PX usage data, Gainsight CS customer surveys, G2 evaluations, Industry comparisons, and cost-benefit analyses to make our case. 
  • Assemble the team: Anyone can create a style guide. But the development of a living, breathing design system is much more involved. We asked one of our designers to take on the Horizon Experience full time, identified a small team of design leads who would contribute and propagate the design to their product areas, and a lead UI architect who would ensure components were being accurately and thoughtfully created and implemented across the company
  • Prioritize the work: Figure out where to start. For us, we used the Atomic Design Framework, starting with the smallest elements and leading up to more involved components so the implementation was easy for the designers to learn and digest. Additionally, this helped us collaborate with engineers regularly so we could find potential gotchas as they arose rather than after the design work was complete.

4. Ship It

We faced another set of considerations when thinking about how to deliver the Horizon Experience. First, would we deliver it incrementally or all at once? To give customers value as soon as possible, we decided that it was ok to deliver the Horizon Experience incrementally, even if it hadn’t yet been implemented on every page. That is not necessarily the best approach for everybody. Unless we could make completely sure that the remaining features would be a fast follow, we would be left with an even less desirable “Frankenstein” experience.

We also decided firmly at one point that every new application would be built in the Horizon Experience. Finally, we set guidelines and requirements for in-app communications. As we’ve seen with popular consumer products, new user experiences often face backlash in the beginning, even if they are better. If a functional aspect of Gainsight has changed, there will be an in-app engagement powered by Gainsight PX to walk users through the changes.

If you are a Gainsight customer, we’d love to hear your feedback about Horizon Experience. If you are not a customer, what are you waiting for? Try a demo today to see what the hype is all about!