UX research
defining a designer level taxonomy

Labeling 100k creators

99designs is a creative platform that connects clients with creators. The platform has more than 100 thousand active creators that were reviewed and curated by our Community team.

However, only a limited group of the best designers had a "platinum" label showing in their profiles, leaving the vast majority of the community without any clear classification to help clients deciding who to work with, or the creators what were their status.

This project was an initiative from our creator community team. I've volunteered to help them with planning and executing the research. I particularly enjoyed this project because it was a fruitful opportunity to collaborate and support a different team, spreading more research love to the company.  

Informed decisions with research

The community team, responsible for managing and curating the creators on our platform, started a project to create better levels to display on the creator profiles, with the goal of showing clients we vetted the professionals in our platform while making more transparent to the creators their account status and limitations.

This project had three main steps:
• deciding how the creators should be ranked,
• the number of levels necessary,
• and how we would name each one.

For the last step, naming, the first approach was to respond to the brief through the 99designs brand lens, but a unique naming structure for the levels revealed itself to be a challenge.

I've joined the project at this moment to help the community team better understand the problem and create a process to make a decision, focused on our users.

The research covered several rounds of interviews and surveys

Boring works great

First, we interviewed a few members of the community to understand how they talk about their level of experience. During this process, we have learned that many of the terminology related to level and hierarchy was gender-biased (rockstar is strongly associated with masculinity), didn't translate well in every culture ("unicorn" is a Silicon Valley term), or was conveying time (Does labeling a profile "new" convey freshness or limited experience?).

Explaining the design process and how to use the platform to clients can already be complicated, so we shouldn't add more to their learning curve with the level names. Clarity, alongside with transparency and hierarchy, became a goal for the project.

We shifted our approach from a purely creative perspective to one that would be effective to our users.

Slides sharing the results of the research for the team, presented by the Head of Community, Allison Gremillion

Test battery

After reviewing the level name new options with the goal of clarity in mind, we created a survey in which our users ranked the level names within a group from most skilled, followed by a question on which of the groups made more sense and the one that was the most confusing.

We did a few rounds of this test until we got two paths that were then tested on the interfaces, in user testing sessions. We displayed the level names in different contexts: in the conversion funnel, profiles, and project space.

Visual exploration on how we could display the new level, done with the design team

With a more definite goal and having colleagues engaged with the research, we were able to deliver a new designer level naming and structure that was effective for our users and business goals. This was all possible thanks to Allison Gremillion, Head of Community, which I had the pleasure to work with and help with this project.



99designs 2014-

Moip 2011-14
Brazil, acquired by Wirecard

Locaweb 2010-11

AgenciaClick 2009-10
Brazil, acquired by Isobar

Yahoo! 2007