I conducted user interviews throughout development and decided to launch into a 30 day closed beta in order to closely monitor user data and bug reports. I used Mixpanel to measure user activity, survey users, and A/B test push notifications. I used Apptentive and UXCam to record additional user data, including complete screen-recordings of user sessions.
The decision to drop users into a provider-catalog rather than a product-specific or discovery menu was informed by our early user studies. We found that customers had a certain level of allegiance to their chosen dispensaries, and that the brand was often the most more important factor when browsing product. This insight actually wound up informing a lot of how we structured the business and even our revenue models.
We chose to add discovery and product menus as optional features for users who might prefer to browse this way.
In addition to product design, I led our sales and company operations and was able to borrow learnings from these areas of the business to design a more sales-ready product. Through selling, I found that customer dispensaries wanted the opportunity to differentiate from their competitors.
I used Flinto to create several clickable prototypes for early user testing. Though high-fidelity, visuals were not as much a focus at this stage as user flow and functionality.
After a series of iterations and user interviews with both our paying customers and their users I felt comfortable greenlighting a v1.0 of the app so we could begin development.
At this time I was obsessed with Paul Graham's incredibly helpful series of essays on building a startup. One of my biggest takeaways from Paul's essays was that you are what you measure. We took a considerable amount of engineering hours to build out Mixpanel and Apptentive integrations to measure user behaviors and collect in-app feedback from users. This was an important part of the design process post-launch.
Our first onboarding flow required users to input the necessary text fields from their medical marijuana card. We notice that we were losing users at this step and set out to solve this problem. Our first move was to determine how many users downloading the application were qualifying medical marijuana card holders. Once we confirmed that there were qualifying users dropping off we A/B tested a new verification flow that eliminated the need to input text items. While the conversion rate did not change significantly we saw a 3.7 hour reduction in the time users spent completing this step.
As a newly legalized industry, the cannabis community is in great need of normalization. Canary is a technology company first, and can bring a uniquely contemporary look and feel to cannabis as one of the first major ancillary companies operating in the industry. We want to convey a message of sophistication and responsible use that can appeal to new cannabis users, and will reflect professionalism on our customer dispensaries.
We aim to create a product that celebrates marijuana legalization. Just as ratification of the 21st Amendment repealed alcohol prohibition, our nation is currently undergoing a similarly historical event with the legalization and normalization of marijuana, for either recreational or medical purposes.
In keeping with our value of sophistication, Canary choses not to arrantly advertise stoner culture. Instead, we carefully pick and choose elements of existing cannabis associations. Special promos for ordering at 4:20pm, playful product descriptions, and subtle references to stoner culture all help us connect with our core audience.
Canary marketing materials aim to differentiate between their use of the word “cannabis” and their use of the word “marijuana.” Though not popularly realized, cannabis is a legal term referring to the medical application of marijuana. Though essentially synonymous, Canary should use “cannabis” to describe product in a medical sense and “marijuana” to describe product in a recreational sense.
Canary marketing materials should be aware of the legal nuance of the terms “dispensary” and “shop.” While “dispensary” refers to loosely regulated medical marijuana collectives, “shop” can refer to a licensed marijuana store servicing customers for recreational use. Exercise judgement and consider your audience when using the term “dispensary” to describe a legal shop.
The Canary brand should carefully consider its audience when using the terms “recreational” and “medicinal.” While a recreational customer uses marijuana for its positive, enjoyable effects a medicinal customer is using cannabis as a medicine to treat a medical condition, often chronic pain.
I worked very closely with our developer to guide the implementation of my designs and make the build-out as easy as possible for him. I implemented my own design freeze for our v1 product to prevent unnecessary back-and-forth. I redlined everything and maintained a brand and style guide throughout.