What we did
Central to Atlis is its mobile product, the main platform on which community members ask for advice finding businesses or respond to others with their own recommendations. As a concept the experience design is simple. There is a flow to ask for advice, a flow to view and respond to other users’ asks, as well as the necessary user and business profiles.
What started as a simple task of designing each of these flows developed into an approach of constantly iterating to optimize interaction and effectively display large amounts of supporting information.
Asking Atlis is as easy as telling the community what you're looking for
#AskAtlis was a term coined early in the project that embodied the ease by which users would seek information. Our job was to deliver on that promise of ease by making the Ask flow as effortless as possible.
In early versions an Ask was just one step. The user would define what type of business they were looking for, write a brief supporting question, and confirm the preferred location all at once. While this seemed easiest we found that breaking that process into three focused steps resulted in a greater number of Asks and better insight into specifically what users were looking for.
Initiating the Ask
Users can Ask Atlis for a business recommendation directly from the application's landing screen, which is always accessibile when scrolling through other Asks from the Atlis community.
The Ask user flow
An Ask consists of three steps — selecting a category, choosing a location, and adding a comment to encourage more specific responses. The flow was tested and optimized to increase speed and simplicity by focusing each view on a single step of the Ask.
In addition to the value of crowdsourced, real-time responses, Askers' behavior is encouraged via a system of points that they can accumulate and redeem for various rewards, both weekly and instant.
Ask Atlis anywhere
Atlis began as a mobile app, but was designed for desktop as well. Rather than simply scaling the experience, each flow was addressed individually to produce the most efficient user experience.
The Ask flow is encapsulated into a single view, offering the same great experience and speed as the Atlis mobile app.
Responding to Asks is an innovation in encouraging users to interact
Asking for local businesses is only half of Atlis’s equation, and our main concern when testing the concept was that no one would respond as those Asks came in.
Our approach was to make responding just as easy as asking, but with the added support of contextual information. When users opt to provide a recommendation Atlis suggests businesses that they have previously recommended or visited aided with additional context clues such as time of day, current location, and how long ago their last visit was.
What are they Asking for?
All of an Ask's key attributes are presented front and center, including who is Asking, what they're Asking for, where they're Asking, and the locations of businesses that the community is responding with.
The response user flow
Responding users can either search for a business or select a place that they have recommended previously, then add a comment to address any specific requests posted by the Asker.
Atlis can suggest potential responses based on past recommendations to similar Asks in nearby locations. Those places are immediately accessible when making a recommendation and noted with a heart to indicate that this place is on that the responder has previously recommended.
Responding from home
The response flow on larger screens makes use of added real estate to reveal conversations around recommendations as well as additional information about each business.
Enticing users with points, cash, and other rewards
We knew that making it easy for users to respond wasn’t going to be enough, so we wove gamification into the core of the product experience. Each interaction with Atlis is an opportunity to earn points, increasing one’s standing within the community and represented with the badges developed as part of the identity. For additional appeal, users are rewarded in cash when someone acts on their recommendation and visits a business.
Custom badges indicate progress and status within the community. Each design is thematically linked to a neighborhood archetype, such as "Newcomer" for new users, to "Legend" for those who really know their local hotspots.
While the core experience is focused on efficient interaction and usability, gamification allows for entertainment and delight.
Advancement made easy
Every level comes with its own set of rewardable actions, as well as new opportunities to hasten advancement to even higher status.
On larger screens the various point alerts and enticements are displayed as banners and micro animations so that visitors may complete multiple tasks simultaneously without being roadblocked.
Building trusted advice amongst individuals
With a platform for recommendations involving status and cash we soon found it necessary to develop a means by which users could evaluate the advice from others. Were users thoughtfully suggesting businesses or were they recommending a place that they figured the asker would visit for other reasons? We wanted to create a democratized system in which users held each other accountable for good advice and where trust is earned through positive engagement with the community.
A simple thumbs up and down system encourages users to give their opinion as to whether advice is relevant to the asker’s intent. Users who give thoughtful advice increase their trust score, those who try to game the system will see it decrease, simple as that.
We don't thumbs-down business, only poor advice. Did someone recommend a dentist rather than a general practitioner? Or a restaurant in Midtown when you Asked for the Village? We built a simple system to ensure that recommendations are kept at their highest potential.
A badge of honor
Trustworthiness scores follow users around the platform, making it easy to determine whether their advice can and should be acted on.
A suite of alerts and notification modules inform visitors about significant milestones and product feature enhancements.
Fully flexible, and catering to every context
We need to cater to everybody, from longtime Atlis community members, to newcomers, to businesses owners claiming their profiles. This means that Atlis takes on many formats and exists in various contexts throughout the course of a single day or a single user's journey.
A full application suite serves this purpose, including a responsive web product, mobile apps, marketing landing pages, and soon more. For the web, every element is fully responsive with content and interaction models that adapt to contextual information including location and time.
Positive for businesses
This relationship is a demonstration that our approach of honesty and mutual respect with clients leads to work that engages users and encapsulates the brand’s ideals.
Atlis is extraordinarily beneficial for its users because they can finally get real recommendations from locals and friends who know their neighborhoods. The value that Atlis is creating is just the first step in ensuring a more positive ecosystem for businesses. Businesses can make themselves discoverable to new and existing clientele without average ratings and negativity, while leveraging satisfied customers to further promote their businesses.