Design Management Case Study: Emerging Spaces
Investors are constantly on the hunt for companies to invest in or to acquire. In order to do so though it requires a lot of research that combines number crunching, newsgathering, and combing social media for trends. At PitchBook we constantly keep an eye on these things via a combination of AI and human-based investigation. We knew that we could use our data to show our customers investment areas on the rise in a way that leads to that aha moment.
The business challenge we were trying to solve: our customers tend to use PitchBook reactively. They conduct research elsewhere and then come to us to find the data. The goal of this project was to get them to use PitchBook as an investigative tool, not just the place to crunch the numbers.
As the UX Manager on this project, I empowered and guided my team through the process of identifying what we should focus on, why our customers needed these insights, and how they might appear within PitchBook. I was involved all along the way from concept to launch.
Time will tell how well Emerging Spaces is performing for us, but if a recent customer comment that it's, "hella lit", is any indication, we're off to a pretty good start.
Sourcing deals, especially ones in untapped markets is really important to PitchBook's customers. Within the company, we have many teammates who come from the industries we serve. It's crucial to collaborate with them and take advantage of their experience in order to help the UX Team solve design problems. I introduced the concept of one-day Google-style Design Sprints. The designer for Emerging Spaces took the idea and organized a workshop to kick this project off.
The designer and product manager created a map illustrating the ideal flow and goals of the project I reviewed it with them before the session started and agreed to participate in the Design Sprint.
A scene from the Design Sprint: our cross-functional team digs deeper into the design map so that we can focus our efforts.
An example of the final storyboards the designer would use to begin her work. Everyone agreed that bubble charts were a good direction for this project, but would prove to be problematic later.
After the sprint, the designer mapped out the current and future states of using PitchBook as a discovery tool.
This project was heavily researched. As part of that effort, the designer partnered with other PitchBook teams in order to use actual data within the designs: I believe it is impossible to design for data if you're not using the real stuff. I guide my designers through the process of doing this and routinely ask if the data's real when I look at their projects.
One of the initial designs. My biggest point of feedback centered around the need to illustrate the trends within the spaces in order to illustrate how they're growing.
The next round of designs I reviewed featured this bubble chart. You may recall that during the Design Sprint we thought it was the appropriate way to illustrate the growing trends and their investments. However, our executive stakeholders found it confusing and asked the team to take another pass at it.
After feedback from our leadership team questioning the initial direction, the designer took to sketching, which I reviewed and provided feedback.
For the next round of designs, we settled on the treemap because it gives users a sense of proportion. Interestingly, it was ultimately easier to read and was approved by our stakeholders. This version is very close to the one that launched.
I walk through Emerging Spaces on the PitchBook platform.