Design Management Case Study: Emerging Spaces
Note: This case study is an excerpt from a full presentation dedicated to it.
Investors are constantly on the hunt for companies to invest in or acquire. To do so requires a lot of research, combining number crunching, newsgathering, and combining social media for trends. At PitchBook, we constantly monitored these things via AI and human-based investigation. We knew that we could use our data to show our customers that investment areas are on the rise in a way that leads to that aha moment.
The business challenge we were trying to solve: PitchBook's customers use the tool reactively. They research elsewhere and then come to the platform to find the data. This project aimed to get them to use PitchBook as an investigative tool, not just a place to crunch the numbers.
As the UX Manager on this project, I empowered and guided my team through identifying what we should focus on, why our customers needed these insights, and how they might appear within PitchBook. I also introduced half-day Design Sprints to involve many colleagues and stakeholders in the design process. I was involved all along the way, from concept to launch.
Emerging Spaces has seen exponential growth year over since it was launched and remains a mainstay in PitchBook's market discovery suite of tools.
I walk through Emerging Spaces on the PitchBook platform.
Sourcing deals, especially ones in untapped markets, was really important to PitchBook's customers. Within the company, many teammates came from the industries PitchBook served. It was crucial to collaborate with them and take advantage of their experience 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 that project off.
Before the sprint, the designer mapped out the current and future states of using PitchBook as a discovery tool.
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.
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.