Rhiz

Web App
Overview
Rhiz is an online business community and marketplace that provides instant search qualified with social trust, business networking, and secure messaging and payment.

Rhiz approached me to help them create their Beta product. As the design lead, I was responsible for all steps of product development from research and user testing to final visual designs. I also created a brand style guide, refreshed the logo, and designed marketing assets to help Rhiz seek their seed round funding.



About
Role: Lead designer
Responsibilities: UX, UI, visual design, brand identity
Team: Me, CEO, CMO, CTO, full stack developer, front end developer
Tools: Figma, Invision
Impact
  • Built the company's first design system
  • Defined the company's brand identity and created its first style guide
Background
Word of mouth is 70% of consumer search in the home improvement field. Rhiz’s goal is to mobilize this, putting small businesses’ trust and network online for consumers to see, instantly. Rhiz’s Dream Team feature allow SMBs to list their top 5 partners or friends on their business profiles to give each other more exposure and instant referrals.

Consumers can search by service category and proximity, sort by social trust (FB friends), and connect with and message businesses as well as create lists of their favorite businesses to share with friends or clients. Rhiz also includes invoicing and reviews for projects completed through the platforms.

I worked on the full user flow for both consumers and businesses, from onboarding to connecting to completing projects and leaving reviews to ensure that the interaction between consumers and SMBs felt smooth, professional, and easy. This interaction begins when a consumer sends an initial request to connect with the business and continues to booking the business for a project.
The Problem
For consumers: Consumers use lead generators because word of mouth is slow; review sites are untrustworthy. Consumers need speed AND trust.

For businesses: Finding new customers can be a frustrating trial and error process, with many lead generating marketplaces using a pay to play model that requires SMBs to pay each time they pitch themselves for new work - with no guarantee of a response.

The Goal
For consumers: Automatically present businesses which fit what they’re looking for and are validated by social trust within their network. Allow for easy communication, booking, and reviewing.

For businesses: Allow SMBs to display their top 5 business partners on their profiles to enable instant referrals, allow SMBs to easily send quotes and invoices.

For Rhiz: In this Beta version, Rhiz’s metrics are user satisfaction via feedback, growth numbers, and then revenue.

Research
We worked on competitive analysis as a team, researching existing contracting and review platforms to uncover where users are getting frustrated with the current offerings, and what was missing from those offerings that Rhiz could provide.

Takeaways
Ease: Interaction between consumers and businesses should be effortless, with messaging, quotes, and invoices all happening the same place.

Lead-gen is an outdated, disconnected practice, with reviews claiming fraud. Meanwhile, review sites are rife with exploitation. Rhiz aims to address these issues with their proprietary Rhiz score algorithm, currently in development.

Speed: Many competitors have high-friction entry, requiring consumers to provide details information about their upcoming project before showing any SMB options. Rhiz can provide a better experience by offering instant search.

Defining Beta
Everyone had day jobs too, so it was important to realistically define the Beta product and timeline. I worked with the founders to identify the minimum features required to begin providing the kind of value that they envisioned for their product, and with the dev team to prioritize and, if necessary, revise features according to what was possible within everyone's limited time frames. We checked in with one another and our progress through weekly all-team and separate dev team meetings which I also attended.
Sitemap
A sitemap helped me better understand the project and ensure that the team was on the same page in terms of product architecture.
Sketching + wireframing
I started on core user flows like onboarding, adding a business, and editing a profile. I began with pen and paper, then wireframed my designs.
Connecting, messaging, invoicing, and reviewing
The inbox screens underwent several iterations and required close work and communication with the developers to arrive at a Beta solution that served the user’s core needs but was also realistic from a timeline standpoint.
User testing
I conducted user testing to identify pain points with the Beta designs. I wrote a script and created a list of goals for each user to achieve, then observed them via screensharing to uncover parts of the app they struggled to use, or other design flaws.

Research is ongoing, and I am working with the team to identify improvements and prioritize them according to their impact on usability and their feasibility from a development standpoint.
Final screens
Research is ongoing, and I am working with the team to identify improvements and prioritize them according to their impact on usability and their feasibility from a development standpoint.
Style and brand guide
I created a style and brand voice guide to enforce consistency across the product, marketing pages, and other assets.
Logo
I elevated the brand with a logo refresh that had two parts. First: when I joined the team, the Rhiz logo wasn’t instantly identifiable as a leaf, especially when scaled down. Furthermore, the brand green was extremely similar to that of a competitor. I proposed a new shade of green and designed a new, more recognizable logo.
Old Logo
New Logo
Marketing pages
Informed by the brand guidelines I had created and working with the CEO to craft the copy, I designed marketing and CMS pages such as the homepage, blog feed, pricing, and newsletter components. We plan to implement heat maps for insights into how users interact with these pages and where my designs can be improved.
Illustrations
One especially fun part of this project was the chance to create my own on-brand illustrations for use in screens, emails, and marketing assets. The name Rhiz comes from ‘rhizome’, which is a fern’s rootlike structure, so I used ferns as a motif in these illustrations.
Conclusions
As the only designer, I’ve improved at communicating my design rationale to founders and developers. As a member of a pre-seed team launching a beta product, I gained confidence in my ability to work quickly and balance the high level vision with the realities of what’s practical for meeting deadlines with a small team -- better to launch with fewer features sooner and start iterating on feedback than to continuously postpone the launch date because we know it could be better.
Jumpstart Filings
Product Design
Novel Financial
Product Design