Week 17 - 23 February 2020

I missed these last week ¯\_(ヅ)_/¯

We’re starting to see fruit bear from our work to make google like us - we’re coming up on the first page of google for ‘make an online will’ for the first time in Farewill history. It’s been a big team effort and it’s great to see the results.

It feels like as a team we’ve been touching lots of things recently which have ambiguity because they interact with systems outside our control. SEO is one example - another is an issue we’ve been seeing with our emails.

The problem is that some of our transactional emails are going to some people’s spam folders. We use these to tell people if their will has passed or failed checking, so they’re pretty fundamental to the service. This has resulted in lots of people thinking we’ve just left them high and dry after they’ve paid for their will. Not a good look.

Whilst we’re making a few changes to reduce the risk of this happening, spearheaded by Chris (platform engineer), it’ll always be something ultimately out of our control. And just like the special juice google uses to decide who ranks highly, email providers keep how they decide what is spam secret to stop people gaming the system.

It’s highlighted to me how bad our post-purchase wills experience is (especially if you work on the assumption that people don’t receive the emails). And fragile. To that end, I ran a workshop this week looking at how we could make it better - starting with the page you see when you log back into your account. I decided to focus on that as we’ve got limited dev resources to dedicate to this at the moment, and it feels like a place we can make big improvements without too much effort.

It was fine as far as workshops go, probably 5 out of 10. I found it hard to organise as the page we were looking at goes through lots of different states depending on whether you’ve started, finished or paid for your will. I probably tried to cover a little too much (as always) - but it still felt valuable and kick-started the process of redesigning that page.

Here’s a sketch of how that page might look compared to how it is at the moment.

Farewill overview page - UI design before and after.

I found myself lugging my coffee table around my living room a lot recently, so I decided to make a new base for it which could have wheels on the bottom. I’ve adapted a design from Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione project. The project consisted of a booklet that Mari would post out to people, containing furniture that could be easily made of cheap materials. It was in part a reaction against ‘designer’ furniture being inaccessible to most people. Of course, you can nowadays buy the furniture readymade from Artek as well as the original booklet. Ah well.

Enzo Mari - Autoprogettazione table

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