June 6, 2019

Behind the product scenes, Part II: scaling for success

By
Luis Ouriach
,
Lead Designer

It’s been quite a few months here at Upgrade Pack towers. We’re in advanced stages with our launch partner bank and airline carrier, and Beta registrations for our market-first app for flight and hotel upgrades was sold out within 48 hours.  

Not bad for a product not planned to launch for another couple of months.

As things scale, the product team has been cognisant to ensure that our next partners and clients are merged into our product process and tech stack as seamlessly as possible. So how are we doing it?

Dolly, our design system

Everyone on our team is a proponent of Atomic Design principles, meaning that everything - from the way we design a button, a form, or an entire screen can be reusable across the entire app. This may sound obvious, but the rule of thumb for most scaling startups is to refine your designs after the fact, rather than anticipating how screens are built in the future. This will ultimately save a tonne of time when rapidly prototyping or building our new ideas going forward.

Beta user testing

While technical and features integration based on the needs of our clients and partners is of course key, this can’t be at the expense of the user journey. Our users, those who love to travel and do so often, are used to premium brand experiences. So, as well as managing the practical requirements around the former, we must ensure that navigation is sensical for our users, while also providing a design interface and purchase process that they derive genuine pleasure from.

Testing our offering with our Beta members as the very profile of frequent traveller users that we are catering for was vital. We hosted Beta user feedback sessions at our Richmond HQ and were much encouraged by the validation of our confidence in what we had developed thus far. Throughout these highly interactive meetings we were able to adapt other elements based on practical 'search and find’ exercises for flight and hotel upgrades, whilst taking on more valuable feedback about the process from a first-time user perspective. All this has helped us adapt where necessary and prioritise our next feature-set to ensure and even slicker process, and product to launch to market.

Furthermore, we now have a super-engaged user group who are exceptionally wiling to be involved in testing for future features and feedback sessions.

A refined engineering workflow

“Move fast and break things” is the now-famous mantra proposed by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg as an approach to product development, yet in practice this can only lead to sloppy, unfinished products that require endless refactoring and management.

Although we’d like to think we move fast here, we’re very conscious of building our product for the future. For us, this means testing future features early on, communicating issues throughout the build process, and being happy to redesign parts of the app if they simply don’t work as expected.

Looking forward

Our mission is to enhance customer loyalty through a platform providing exclusive access to flight and hotel upgrade offers not available elsewhere – anytime on any device. While smartphone-based convenience is loved by many, being truly digital means that we are investing as much effort in creating a desktop experience that is as rewarding as our mobile app.

The product and tech teams are pressing ahead with concepts for this project, alongside working on version #2 of the Upgrade Pack app, packed with in the future, biometric features, enhanced payment management and lots of other goodies to boost the user experience.

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