In the summer of 2018, I started work at Gainful, a San Francisco startup that creates personalized nutritional supplement and protein powder blends based on an individual’s health and fitness goals. As the only designer on this very small team, I was responsible for all creative assets, ranging from brand development to UI/UX. In particular, I was involved in creating:
Every individual is unique, but the nutritional supplements on the market don’t reflect that.
Gainful was created to counteract the increasingly backwards nature of the fitness industry, where more emphasis is placed on how people look, rather than helping them reach their fitness goals. In particular, frustrations with current protein powder products include:
Gainful provides personalized supplement blends based on user’s health habits and goals.
Users are guided through a short quiz, after which they are taken immediately to their own unique user profile that contains the information on their protein powder blend. Through this profile page, they can also request specific blend changes, purchase on a subscription plan, and direct message a registered dietitian.
Through the parsing of quiz results of previous customers, I was able to piece together a comprehensive summary of user statistics, which helped inform us of who found our product to be most appealing, why they were looking to our product, and where we could improve in terms of targeted marketing. Some examples include:
Based on this info collected, I fashioned different personas that covered the intricacies of what users seemed to want from their experience with Gainful.
Utilizing extensive user research and analysis of analytics to redesign the experience and interface for individualized user portals.
Since each person’s protein powder blend is personalized to their goals, their user profile should be too. This project essentially performed a facelift of the user portal, which is a large chunk of Gainful's user experience (it's where users are taken right after they take the quiz, and contains information on the user's personal blend, gives access to educational information, and a variety of other functionalities). Specifically, we wanted the experience to:
In designing the profile’s intricacies and user experience, I worked closely with the team’s registered dietitian. Through extensive discussions on how users should be ushered through the entire process, we were able to come up with an improved user flow, the ideation of which I'll show and explain here.
After consolidating user data and realizing the target users of our experience through data parsing, as well as looking through the analytics of our previous portal, I was able to start sketching and drawing up storyboards and wireframes. I communicated extensively with the engineering, marketing, and dietitian teams to ensure that all perspectives were heard and included. In particular, I wanted to make sure we were effectively funneling users through the user flow in the most intuitive and effective way possible, and that we were simultaneously educating and pushing the product itself. After multiple iterations, I started on the interface end of things.
The finished experience was intuitive, visually and informatively accessible, and included CTAs on every tab to ensure constant product reminder. The features are explained below.
Continuing to visually communicate Gainful’s core values, while simultaneously furthering the identity of new and existing products.
Gainful’s brand identity was initially created by an agency, but they have since deviated from the original specifications. As a designer, I streamlined the brand by using the same visual elements across all product platforms. This included:
— Blobs. These amorphous shapes span all of Gainful's presences (social media, product packaging, website assets, etc.) and are emblematic of the unique nature of each body.
— Dots. The dots communicate the product directly—protein powder.
— Unifying color palette. These colors are also used consistently across all platforms, and are welcoming, energetic, and gender-neutral.
— Pun-filled, funny copy. Besides visual identity, I also wrote any and all copy in a very personable, approachable, and clever voice, with extensive utilization of puns and wordplay. This ensured that users felt connected and valued at every turn, and allowed the message of individualization to transcend multiple modes of communication.
One of the largest projects I worked on was the redesign of Gainful’s product packaging. In particular, I went through many iterations of a new box design, trying to cover multiple aspects of the brand in a single package construction. Ultimately, we ended up ordering 23,000 units of the "Patterned" box design.
To go with the new packaging, I conceptualized and took a series of product photos that visually melded our message: that lifestyle affects health goals, and the supplements one takes should reflect that. These photos became randomized landing pages for the website.
Finally, Gainful had begun to release new products, including a line of flavor packs and a series of micronutrient boosts. I utilized the streamlined visual elements, but with minor adjustments to reflect the new products’ purposes, to ultimately create effective product identities.
In starting this job, I wanted to jump straight into the designing. I thought that knowing the very basics of what types of users we had and were targeting was enough, and I forgot that I was still very new to both start-up intricacies and the health supplements industry. Through the process, I learned a lot more about individualized health and fitness goals in the context of lifestyle, and even more about how to empathize with users through visual design and user experience. Moving forward, I know to focus on users in an even more deliberate way.
Creating a product that improves peoples’ health and happiness.
As Gainful grew this summer, I witnessed firsthand how personalized nutrition could impact a person’s lifestyle. As a designer, I felt extremely responsible for continuing the trend of creating effective user experiences that allowed our customers to feel increasingly dedicated to their own health and fitness goals. Some quotes from users:
“You took the time to ask what I needed the protein powder for, what I wanted to change about my body and my goals I want to hit, how I wanted to use it, and ultimately made me feel like I do matter and what I want matters.”
“For someone like me who has dietary restrictions, Gainful has been a godsend. I liked that I could fill out a questionnaire about myself in my own time, and get evidence-based recommendations.”
Geared up for the future.
Ultimately, Gainful is still a very young company, working to expand rapidly while simultaneously improving product and experience quality. I am greatly looking forward to continuing on this journey, and experiencing both the challenges and achievements that the future holds.